TBILISI: Azerbaijan Increases Military Expenses And Moves Towards NA

AZERBAIJAN INCREASES MILITARY EXPENSES AND MOVES TOWARDS NATO STANDARDS
By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)

The Messenger, Georgia
May 21 2007

"Azerbaijan has recently increased its military spending," states
a report prepared by the international organization Forecast
International. Forecast International, Inc. provides market
intelligence and analyses for the aerospace, defense, military
electronics, and power systems industries.

"The goal of the Azeri leadership is to drive defense spending upward
to the point where it will break the back of Armenia’s will to continue
the impasse between the two countries over territorial issues," said
Forecast International Military Markets Analyst Dan Darling as quoted
by the news agency Today.Az. "The possibility of that happening,
however, is unlikely in the near term, as the capabilities of the
Armenian forces are believed to exceed those of Azerbaijan."

The report also states that Azerbaijan is focused on integrating into
NATO but stressed if they don’t implement the military reforms more
quickly, they will not likely integrate into the organization any
time soon. The organization estimates that the country’s military
reforms will be fully implemented by 2015.

The Azeri Ministry of Defense however disagrees with the report’s
conclusions. According to the Head of the ministry’s press service
Eldar Sabiroglu, Azerbaijan is doing its best so that the local army
will meet NATO standards as soon as possible. He thinks that the
authors of the report did not have enough information regarding the
work done by Azerbaijan.

According to the figures mentioned in the report, Azerbaijan’s military
expense growth is dramatic.

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