Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on Friday (20 January) met with the recently decommissioned servicemen, who have shown dedication and courage during their course of duty, many of who had recently seen combat service.
In his address to the gathering President Sargsyan said that last year Armenian troops faced "the offensive of the adversary and defended the fatherland with honour". The President emphasised that after decommissioning young Armenians still remain the soldiers of the fatherland, regarless of where and in what area they continue their activities.
"Certainly, we miss and take pride in all those guys who died as heroes. We are also proud of the guys who fought courageously and stayed alive and now will continue their service to Fatherland. I've asked the Minister of Defense to organize this meeting because it is always gratifying to converse with the servicemen in active duty. But troops in active duty are somewhat restrained which is conditioned by two reasons: I believe one of the them is the fact that they are reluctant to speak about problems and hardship lest they appear mumbling whiners, lest there is an impression that they demand better conditions to serve their Fatherland. However, there is also the second reason: soldiers are always anxious that if they speak of problems, their superior officer may get upset. I think today we need to have a frank discussion, a free exchange to understand what the advantages of our Army are, what the positive sides of our military service are, and where we stand now. But we also need to talk about the problems which are to be addressed in the future to make our Army even more efficient because we are compelled to have a combat-ready army. Every nation needs an army; however there are cases when the need becomes a must, a vital must. For us, a combat-ready army is a must," President Sargsyan told his audience.
According to the press service of the Armenian president, "the decommissioned servicemen asked the President about the prospects of the Karabakh peace process, the greatest achievement of the Armenian Army in 25 years, the role of the decommissioned troops in the implementation of the Nation-Army concept of the newly appointed Minister of Defense, creation of a proper image of the officer in the society, ways to enhance the reputation of the officers, the probable response of the Armenian side in case the adversary engages in the armsrace, the program for reimbursment of the tuition fees for the troops involved in combat duty, and other issues and topics related to housing programs and the area of defense".
The presidential press service said that based on the results of the meeting, the President issued a number of directives for the Ministry of Defense including on enhanced safety in the course of military service and patriotic education of the troops.
The meeting, which was held in Dillijan, was also attended by the Minister of Defence, Vigen Sargsyan.
source: commonspace.eu with the press service of the President of Armenia.
Photo: A recently decomissioned soldier of the Armenian Army puts a question to the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan during a meeting held in Dillijan on 20 January 2017. (picture courtesy of the press service of the president of Armenia)
Ahead of the expected Armenia-Azerbaijan summit, Benyamin Poghosyan argues in this op-ed for commonspace.eu, that the negotiating paradigm based on the Madrid principles is doomed.
"In essence this is an olive branch to the government's critics", commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment. "Its significance should not be understated. President Aliyev has in the last weeks been preparing the country for major changes. This presidential pardon may well be the opening shot of more to come".