Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that anti-terrorism measures in Karabakh will stop only if Armenian armed forces lay down their arms.
Aliyev explained the reasons for the measures in the region during a phone call with Blinken, according to a statement by the Azerbaijani presidency on Wednesday.
Referring to the presence of Armenian armed forces in Karabakh, their increasing provocations in recent months, and the so-called regime's "presidential election," Aliyev said Baku had to start anti-terrorist measures to prevent those actions.
The Azerbaijani army does not target civilians and infrastructure facilities, and only destroys legitimate military targets, he added.
He reiterated his invitation for dialogue while the anti-terror actions continued.
The ex-Soviet republics have been locked in a conflict since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Most of the territory was liberated by Baku during a war in the fall of 2020, which ended after a Russian-brokered peace agreement and also opened the door to normalization.