YEREVAN, July 30. /ARKA/. Armenia’s Defense Minister David Tonoyan told French Ambassador to Armenia Jonathan Lacote today that the Armenian side will closely follow the joint Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercise which is being held in Azerbaijani exclave Nakhichevan near the Armenian border.
He said also it was important that the joint exercise did not become a cause of a provocation against Armenia, the press service of the Armenian Defense Ministry said. According to it, the two men discussed a string of issues of bilateral cooperation and regional security.
Speaking about the latest clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border provoked by Baku and on the situation on the line of contact between the armed forces of Artsakh and Azerbaijan, Tonoyan noted the importance of the role of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs – Russia, the United States and especially France, as a member of the UN Security Council, the European Union and NATO, in easing tensions and continuing the negotiation process.
On the joint Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercise, Tonoyan said that from a military point of view, their tactical nature does not cause concern. However, as Tonoyan stressed, it is important that the military exercise does not turn into provocative actions in the immediate vicinity of the borders of the Republic of Armenia, its defense and other infrastructure facilities.
The Minister stated that the Armenian side will closely follow the course of military exercise and further developments.
In turn, Ambassador Lacote confirmed the role of France as a mediator in an exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict. In this context, he highly appreciated the balanced atmosphere prevailing in the Republic of Armenia, free from nationalistic accents and manifestations, as well as calls for war.
Turkish troops on Monday arrived in Nakhichevan to participate in large-scale joint military exercise with Azerbaijani troops that will run until August 10. The exercise involves armored vehicles, artillery installations, combat and transport helicopters, air defense forces and anti-aircraft missile units.