Sarkisian Says Baku’s ‘Arms Race’ Is Threat To Region


Thursday, November 17th, 2011

President Serzh Sarkisian

YEREVAN-The arms race unleashed by Azerbaijan should be cause for
concern for the entire region’s security prospects, said President
Serzh Sarkisian Thursday, during his welcoming remarks to the
participants of a conference entitled, “Regional Security Dynamics
in the South Caucasus.”

“The arms race unleashed by Azerbaijan, which exponentially exceed
the ceilings set by the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
(CFE), is cause for concern not only for Armenia and the region but
also on a larger scale from the perspective of regional security,”
said Sarkisian. “Under these conditions, Armenia is forced to focus
greater attention on modernizing its military system as a key factor
in containing the belligerent ambitions and ensuring stability in
the region.”

Sarkisian said the complex and difficult geopolitical developments
in the South Caucasus creates opportunities and challenges for the
region’s nations, as they attract international interest and foster
competition in the area.

“The critical challenges facing the region are the unresolved conflicts
which need comprehensive and final solutions. On many occasions,
we have reiterated our solid will that the existing conflicts can be
resolved only through peaceful negotiations on the basis of fundamental
principles of international law,” said Sarkisian who added that the
OSCE Minsk Group is the only platform for conflict resolution that
is acceptable to Armenia.

He said that lasting peace in the Karabakh conflict can be attained
only if the physical security and self-determination of the population
of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is guaranteed.

“We are confident that open borders and the implementation of common
economic programs can become the best incentive for the mutual
understanding and consequently will create an environment of trust
resolving problems,” explained Sarkisian, warning that efforts to
create schism between regional states “will inevitably lead to the
instability and development of distrust in the entire South Caucasus.”

Sarkisian also said that Armenia initiated the rapprochement process
with Turkey based on the ideal of neighborly cooperation. He added
that while Armenia remains true to the principles of the process,
political will from Turkey is needed for its success.

Sarkisian also discussed the role energy resources play in development
of the region, but warned that new energy projects must not be used
to upset the “equilibrium” of the region.

“Such policies are not only a threat to the security of individual
states in the region, but also may seriously endanger the uninterrupted
functioning of the transit routes of energy sources. We shouldn’t
allow the Southern Energy Corridor to become a source for feeding
a new war. That is not good for the region and for the oil and gas
companies,” added Sarkisian.

From: Baghdasarian

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