Armenian forces exercising in Karabakh on Apr. 23, 2020 NKRMil.am photo

Armenia and Azerbaijan continued to deploy military equipment in excess of their obligations under an international arms control treaty, the U.S. government reported. As of January 2018, Azerbaijan officially reported holding of 1,135 articles in excess military equipment and no plans to reduce them. Armenia’s equipment numbers were formally mostly in line with its treaty obligations, but did not include equipment deployed with the Defense Army of Nagorno Karabakh. In May 2019, Armenia reported scrapping 21 armored combat vehicles held in excess of the treaty limitations.

Whereas both Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to officially support the treaty, their “Treaty implementation practices raised concerns as to [their] fulfillment of certain Treaty obligations,” said the 2020 Compliance Report issued by the State Department earlier this month. According to earlier reports, both Armenia and Azerbaijan restricted times during which military officials from other treaty member states could inspect their holdings, and Azerbaijan, in particular, was cited for a slew of inconsistencies in its reporting. 

The CFE Treaty was originally agreed by members states of NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact in 1990 and entered into force in 1992, when Armenia, Azerbaijan and other post-Soviet successor states joined it. 

Over the past decade Azerbaijan spent over $10 billion of its oil revenue on buying weapons, mostly from Russia, Israel, Turkey, Belarus and Ukraine. Restricted by a much more restricted budget, Armenia was able to spend much more modestly and focused on “deterrence systems,” such as long-range missiles and combat aircraft.

U.S. has cited both Armenia and Azerbaijani as non-compliant with the treaty since 1990s. At the same time, the Stated Department has noted that “Armenian and Azerbaijani compliance concerns may be militarily significant to those two states, especially in the context of the N-K conflict, but they do not have significant military or security implications for the United States or for NATO as a whole.”