STEPANAKERT–Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian was in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic over the weekend where he observed major military drills carried out near the Karabakh-Azerbaijan line-of-contact at Aghdam.
He was accompanied by Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian, the Armenia’s Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanian and other high ranking officials. According to the Armenian President’s press service, the leaders of Armenia and Karabakh were present at the military exercises, conducted observation of the defense area, and participated in the opening ceremony of the apartments built for the military staff.
Later, Sarkisian conducted a working meeting with the participation of the Army High Command, where he delivered a powerful speech, in which he warned that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh will deal a “devastating and final” blow to Azerbaijan if it unleashes a new war in the South Caucasus and attempts to resolve the Karabakh conflict by force.
Below is the full-text of the speech Sarkisian delivered to the soldiers.
Dear junior officers,
The exercises that we observed today have really been very impressive. This is the greatest proof of the fact that every month and every year our army advances even further, becomes more combat ready, more organized, and more disciplined. What we have is enough to deal the potential enemy a lethal blow. However, we will not be complacent about that but will continue to constantly amplify capabilities, skills and armaments of our Armed Forces because developments in the neighboring country are extremely troublesome. They link all their failures and problems to Armenians. Anti-Armenianism has become state policy. Unfortunately, they prepare their own people for war; we, on the contrary, prepare our people for peace, explain the importance of solving the issue through peaceful means. We state publicly, yes, we are ready to make some concessions, ready to solve the issue when the final status of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is determined, i.e. the issue of security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh is resolved.
And to solve this issue, officers and soldiers, you always must be stronger, your combat readiness must intensify, your weapons must be faster, your willpower must prevail, your dedication must be boundless. I have no doubt that if the time comes, we will not only do again what we did in 1992-94, but will go even further and solve the issue once and for all; the issue will be closed for good. What’s to be done to reach our goal? We must constantly be vigilant, be ready. Nobody should doubt your resolve just as I don’t doubt it, because provocations go on, shooting goes on, people continue to die and not every one gives this conduct of Azerbaijan a proper assessment. It means that we have to be vigilant, it means that our military exercises, which have been very close to combat situation, must become a warning for the others, while for us they must become a norm of life. During the military exercises, the officers should display their knowledge, soldiers—their abilities, the command should constantly improve their skills. This is our approach, we have no other way. As Commander-in-Chief, as President of Armenia, officers and soldiers, I promise that you will have no need of anything. We will acquire modern gear, which we possess also today, we will have everything to be able to protect the most precious thing we have—lives of our soldiers and officers. What we have is quite enough to fulfill with honor the most important task we face.
We hear warmongering every day, every day we hear threats and attempts to scare us. But we have been there already. My veteran friends, who are present here today, officers of senior generation remember how in the beginning of 1992 only the lazy in Azerbaijan was not talking about drinking tea in Stepanakert or Shushi. Their dream remained unfulfilled and many of them took it to the otherworld. At the time they too thought that they were very strong, that they could solve the issue and very fast. We don’t want war and never wanted, but at that time we had to defend our Motherland. If the time comes again, this time our blow will be final and deadly.
I would like to thank you, your parents, your friends, your teachers, all those who sent you here, and long live to all the defenders of our Motherland.