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Armenian PM Accuses Azerbaijan Of Violating Border, Fires Defense Minister


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian speaks at a Security Council meeting on November 15.

YEREVAN -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has accused Azerbaijani troops of violating the border between the two South Caucasus states and replaced his defense minister over the alleged incident.

Over the weekend, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of cease-fire violations along the border amid persistent heightened tensions between the two neighbors after they fought a 44-day war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region a year ago.

Speaking at a Security Council session on November 15, Pashinian addressed "the incursion into the territory of the Republic of Armenia by the Azerbaijani troops in one of the eastern sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border."

There was no immediate reaction from Azerbaijan.

Pashinian did not say on what scale the incursion had taken place, but he announced he had dismissed Defense Minister Arshak Karapetian, who had held the position since August.

Karapetian was replaced by Suren Papikian, who had been deputy prime minister.

President Armen Sarkisian signed the relevant decrees, his office said.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

Last year's war ended on November 10 when a Russia-brokered cease-fire granted Azerbaijan control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as adjacent territories previously held by ethnic Armenians.

The truce accord also led to the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and the so-called Lachin corridor connecting the territory to Armenia.

Armenia says more than 3,700 Armenians and Nagorno-Karabakh residents died in the war. Azerbaijan said it lost 2,900 people.

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