Azerbaijan, Armenia Plan Defense Budget Increases for 2018
(Source: Forecast International; issued Oct 20, 2017)
NEWTOWN, Conn. --- Both Azerbaijan and Armenia anticipate increases to their respective defense budgets for the coming year.

Speaking early this month, Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan stated that the defense budget would be increased in order to finance the acquisition of new military hardware.

He did not disclose what sort of systems Armenia would be acquiring.

Azatutyun quoted the defense minister as saying, "I prefer to show weapons during military parades. It is useless and meaningless to speak of forthcoming or possible arms purchases first of all because that makes all processes more difficult. Secondly, that means disclosing your plans for the future, which would allow the enemy to take countermeasures."

Armenia anticipates increasing its defense budget to AMD 247 billion ($512 million). The country furthermore has been approved for a $100 million loan from Russia to support arms purchases, which follows a $200 million Russian loan for the same purpose agreed to several years ago.

This week, Azerbaijan submitted a draft 2018 state budget to the country's parliament. APA quoted Ziyad Samadzade, Chairman of Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship Committee of the parliament, as saying, "The draft budget is already in the parliament. The document will be distributed to all MPs, including members of our committee. the parliament will probable begin to discuss the document at the end of this month and beginning of the next month."

Total Azeri defense and security spending for 2018 is projected to be AZN 2.8 billion ($1.6 billion), but the allocations to specifically defense are around half of that. Azerbaijan anticipates spending AZN 1.4 billion ($800 million) on defense for 2018. This figure, if met, would represent an increase of several hundred million manats from 2017 expenditures.

Both countries are continuing efforts to procure new military systems. Armenia, especially with its new loan in place, has looked to Russia to fulfill its needs. Azerbaijan, similarly, is a major buyer of Russian systems and is reportedly interested in negotiating for new contracts. Baku has also explored arms deals with Israel, Turkey, and Pakistan.

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