BAKU: Azeri army set to buy weapons from Pakistan, Russia

Azeri army set to buy weapons from Pakistan, Russia


Ayna, Baku
21 Jul 04

Ekho, Baku
21 Jul 04

Azerbaijan and Pakistan may reach agreements on purchasing weapons and
training army officers during the upcoming visit of a top Pakistani
general to Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani newspaper Ayna has reported. The
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Muhammad Aziz
Khan, is to visit Azerbaijan in about two weeks’ time, the report

“Pakistan may offer its close ally Azerbaijan military hardware and
weapons at discount prices. This is crucial for the Azerbaijani
government because Armenia, which has occupied our territories, buys
weapons and military hardware from Russia at reduced prices in
accordance with the regulations of the Collective Security Treaty
Organization,” the report said.

Quoting unnamed military sources, Ayna said that Azerbaijan is
interested in assault rifles manufactured by Pakistan. “They are not
inferior in quality to Kalashnikov assault rifles used by our army and
are cheaper,” the report said.

“Almost 10 Azerbaijani officers are studying in Pakistan. I believe
that if the talks go well and an agreement is reached, then this
number will be increased many times over,” retired Lt-Col Uzeyir
Cafarov told the newspaper.

In turn, Ekho newspaper reported that Azerbaijan wants to buy 120mm
Nona-K towed cannons from Russia’s Motovilikhinskiye Zavody
company. The rumours about the deal emerged after Maj-Gen Vahid
Aliyev, the Azerbaijani president’s aide on military issues, visited
Russian Expo Arms-2004 which was held in Nizhniy Tagil on 6-10 July.

Ekho contacted the head of the external relations department of the
plant, Igor Vagan, but could not get concrete information. “Indeed,
people from relevant state bodies of Azerbaijan have approached
representatives of our company,” he said, “but I cannot tell you in
which stage the negotiations are at the moment or the approximate
number of weapons Azerbaijan could potentially buy”.

Speaking about the Azerbaijani army’s need for new weapons, military
expert Uzeyir Cafarov told Ekho that “there are reports – which are
not disseminated by the mass media – that Armenia is now actively
renewing its military potential. This refers to Armenia’s artillery,
as well as to military hardware”.

On the contrary, the Azerbaijani army has not seen a considerable
replacement of various weapons over the last decade and even more,
Cafarov said. “When it comes to purchasing new weapons, we lag behind
Armenia,” he said. The Nona-K cannon is more effective than what
Azerbaijan and Armenia currently possess, he said.