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Turkey warns Armenia against breaking Nagorno-Karabakh peace pact

BAKU, Azerbaijan: Turkey has warned Armenia it will have to bear consequences if it violates the ceasefire and peace deal in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in the Azerbaijan capital Baku on Thursday: “If they [Armenia] violate the ceasefire, then they will pay the price for it.”

Ankara is Azerbaijan’s closest ally in the fight over Nagorno-Karabakh and has been celebrating the peace agreement reached earlier this week between Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia that favours Baku.

Armenia must “abide by the deal and withdraw voluntarily”, Cavusoglu added, warning Azerbaijan would otherwise resume its military action to “recapture Azerbaijani territories.”

Turkey and Russia agreed on Wednesday to jointly operate a centre to oversee peace in Nagorno-Karabakh.

A Russian delegation is set to visit Turkey on Friday to discuss details of how the joint centre will operate, Cavusoglu said, adding that unmanned armed drones would carry out surveillance missions in the region to ensure there are no violations.

Related story: Protesters storm capital as Armenia signs deal to end Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

“We will continue to stand by Azerbaijan and support them however they would like us to,” he added.

Russia is sending nearly 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would take part in what he called a “peace force” in the region.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, however, on Thursday said “no peacekeeping units of the Turkish Republic will be dispatched to Nagorno-Karabakh”, according to comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS.

Diplomats from France and the United States were expected in Moscow soon to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Russia-brokered deal secured territorial advances for Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, where Azeri troops have been battling ethnic Armenian forces over the past six weeks in a fight that has killed more than 1,000 people, including dozens of civilians on both sides.