Political News


Mane Tandilyan: The government programme does not address questions as how, when, and to what extent
/Feb 11/Panorama/

Member of opposition “Bright Armenia” fraction at Armenia’s National Assembly Mane Tandilyan sees gaps in the government programme unveiled days ago. Ahead of the debate over the programme at the parliament, Tandilyan spoke to reporters on Monday.
“I am set to present the main concerns during tomorrow’s parliament session, specifically about reforms which are underway yet are in no way reflected in the programme. Does it mean those reforms will not be implemented and the promises of the ruling force will remain unfulfilled?” Tandilyan raised some of the concerns.

In the MP’s words, the government programme does not address questions such as how, when, and to what extent. “Everyone realizes that we should reduce unemployment rates, the poverty. Thus, the logical question is whether the document is a statement of wishes or a programme? We need a strategy for each year,” Tandilyan added.
To note, the parliament is set to discuss the government programme on Tuesday. Earlier, number of experts and opposition politicians criticized the document for lacking specifics and figures on the proposed activities.

Armenia parliament ex-deputy speaker terminates RPA membership
/11 Feb/Vestnik Kavkaza/

Ex-Vice President of the National Assembly Arpine Hovhannisyan said that she has decided to terminate her membership to the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia.

“Last week I received the license for [conducting] attorney activities, and I will join the community of attorneys,” she wrote on Facebook. “I founded an NGO. Our objective will be to oversee the processes taking place in the country, reveal the problems; but along with that, to offer the solutions. I will carry out professional activities in the status of a partner at the consulting firm."

“Also, I will continue my active lecturer’s and academic-pedagogical activities. I will continue my active involvement in social and political processes," she added.

“Taking all this into account, I have decided to at this phase terminate my membership to the Republican Party of Armenia,” News.am cited Hovhannisyan as saying.

Task group set by Armenian PM to work at strengthening state-church relations
/Feb 11/Aysor/

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a decree on January 29 on creation of a task group that will deal with the state-church relations.

The group is led by head of PM’s staff Eduard Aghajanyan and consists of government and church representatives.

Asked about the aim and nature of activity of the group government press service informed Aysor.am that "As far as according to the Article 18 of the Armenian Constitution, the Republic of Armenia recognizes the exclusive mission of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the spiritual life of the Armenian people, its national cultural development and preservation of national identity, besides the state –church relations are regulated by the law, the task group has been created for operative discussion of the issues that may raise.

“The task group will have authorities to present proposals, consult and come up with different initiatives aimed at strengthening state-church relations,” the response of the government’s press service reads.

Earlier speaking to Aysor.am, Holy See press service responsible Rev. Vahram Melikyan said that the task group has been formed as a result of discussion between Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II and Armenian PM.

Armenia to take part in military actions in Syria, if necessary
/Feb 12/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Armenia will take part in military actions in Syria, if necessary, Armenian Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan said Tuesday in Yerevan at a joint press conference with his Cypriot counterpart Savvas Angelidis.
He is quoted by Novosti-Armenia as saying that if there is the necessity of participation in the military actions, Armenia will do it in accordance with the law.
“We will try to collaborate with non-parliamentary forces while making any decision,” Tonoyan said.
Asked about reports on verbal agreement to dispatch the mission, Tonoyan said there was a de facto written request from the Syrian authorities.
On February 8, the Armenian defense ministry reported about the dispatch of group of specialists to Syria. The 83-member group is made up of humanitarian mine action experts, medical workers and specialists in charge of their security. The ministry says the dispatch of humanitarian specialists from Armenia to Syria is in complete conformity with the Armenian law.

Armenia wants single institution representing entire global Diaspora
/Feb 12/ArmenPress.am/

YEREVAN – PM Nikol Pashinyan says making significant changes in relations between Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora is extremely important.

“As you know, when making governmental structural changes we focus not as much and not only on changes in physical structure, but functional changes and we believe that in the state administration system each institution must implement a single function, because if several institutions are implementing the same function and the same time, we can say for the record that these functions are factually not being done,” the PM told lawmakers today in parliament.

“Overall, one of the reasons for deciding that Armenia should not have a Diaspora Minister was this, because it was implementing functions that were already being done by other ministries. I am talking about educational, cultural, youth and organizational functions. And instead of this, important functions that must be implemented in terms of relations with the Diaspora, basically were not being implemented. And I would like to note the following, the government is inclined not to have a Diaspora Minister in the structure of the government. Instead, we will have a high commissioner for Diaspora affairs at the PM’s Office, who on behalf and at the direction of the PM will carry out the policy of relations with the Diaspora, and will also at the PM’s instruction coordinate the ministries’ work in the relations with the Diaspora, at the same time by ensuring rather high and duly level of the Armenia-Diaspora relations,” he said.

