Good Service And Peaceful Sky

GOOD SERVICE AND PEACEFUL SKY
by Tamara Ovnatyan
Translated by Pavel Pushkin

Source: Novoe Vremya (Yerevan), January 30, 2007, p. EV
Agency WPS
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)
February 5, 2007 Monday

ARMED FORCES OF ARMENIA MARK THEIR 15TH ANNIVERSARY; President of
Armenia Robert Kocharyan decorated servicemen in honor of the 15th
anniversary of the national armed forces.

President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan decorated servicemen in honor
of the 15th anniversary of the national armed forces.

Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan singled out three phases of the
Armenian army in his speech at the official celebration of the
anniversary. The first phase lasted from 1989 to 1992, when the
provision of security of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (stemming from
the tension between Armenian-Azerbaijani relations) was the most
important task. Characterizing this time as a period of spontaneous
unorganized war, the minister said, "This was a period of Armenian
volunteers."

According to him, the second phase lasted between June of 1992 to May
of 1994, when Armenia, together with Nagorno-Karabakh, was involved
in a difficult war against Azerbaijan. Additionally, its economy
collapsed and widespread hunger causedthe national army to send newly
formed units to the front just a few days after their preparation.

The Defense Minister said that the third phase began in 1994. This
phase of the army buildup is still in process. Military schools and
the military institute named after Vazgen Sarkisyan, as well as the
military aviation pilot school and military medical department of the
Yerevan medical university were born during this period. According
to Sarkisyan, these institutions have trained more than 4,400 officers.

Officers are also trained abroad, for example, in Russia and Greece,
and more than 1,630 students have already accomplished their education
and continue studying.

At the end of his speech, the Armenian Defense Minister emphasized
that Armenian armed forces were not scared by the billions of dollars
promised by the president of the neighboring state to his army,
because an army becomes combat ready not from money alone. Sarkisyan
explained, "We proved this simple truth in the early 1990s and will
prove it again tomorrow should the need arise."

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