Baku sharply increases military expenditure

Baku sharply increases military expenditure

Baku sharply increases military expenditure

President Aliyev announced a sharp hike in Azerbaijan’s military budget. AA photo

Azerbaijan’s president has announced a sharp hike in military spending and again warned neighboring Armenia to pull out of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

President Ilkham Aliyev said in remarks published yesterday in state newspapers that this year’s defense budget would rise to $3.7 billion, up from $3 billion last year, The Associated Press reported.

Comparing Azerbaijan’s military budget with Armenia’s state budget, “Azerbaijan has allocated $3.7 billion to the military while Armenia’s general budget is lower than $2 billion,” Aliyev said, according to Anatolia news agency.

He also added that the budget reserved for the military presents new opportunities and they would take advantage of them. In remarks addressed at the domestic opposition, Aliyev warned against criticizing Azerbaijan’s army.

Annual military spending increases have taken place amid ongoing tensions between Azerbaijan and fellow former Soviet republic Armenia. Border skirmishes are relatively common, but there has been no return to the full-out conflict of the 1990s.