Karabakh problem should be solved by peaceful means – DM

ITAR-TASS News Agency
April 3, 2004 Saturday

Karabakh problem should be solved by peaceful means – DM

By Tigran Liloyan


Armenian Defence Minister Serzh Sarkisyan said it is necessary to
solve the Karabakh problem by peaceful and political means.

Sarkisyan told Russian journalists on Saturday, “I believe that the
main thing is to prevent the resumption of armed actions” in the area
of the Karabakh conflict.

“There were no winners,” the minister stressed.

“We believe that the Karabakh problem should be solved by peaceful,
political means and it is necessary to hold talks and reach a
compromise,” Sarkisyan pointed out.

The defence minister said Armenia considers military cooperation with
Russia “part of the country’s national security and believes that the
presence of the Russian military base in the Armenian territory is
right and essential for Armenia.”

He explained that Russia’s military presence promoted stability in
the region.

Armenia is interested in military cooperation with Russia because its
armed forces are equipped with the Soviet or Russian weapons,
Sarkisyan said.

The minister noted that Armenia purchased spare parts for military
hardware in Russia and added that many problems in this area had been
solved as a result of favourable conditions created for Armenia
within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

Sarkisyan said 700 Armenian citizens studied in Russian military
schools and academies.

On Armenia’s air defence, Sarkisyan said the CIS Joint Air Defence
System is capable of fulfilling any task. The minister said he would
like that system to be armed with state-of-the-art combat means.

He stressed, “Armenian air defence troops are mission capable and
they have proved it in the course of joint exercises at the Russian
air defence test range Ashuluk.”

“The armed forces are the main guarantor of the country’s security.
They have all the necessary means to protect the borders of their
homeland,” the minister said. Mechanised units led by career officers
with vast combat experience form the bulk of the Armenian armed
forces, the minister said.

“The important component of Armenia’s national security is the
Russian military base,” Sarkisyan pointed out.