March 12, 2019 - 10:20 AMT
Azerbaijan starts military drills ahead of planned Karabakh summit

Azerbaijan has launched large-scale military maneuvers ahead of an expected first meeting between President Ilham Aliyev and new Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, RFE/RL reports.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said on March 11 that up to 10,000 troops, 500 tanks, 300 missile systems, aircraft, and other military equipment will take part in the five-day exercises.

Armenia's Foreign Ministry said the drills "do not contribute to the creation of an environment conducive to peace."

No date has been decided yet for the meeting between Pashinian and Aliyev over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, but both sides have voiced a willingness for them to take place.

Meanwhile, Pashinian on March 11 started a working visit to Nagorno Karabakh, where he is scheduled to hold a meeting of Armenia's Security Council scheduled for March 12.