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Azerbaijan Starts Military Exercises Near Nagorno-Karabakh

BAKU -- Azerbaijan has started military exercises near its mainly Armenian-populated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Defense Ministry announced on May 14 that Defense Minister Safar Abiyev was personally leading the maneuvers.

Azerbaijan's land and air forces are taking part in the exercises, which are expected to last until the end of the week.

Last week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said publicly that his country wanted to restore its territorial integrity and resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in accordance with international law.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in conflict over the separatist region for more than two decades.

After going to war, the sides signed a truce in 1994.

Years of internationally mediated talks have failed to make significant progress.

Last month, forces of Nagorno-Karabakh's separatist government staged their own military exercises.

Based on reporting by and AFP