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Azerbaijan Amassing Arms for Possible Karabakh War, Aliyev Says

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Azerbaijan is buying up modern weaponry to be able to regain control of the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region quickly and with few losses should peace talks with neighboring Armenia fail, President Ilham Aliyev said.

Defense spending will rise 1.8 percent this year to $3.47 billion, which Aliyev said tops Armenia’s entire state budget.

“It’s not a frozen conflict, and it’s not going to be one,” Aliyev said today in remarks broadcast on state television channel AzTV.

Oil-rich Azerbaijan fought a war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority Armenian-populated enclave that broke free from Baku’s control following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. The territory remains a potential flash point in a region where Russia fought a five-day war with Georgia in 2008 after separatist tensions flared up over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

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