Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on Monday (20 February) spoke at length on the country's security challenges when he addressed senior military officers gathered in the Ministry of Defence building
In the first part of his speech the Armenian president spoke about the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Armenia, and the process of implementing the constitutional changes adopted a year ago.
The president than spoke about the Karabakh conflict. He said:
"At this moment, I see no reason to believe that there can be a breakthrough in the negotiations aimed at the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh issue. Under such circumstances, the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan is the only way to maintain stability and fragile peace.
The official Baku is trying incessantly to accuse us of trying to prolong the established status-quo. It is not true. I would like to assure you all, that we really want the problem to be solved however the reality is like this: the Azeris propose solutions which are unacceptable for us, that’s the reason the issue is not solved. When they finally understand what kind of solution can become a reality, that very moment the problem will be solved. That’s the reason Azerbaijan every now and then resorts to minor and major provocations, escalating the situation at the frontline, to remind us and the international community of their existence.
Such propaganda devises are useless and are doomed to failure. Our position is the following: the existing ceasefire cannot be substituted with a ceasefire which will have worse conditions. We need to negotiate and create a solid base for the normal contacts between our two peoples and for peace.
Yes, the parties to the conflict should negotiate over a durable, reliable peace based on the checkable mechanisms. The first true step in that direction might be a diligent implementation of the agreements reached during the Vienna and Saint Petersburg meetings last year. But unfortunately, the leadership of Azerbaijan is not averse to assuming responsibilities at the highest level and rejecting them on the next day.
It is necessary to transform the ceasefire into peace but it will never take place as a result of unilateral concessions. We assess the situation realistically and do not expect unilateral concessions from Azerbaijan. We demand in return that the leadership of Azerbaijan understands that simple, rather to say very primitive issue.
Thus, we will spare no effort to maintain the balance of forces; we have no reason to enter into an arms race with Azerbaijan. Let Azerbaijan compete with its own ambitions. However, we will continue to build capabilities which will allow the efficient organization of defense as well as a pronounced response to the foe’s possible aggression.
For the vital activities of the two peoples, under the existing conditions the military balance is simply indispensable. Based on this balance, it is possible to negotiate over the peace. Attempts to tip the scales is simply pregnant with the danger of provoking new military actions."
The Armenian President than spoke about the military relations between Armenia and Russia. He said:
"The military alliance of Armenia and Russia is one of the most important elements of Armenia’s security. It has a very rich history and traditions because the Armenian and Russian soldiers never stood against each other in the trenches.
Nevertheless, no military alliance can be based on the emotions only. This alliance is based on the mutually realized common interests and necessity.
It is indispensable for maintaining stability in this region. Armenia will continue to carry out diligently all her responsibilities with regard to the Armenian-Russian alliance as well as in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. I want you all to understand clearly that yes, there take place developments in the framework of the CSTO, activities, statements which are not to our liking, but actions of this or that leader or representative of the CSTO member state or statements or their demeanor in general can never become a reason for us to say that Armenia’s membership to the CSTO has lost its necessity. It is simply unacceptable."
The full speech of President Serzh Sargsyan to Armenian senior military officers on 20 February 2017 is available on the website of the Armenian Presidency here
source: commonspace.eu with the press service of the President of Armenia
photo: President Serzh Sargsyan addressing Armenian senior military officers on 20 February 2017 (picture courtesy of the press service of the president of Armenia
The meeting in Krakow between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan did not lead to a breakthrough, and none was expected. But there appears to be a change of gear in the negotiations, says Dennis Sammut in this week's Monday Commentary