"As long as Azerbaijani territory is occupied by Armenia, the chance of war is close to 100 percent," Safar Abiyev said during a meeting in Kazakhstan of defense chiefs from ex-Soviet republics.
His startlingly worded remark was a reminder that Azerbaijan has not ruled out use of force in recapturing Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.
Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territory that is part of Azerbaijan have been occupied by Armenian and ethnic Armenian forces since a 1994. The six-year war killed 30,000 people and drove more than 1 million from their homes, including many of the region's ethnic Azeris.
Azerbaijan and Armenia remain locked in a dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh despite more than a decade of coaxing from international mediators led by the United States, Russia and France to resolve the region's status.
Gunfire breaks out regularly along the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia and in the regions near Nagorno-Karabakh.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Kasım 2007, 11:31