Armenian Army Ready, Stronger Than Ever, Sarkisian Warns Azerbaijan


/30/sarkisian-hails-armenian-army-warns-azerbaijan /
July 30, 2009

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)-Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian paid tribute to
the Armenian Armed Forces on Thursday, saying, in a thinly veiled
warning to Azerbaijan, that they would successfully fight back any
military attack on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Today we are strong, stronger than ever; our army is solid, modern and
capable of fulfilling any task," Sarkisian told hundreds of graduates
of Armenian military academies. "It has passed with honor the exam
of not only war, but peace as well, embodying the victorious spirit
of all Armenians."

"To those who threaten us with a war, we are reminding the biblical
message: ‘For all they that take the sword shall perish with the
sword,’" he said. "The irrefutable truth of these words has been
proved by the best sons of our nation, the generation of our fathers,
my generation. Let no one doubt that if necessary, the same will
happen today as well."

It was an obvious response to Azerbaijani leaders’ regular
threats to take Nagorno-Karabakh and the liberated territories by
force. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly told his
nation to be prepared for war "at any moment."

A native of Karabakh, Sarkisian played a prominent role in the Karabakh
conflict of 1991-1994, commanded Karabakh defense forces before moving
to Yerevan and becoming Armenia’s defense minister in 1993. He also
served as defense minister from 2000-2007.

Sarkisian addressed the army college graduates after they solemnly
received their first military ranks and paraded in Yerevan’s main
Republic Square on the occasion. The high-profile ceremony was also
attended by other top government officials and the head of the Armenian
Apostolic Church, Catholicos Garegin II.