YEREVAN (Combined Sources)-Armenian Defense Minister Mikayel Harutiunian Friday presented a Defense Doctrine for Armenia to the National Assembly’s Committee on Defense, Internal Affairs and National Security.
Armenia’s defense doctrine will be "useful for our country and will enhance the country’s defense, Harutiunian said at the Committee hearing. It’s not only a military document, he said, but a political one as well.
Harutiunian added that the new doctrine was drafted and reviewed by experts and that the experiences of many other countries were taken into consideration. He noted. However, that the document was designed "only for Armenia and does not resemble those of other countries."
The committee’s chairman, Artur Aghabekian, who also is a member of the ARF faction in parliament, said that a need for such a doctrine was recognized during the creation of the Armenian army. He said that the doctrine was discussed with NATO officials. NATO has severely criticized Azerbaijan’s Military Doctrine for including the stipulation to use military means to settle the Karabakh conflict if it is not resolved through negotiations.
"It is very important for us to adopt this doctrine in a time when we have an unsettled conflict," Aghabekian said. "We are sure that with good reforms and quality military reviews our armed forces will continue to carry out their mission, whether or not the Karabakh conflict is settled or not." Aghabekian also mentioned that the National Assembly will soon debate a law on defense.
Armenian presidential aide Vigen Sargsian said the cabinet too has reviewed the doctrine and it has submitted its own proposals. According to the planned timetable, the doctrine will be considered in the National Security Council and will then be signed into law.
Speaking to reporters after the committee hearing Harutiunian said Armenia’s relations with neighboring Azerbaijan are strained because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but Armenia’s clear-cut position is that this and other problems must be settled peacefully and only through negotiations.
Minister’s remarks came in response to a request to comment on a provision in Azerbaijan’s military doctrine, which describes Armenia as "an enemy country."
"There is no mention of any hostile country in our Military Doctrine," Harutiunian said. "Of course, there is a confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan but the Nagorno-Karabakh issue should be solved through peaceful mediation not war."
"I have always said that war will not resolve the Karabakh issue," the minister said. "We are sure that sooner or later this conflict will be settled at the negotiating table."
"We had better escape the war, settle the issue through negotiations and give the people of Artsakh what they want," Harutiunian said as he recalled his Azerbaijani counterpart’s statement last month on the 100% probability of war.
"Negotiations are certainly the best way to solve the conflict to give the people of Nagorno-Karabakh what they want to have,’ he said.