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Aliyev Highlights Baku's Boosted Military; Yerevan Concerned

Azerbaijani troops participate in a military parade in Baku on June 26.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev says his country will continue to increase its military strength until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia is resolved.

Speaking at a military parade in Baku on June 26, Aliyev said Azerbaijan's military budget in 2003 was $163 million while now it is $3.7 billion.

Aliyev noted that archrival Armenia’s total national budget is about $2 billion.

Armenian Defense Minister Seiran Ohanian said in Yerevan that his country was concerned by Azerbaijan's arms buildup.

Ohanian stressed the "importance of Armenian-Russian ties," adding that Yerevan did not plan to join what he called "a regional arms race."

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a dispute over Azerbaijan's mainly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh region for more than two decades. The disputed area is controlled by Yerevan.

Based on reporting by, Interfax, and