A large military parade was held on the main streets of Baku on Tuesday (26 June) to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.
More than four thousand troops representing all branches of the armed services, together with dozens of tanks, artillery equipment, missile systems and drones marched past the VIP tribune where president Ilham Aliev and Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva took the salute. This was followed by a flypast by helicopters and planes of the Azerbaijani Air Force. 14 ships, minesweepers and patrol boats of the Azerbaijan Navy were also in review formation at Baku Harbour for the occasion.
In a speech at the start of the parade, President Ilham Aliyev recalled that Azerbaijan had gained its independence in 1918 but lost it two years later, and this showed that protecting the country's independence was just as difficult as achieving that independence in the first place. President Aliyev recalled the war with Armenia in the early 1990s and said that the war was not finished yet, only the first part of the war was finished. "Azerbaijan will never accept the occupation of its territories and will restore its territorial integrity", the president said.
Speaking about the operation conducted by the combined forces of the Army in Nakhchivan in the last weeks the president said: "Large-scale engineering and reconnaissance work was conducted. The Nakhchivan operation was carried out with high professionalism. Azerbaijani servicemen once again showed heroism and courage. We liberated strategic heights. Today, we control strategic communications and roads. The Nakhchivan operation once again showed that the Azerbaijani army is a strong army. It also showed that we can and do carry out any task with great professionalism. From now on, the Azerbaijani army should always be ready to restore the territorial integrity of our country."
photo: A military parade to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Azerbaijan Army was held in Baku on 26 June 2018 (picture courtesy of APA news agency)
Bakhtadze later tweeted that talks centred on Georgia's new wave of reforms and the EU's continued support for Georgia's European path.