Despite statements by Moldova’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Igor Bodiu to the contrary, Moldova’s defense minister Vitalie Marinuţa insistes that the deal involving the sale of arms and ammunition to Armenia is lawful and right, reports Moldovan news agency OMEGA (OMG Media Group).
Earlier this week, the Moldovan Ambassador in Baku was summoned by the Azerbaijani government to provide explanations for recent news about his country secretly supplying (expired) weapons to Armenia. The Moldovan authorities did not comment on the diplomatic incident.
However, after the conversation with the Azerbaijani government, Ambassador Bodiu told members of the press that the sensational deal “created an unpleasant moment in [Moldova-Azerbaijan] bilateral relations.” At the same time, Bodiu expressed hope that “this unfortunate mistake” will in no way affect Azerbaijan-Moldova relations.
As it later became known to sources of OMEGA, the transaction was carried out by the Latvian company Latspetsexport, though Latvian authorities deny the involvement of a Latvian company in the arrangement. A number of Moldova officials have repeatedly said this batch of weapons was purchased by Armenia.
Speaking on this matter, Marinuţa, Moldova’s defense minister, declared that the agreement to ship 60 tons of arms (among them anti-aircraft and anti-tank systems) “benefitted” the Moldovan party.
In turn, chair of the Parliamentary Commission on National Security, Defense and Public Order Alexander Stoianoglo asserted that the aircraft shipped arms to Armenia on the basis of a contract between the Republic of Moldova and the Latvian company, and the contract was implemented in accordance with Moldovan legislation. The deal, according to Stoianoglu, was confirmed with the signature of Armenian defense minister Seyran Ohanyan.
Armenia, in turn, claims that it has never purchased obsolete weapons. Since independence, Armenia has never acquired expired weapons, press secretary for Armenia’s defense ministry David Karapetyan said earlier.
“For the needs of Armenia’s Armed Forces, the procurement and acquisition of weapons and military equipment are made under the laws of the Republic [of Armenia] and relevant international norms and obligations,” he said.