YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia has been putting in place “engineering facilities” along with other measures to prevent attempts by Azerbaijani sabotage groups to infiltrate into its territory, according to Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Thursday Ohanian acknowledged, however, that advanced systems are not available at all sections of the border with Azerbaijan, especially in the areas where they would be exposed to enemy fire.
Installing such expensive security equipment at sections exposed to constant ceasefire violations is simply not expedient, the minister explained.
But there is an opportunity to install security systems “where there is no immediate aggressiveness of the enemy and where the positions of the sides are far apart” so as to also ensure the expensive equipment does not get damaged or destroyed, he added.
Concerns over the possibility of Azerbaijani commando units’ or sabotage groups’ infiltrating into Armenian territory increased in Armenia in the last couple of weeks amid a major incursion reported near Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Artsakh Republic’s authorities said last week a group of Azerbaijanis had been arrested in the region on suspicion of espionage and subversive activities. The Nagorno-Karabakh police force said the group members had killed one military serviceman and severely wounded a civilian. Another local teenager, it said, had been kidnapped and then brutally murdered by the alleged Azerbaijani saboteurs.
Still last week Minister Ohanian emphasized that none of the Azerbaijanis who had managed to infiltrate into the Karvachar (Kelbajar) district near Nagorno-Karabakh, could cross into Armenia.
Speaking about the use of new technologies, the minister said that to make them more affordable for the purpose of securing the border, efforts are underway to ensure the availability of locally produced types of such devices. Some of which, he added, are at the stage of testing at present.
“We certainly cooperate with all the organizations that either make offers or work on our request. We particularly cooperate with enterprises working in the information technology sector,” Ohanian said.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises Karen Vardanian said that the current cooperation between the Defense Ministry and IT companies did not seem satisfactory to him.
“We have good relations with the Defense Ministry. Their representatives come and attend our technology displays and exhibitions. But there is no strategic approach,” he complained.
Vartanian said that today Armenia does develop technologies that can serve the cause of keeping the borders safe. “Moreover, Armenia exports these technologies and a number of companies even work for the military-industrial complexes of other countries,” he added.