Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan.18 / Trend E.Mehdiyev/
The highly professional Azerbaijani army is the most powerful factor of statehood and resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, MP Aydin Mirzazadeh told Trend on Wednesday.
He said increasing the armed forces' fighting capability has become the result of true internal and economic policies.
"It was a time when Azerbaijan's public budget made up $800 million-$1 billion, of which approximately $130 million allocated for defense," Mirzazadeh said. "Today Azerbaijan's budget makes up $22 billion, of which $3-4 billion is spent on defense."
He recalled that Azerbaijan's military budget is twice more than military budget of Armenia.
"The Azerbaijani army is armed with modern technology, logistical support is on high level, and the NATO standards are applied," Mirzazadeh noted.
Strong army is one of the powerful factors of Azerbaijan's pressure on Armenia, he believes.
"The armed forces' task is to liberate the Azerbaijani lands," Mirzazadeh said. "Our army is ready for that. Armenia, feeling this mood, cannot resist this," he stressed adding that now Armenian generals are obliged to admit superiority of the Azerbaijani army.
According to Mirzazadeh, Azerbaijan prefers to liberate its lands peacefully, without war.
"This is a chance for Armenia," Mirzazadeh stressed. "The Azerbaijani president's speech at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the socio-economic development in 2011 and impending challenges in 2012 showed that Armenia once again is given a chance. If Armenia does not use this, it will necessarily reap the bitter results."
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 7 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.