Budget Enough to Armed Forces Preparedness

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A joint meeting of the Parliament’s standing commission on Friday discussed the 2002 budget allotment for militarized ministries.

The Ministry of Defense thinks that this year’s allotment has been enough and has not caused any additional problems–Mikael Haroutiunian–the Deputy Minister of Defense and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces–said while answering journalists’ questions. He added that the amount financed in 2001 was sufficient and if it was maintained in 2002–there would be no problems in 2002. He said that the sums allocated to the ministry were enough to keep the armed forces in fighting trim.

Vahan Hovanessian–the Head of the National Assembly’s Standing Commission on Defense–National Security and Internal Affairs–said that the Commission did not neglect the fact that the military and material assistance to Azerbaijan after the waiver of Section 907 might somehow shatter the stability in the volatile Caucasian region. However–he said–the Defense Ministry’s representatives were not particularly concerned over possible instability. "Of course–they are more informed of their potentialities and internal resources–however–the current geopolitical situation may change so quickly that at times our internal resources may prove insufficient to keep pace with the developmen’s," said Hovhannissian. According to him–the committees must think of how to increase the country’s budget on the whole–not just in defense and security spending. Hovanessian believes that Armenia can have a budget of $1 billion and should be an "administrative and political," goal.

As for the commentaries challenging the expedience of keeping a 60-thousand-strong army–according to Hovhannissian–"one cannot feel at ease knowing that his neighbor is Azerbaijan and next to him is Turkey–a friend of Azerbaijan–knowing that the 5th corps of Azerbaijan’s army stationed in Nakhijevan is fully maintained at the expense of the 9th Turkish army." According to him–our basic doctrine is–"We do not need to win a war–we want others to be afraid of attacking us."

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