BAKU: Azerbaijan increases military spending by over 34m dollars

Azerbaijan increases military spending by over 34m dollars

ANS TV, Baku
30 Jun 04

[Presenter] Azerbaijan, which is at war with Armenia, has increased
its military spending.

[Correspondent over video of marching soldiers] Another step has been
taken to strengthen the national army. According to changes in the
2004 budget, 171bn manats [34.9m dollars] will be allocated for
defence expenditure. This pertains to the strengthening of the
Azerbaijani Defence Ministry’s material and technical base, to the
development of the military and industrial complex and to the payrise
for servicemen.

[Azerbaijani Finance Minister Avaz Alakbarov, speaking at a news
conference] This makes up 2.3 per cent of the GDP. It’s not a large
figure. One should make strong efforts to find 171bn manats and
finance something. Therefore, I think the president’s step is very
necessary and timely.

[Passage omitted: financial details]

[Correspondent] To recap, a lot of attention is being paid to military
cooperation during the Azerbaijani president’s visits abroad.

[Passage omitted: documents signed in the military sphere during
Aliyev’s recent visits to Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Turkey]

[Correspondent] It is no coincidence that these measures and
statements on the liberation of the occupied lands in a military way
have caused some concern in Armenia. For instance, reports by
Armenia’s Regnum [as heard] news agency allow us to say that the
Armenians are unable to fight a war. They are trying to conceal this
with the opinion that the Azerbaijani army is weak. Such an opinion by
the Armenians seems to be absurd if we take into account that Armenia
and Azerbaijan allocated 86m and 147m dollars respectively for
military spending in their 2004 state budgets and that Azerbaijan has
now added 34m dollars to the this amount.

According to military experts, it’s impossible to establish a strong
army with Armenia’s weak economy. The Armenian army’s material and
technical base cannot withstand competition with Azerbaijan in this

Zamina Aliyeva, Anar Cabrayilli and Elxan Huseynov, ANS.