Armenian Defense Minister says the Karabakh problem can’t be solved through war
Speaking at a news conference today, the Armenian Defense Minister, Vigen Sargsyan, touched upon a number of issues, of which the media particularly highlighted his opinion regarding the possible resumption of hostilities. The Minister said he was almost convinced that there would not be a large-scale war simply because it would not solve the Karabakh problem.
“There is no possible development of hostilities under which the Karabakh problem could be resolved in Azerbaijan’s favor. On the contrary, there is a great risk that a wide-scale war would inflict irreparable damage to the Azerbaijani economy, and to the country in general. I am not diminishing the threats that Armenia is going to face in the case of wide-scale hostilities. The one absolutely doesn’t preclude the other,” said Sargsyan.
The Minister also underlined Azerbaijan’s unpredictability. “In a country where there is no mechanism of democratic civil supervision, there could be many reasons, invisible to an external observer, that may trigger hostilities.”
Defense Minister Sargsyan believes that Armenia should always be ready to defend itself. “We should get used to living in the present-day regional situation, simultaneously strengthening our security and enhancing the country’s development in all spheres. Sometimes challenges are needed for the country to become stronger.”
Touching upon cooperation with Russia, the Minister stressed that it was a military-technical and military-political cooperation program as part of the Armenia-Russia strategic and allied partnership. He added that the Armenian side was satisfied with the progress of its implementation.
“It’s a rather ambitious program that is periodically extended. It must be said that the issues raised in this dialogue are more long-term and more stabilizing than the supplies of this or that amount of weapons,” said Sargsyan.
As the Defense Minister pointed out, Armenia gets weapons and ammunition from Russia as part of the military-technical cooperation, whereby Armenia pays for the weapons procured in Russia based on the ‘allied principle’, i.e. at domestic prices.
The mass media were particularly interested in the minister’s comment regarding the children of high-ranking officials serving in the army. He noted that the defense ministry received a public organization’s inquiry concerning the military service of the sons of 48 high-ranking officials.
“We have responded today: 26 out of 48 have entered military service… 6 of them enjoy the right of draft determent, while 16 have been discharged from military service,” Vigen Sargsyan reported, adding that the sons of several high-rank officials were serving on the frontline. Two of them are reported to have health problems, with a recommendation for exemption from military service. However, they have not been exempted from service, since in this case ‘it will seem that they have been discharged because they are the sons of high-ranking officials’.
As Sargsyan reported, a possible revision of the ministry’s structure was also being considered. He stressed that employees of downsized departments can continue serving in the agency should they wish to do so. “We have no intention of leaving people in the street, we just want to raise the agency’s efficiency.”
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