Azerbaijan Objects to Armenian Acquisition of European Missiles
Azerbaijan is complaining about reports that Armenia has required French/German anti-tank missiles in apparent violation of European sanctions against the two countries. The controversy began when an Armenian website published photos of an Armenian Ministry of Defense exposition last year. On display, apparently, was a MILAN anti-tank missile, jointly produced by France and Germany. And Azerbaijan has objected, reports APA: "The embassies of [France and Germany] in Azerbaijan were demanded to clarify how these countries that imposed an embargo on the sale of weapons to the conflicting parties could deliver these systems to Armenia." Both the French and German ambassadors have responded publicly, saying they didn't do it. The French ambassador:
I have no precise information about this sale which is very highly improbable, because the export of military equipment would be in contradiction with these sanctions. The French side is now investigating the information and the source it came from.
And the German ambassador:
Germany is in compliance with OSCE embargoes on arms sales to Armenia and Azerbaijan. Exports of military equipment would be contrary to the sanctions. The federal government doesn’t have additional information," the embassy said.
Meanwhile, the Armenian Ministry of Defense is staying quiet on the matter. The Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe maintains arms sanctions on both Armenia and Azerbaijan, though obviously given that Russia is an OSCE member, they are not watertight. The MILAN has been produced since 1972 and is in service among at least 30 countries all over the world, including Libya, Iraq, and Chad. So it seems very likely that there are a number of these things floating around on the black market, and that Armenia would have gotten them that way rather than directly from Europe.
Joshua Kucera, a senior correspondent, is Eurasianet's former Turkey/Caucasus editor and has written for the site since 2007.