Armenian Defense Minister: ‘No danger’ of new war with Azerbaijan
Interview with the Minister of Defense of Armenia
Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan, in an interview with Public Television, said that despite “certain tensions” on the border with Azerbaijan, he did not see the danger of a new war. The Minister confirmed that “incidents” happen, it happens that false information comes from Baku that the Armenian side has violated the ceasefire.
“However, as a rule, the armed forces of Armenia prevent the violation of the ceasefire regime by forcing the enemy to obey it. That is, if there is a shootout, then it does not happen on our initiative”, Suren Papikyan stressed.
He also talked about the expected reforms, including the transition to a professional army, the acquisition of modern weapons, although he did not say which one.
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“Transition to a professional army”
The minister announced that the process of creating a professional army had already begun. According to him, in the near future the Ministry of Defense will come up with a large-scale legislative initiative.
The first step on this path, according to Papikyan, will be to change the quality, form and content of military educational institutions, the second – the transition of the army to a professional basis.
The minister stressed that those who criticize the situation in the army are well aware that it is impossible to change everything in one day. But the reforms are underway and will bring results.
In particular, active contract servicemen will soon have the opportunity to undergo certification, and conscripts will be offered to remain in the army – to switch to contract service.
“We will create social guarantees, opportunities for a serviceman to see his future in the army as a professional soldier. This should be the basis of our future army”, Papikyan said.
“Make the right decision” – on the appointment of the Chief of the General Staff
The minister does not consider it a problem that the post of chief of the General Staff has been vacant for four months, although the opposition has been criticizing the government all this time, accusing the army of being deprived of its head.
Papikyan assures that the acting chief of the General Staff fully exercises these powers, and a new one will be appointed after structural changes in the ministry.
The Minister of Defense announced that a new model of government would be introduced, according to which the Chief of the General Staff would be the First Deputy Minister of Defense. And the General Staff of the Armed Forces will no longer be engaged in procurement and logistics, which is part of its functions under the current law.
“Purchase, maintenance, provision of equipment – all such issues will be dealt with by other departments. That is, starting with rear support, some functions will be removed from the servicemen. Many of these functions will be delegated to civilian services, as we have already done with the soldiers’ canteens”, he said.
These changes are provided for in the new legislative package, which has already been submitted to the government and will soon be submitted to parliament for approval.
Yet the minister acknowledged that the head of the General Staff has not yet been appointed, not only because structural changes are expected after the adoption of the new law, but also because it is necessary to “make the right decision.”
“We won’t specify which weapons will be acquired”
Papikyan said that in order to increase the defense capability, Armenia, of course, is replenishing its arsenal of weapons. However, the minister stressed that the government “does not intend to publicly announce the acquired weapons” and specify what exactly is being purchased.
He only stressed that all necessary steps are being taken to ensure that the Armenian army “is able to defend the sovereign territories of Armenia”.