YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday said the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict remains a top priority for Armenia and Artsakh voicing concern over the slow pace of progress in the peace talks with Azerbaijan.
“One thing is clear – we will continue the negotiations and our contacts with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, since they have been authorized by the international community to mediate between parties and contribute to the elaboration of a peace accord,” said Sarkisian who was speaking at the annual meeting of the senior leadership of Armenia’s Armed Forces
“Our army has been and will remain the main factor in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Under the conditions of constant threats from Baku, the Armed Forces are our main pillar. The military actions of April 2016 were a major attempt by the adversary to test the balance of forces, which they definitely failed,” added Sarkisian, who said that the main responsibility for the resolution of the conflict is shouldered by the negotiating sides.
“We have repeatedly made it clear—and if necessary we’ll reiterate once again—that a military solution to the Karabakh conflict is shortsighted,” said Sarkisian adding that one of the practical steps to achieve this goal would be the implementation of the sever-year program to modernize the Armenian Armed Forces.
Sarkisian said that purchase and upgrade of arms and military equipment was in line with the plan, explaining that Armenia has agreements with Russia. He emphasized that Armenia is not solely relying on Russia, which he called Armenia’s “main ally and partner,” but is exploring opportunities with other countries.
“In the arms race we are not pursuing the policy of responding to quantity with quantity; instead, we lay the emphasis on the effectiveness of the armament,” explained Sarkisian.
“We possess the means necessary to restrain the rival any moment. When we speak about restraining, we do not mean preventing the attacks. It means counterstrikes that will deprive them of the wish to violate the commitments and provisions of the ceasefire agreement signed in 1994-1995,” said Sarkisian.