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Azerbaijan Calls Official Armenian Visit To Nagorno-Karabakh 'Provocation'

Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian
Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian

BAKU -- Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry has protested a visit of Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian to the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, calling it a provocation and "an attempt to incite tension."

Aivazian visited the region on January 5 , where he met with the separatist government’s de facto Foreign Minister David Babayan and signed a program of consultations.

Leyla Abullayeva, a spokeswoman for Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, said in a statement that Aivazian's "illegal" visit to Nagorno-Karabakh "contradicts" a truce agreement signed by Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia that ended a 44-day war between Baku and Yerevan over the breakaway region.

"Violation of the obligations by official Yerevan is a provocation, and such actions aimed at the domestic audience [in Armenia] do not add to normalization of the situation in the region," Abullayeva said, adding that Yerevan should accept the changes in the region.

The Moscow-brokered truce ended heavy fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces that started on September 27 and claimed thousands of lives from both sides.

As part of the truce, Armenia lost control of parts of the enclave's territory as well as seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan it held since the 1990s.

Armenian separatists retained control over most of Nagorno-Karabakh's territory, and some 2,000 Russian peacekeepers have deployed along frontline areas to protect a land link connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.