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Armenia raises defense spending

7 November 2012 17:35 (UTC+04:00)
Armenia raises defense spending

Armenia's expenditure budget made up $2.2 billion in 2012, and the deficit of its budget will hit $326.5 million (about 14.5 percent of the budget) during the year, Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Political Analysis and Information Provision Department head Elnur Aslanov told journalists on Wednesday.

He said allocations for Armenia's military needs this year will be more than 17 percent of expenditure budget.

"While in Azerbaijan this figure hits 8.1 percent this year. According to the plan for 2013, Armenia plans to spend $450 million on military expenditures, which is over 16 percent of the expenditure budget. One should note for comparison that the corresponding ratio [military expenditures to expenditure budget] for 2013 in Azerbaijan will hit only 7.7 percent," Aslanov said.

"If to compare percentage of military expenditures in the budgets of Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is obvious that in Armenia, the figure is at least two times higher than the relevant data on Azerbaijan," he said.

"It is a clear demonstration of the high level of militarization of Armenia. All this happens with disastrous social and economic situation in the background, while the ruling elite is trying to retain power through pressure on society and speculation around the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Because after the collapse of the Armenian economy in 2009, it losses were two-digit, but the rise, which the Armenian government has been talking about since 2010, is relative to the previous year and remains in single digit. Therefore, Armenia's economy has not bounced back to pre-crisis level," Aslanov said.

He said by trying to preserve the status quo in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, the Armenian leadership aggravates not only social and economic situation in the country, depriving young generation of full-blown future, but once again demonstrates that it is not interested in peace and stability in the region.

"Thus, any statements made by the Armenian leadership on its alleged desire for peace and security in the region will crumble as house of cards against the background of constant militarization of the state and xenophobic statements by Armenian President," Aslanov said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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