Kocharian Addresses Recent Army Concerns

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–By approving the list of high military posts–he was discharging his constitutional function as the guarantor of the state’s territorial integrity and security–President Robert Kocharian declared in an interview to the National Television March 15. The move has enabled the President–who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the country’s Armed Forces–to control the army and bear full responsibility for the state’s security.

It was for subjective reasons that the President had not exercised this constitutional right previously. It was also due to the personal prestige of the former defense minister Vazgen Sargsyan. "The recent political problems in the country’s began to tell on the army; I received numerous signals from military units and commanders. I considered this manner of action to be the most correct and legitimate," said Kocharian.

Kocharian said there will be other decrees and changes; some high officers’ positions will have to be confirmed–as the appointmen’s need to be legitimized.

Speaking of the new appointmen’s–the President said he has known all of the newly appointed since 1989; all of them served in the forefront and are officers with good combat records. "I think that only people who distinguished themselves in military action and were in charge of the front-line can be deputy ministers of defense," Kocharian emphasized.

Speaking of the inadmissibility of the army’s meddling in politics–the President said–"Active engagement in politics decomposes the army. The establishment of the army required a lot of human and material resources. I could not be indifferent to the alarm." Kocharian announced his intention to visit various military units next week to assess the situation–and give army commanders the guidelines for solving problems. "We have no right to take any step that will result in a weaker fighting capacity. We have no prospect in the region without the most efficient and disciplined army," Kocharian concluded.

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