According to the PM, Armenia still doesn’t have a mapping of the Diaspora’s potential around the world. “Therefore, this entire system isn’t sufficiently organized, and if you have noticed the government’s action plan has a special focus on the creation of a pan-Armenian network”, he said.

Another important task, according to the PM, is the creation of a single institution or format representing the Diaspora.

“We must be able to develop and formulate a concrete address to record who we should speak to for speaking with the Diaspora. There are many issues in the government’s, political agenda, and when they say these issues must be discussed with the Diaspora – whom exactly? The Diaspora is huge and is very comprehensive. There are thousands of organizations and if it is physically possible to discuss with a part of them, it is impossible to discuss with the other part and everyone”.

“We therefore have the task to create a representational institution representing the entire Diaspora and we all understand that this will be an extremely big challenge and a serious issue, because you know that the Diaspora is multi-layered, it is very complex, there are multiple relations, contradictions”.

Prosperous Armenia parliament faction suggests adding new chapter to proposed government program Prosperous Armenia parliament faction suggests adding new chapter to proposed government program
/Feb 14/News.am/

YEREVAN. – The Prosperous Armenia Party proposes to supplement the government’s program with a ninth chapter that will stipulate the guarantees for implementing this program, expected risks, specific tools and mechanisms for its implementation, obligations—by years, until 2023.

National Assembly (NA) Vice President Vahe Enfiajyan, who is also a member of the Prosperous Armenia faction in parliament, on Thursday said the aforementioned at the NA debates on the proposed five-year program of the government.

He reflected also on the annual GDP growth and taxes, investment dynamics and interest-rate changes, national debt ratio to the GDP, minimum wage and pension increase, as well as poverty reduction in Armenia.

“What kind of a decision will we make on this matter, together with the MPs of our party, depends on your conduct,” Enfiajyan added.

Armenia ‘takes note’ of U.S. reaction to Syria humanitarian mission – Foreign Ministry
/Feb 14/Panorama/

Armenia has taken note of the statement by the U.S. Department of State in connection with the deployment of the Armenian Humanitarian Mission to Syria (AHM), the Foreign ministry spokesperson, Anna Naghdalyan said on Wednesday as she was asked to comment on the issue.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry dispatched an 83-member team of medics, sappers and security personnel to Aleppo, Syria on Friday to carry out humanitarian de-mining and de-mining training of the population, as well as to provide medical assistance in Aleppo exclusively outside the zone of military operations.

“Armenia and the U.S have long worked together to address the current humanitarian catastrophe in Syria with its massive refugee and displacement crises.

“I would like to repeat that throughout the Syrian conflict the plight of civilians, minorities, including the sizable Syrian-Armenian community has consistently been a priority concern for the Armenian people worldwide. The Armenian public opinion strongly reflects deep compassion and concern for the sufferings of civilians and the devastation of the country. We speak about a country which has had an indispensable contribution for the survival of the Armenian nation in the wake of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Consul General has been never stopped operating throughout the crisis. To date Armenia has sheltered around 22,000 Syrian refugees and has dispatched 4 airplanes of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. With the establishment of a relative normalcy and security, Armenia is now keen to continue its contribution to the humanitarian mission, including by providing doctors and humanitarian sappers, to help improve the livelihoods of civilians in the conflict-torn Aleppo. AHM is a purely relief mission guided by the International Humanitarian Law and coordinates its work with the relief agencies and international partners present on the ground.

“We share the concerns of the international community with regard to the plight of the ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East and attach importance to the continued provision of humanitarian support in Syria,” Naghdalyan said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement, saying: “We recognize the desire of other nations to respond to the humanitarian situation in Syria, and we share the concerns about protecting religious minorities in the Middle East. However, we do not support any engagement with Syrian military forces, whether that engagement is to provide assistance to civilians or is military in nature.”

What will change in Armenia government structure? What will change in Armenia government structure?
/Feb 14/News.am/

YEREVAN. – The Government of Armenia on Wednesday posted—on the e-draft website—the drafts for the law on making amendments and addenda to the law on the structure and functioning of the government, and for the related laws, and whereby the number of ministries in the countries is planned to be reduced from seventeen down to twelve.

This package of bills proposes to cut down the number of public administration agencies in Armenia, and in order to increase the effectiveness of public administration system in the country.

In particular, the Ministries of Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs are planned to be joined to the Ministry of Education and Science, and the latter shall be renamed Ministry of Education, Science and Culture; the Ministry of Agriculture will be joined to the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments, and the latter will be renamed Ministry of Economy; the Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources will be joined to the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development, and the latter will be renamed Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures; the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies will be renamed Ministry of High Technology Industry; and the Ministry of Diaspora will be joined to the Prime Minister’s Staff where an institute of Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs is planned to be established in lieu of this ministry.

Also, the said package of bills proposes to abolish the institute of First Deputy Prime Minister.