YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Armenia’s former Parliament Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan has been appointed foreign minister by a decree signed Wednesday by President Armen Sarkissian upon the proposal of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The post of Armenia’s foreign minister remained vacant since late May when Ara Ayvazyan resigned over apparent policy disagreements with Pashinyan. All of Ayvazyan’s four deputies followed suit.
At a May 31 farewell meeting with the Armenian Foreign Ministry staff, Ayvazian signaled strong objections to Pashinyan’s policies relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and national security.
In mid-July Pashinyan relieved Armen Grigoryan of his duties as secretary of the Security Council. Grigoryan was later appointed first deputy foreign minister acting as foreign minister.
Pashinyan signed a decree on August 19 reappointing Grigoryan as secretary of the Security Council.
The government has not yet given any reasons for the reshuffle.
Explaining the reason for the delay in the appointment of the new foreign minister, Ruben Rubinyan, a deputy speaker of the new Armenian parliament and senior figure in the Pashinyan-led Civil Contract party, in an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service earlier this month dismissed media reports that the prime minister was having second thoughts about Grigoryan’s appointment because it is opposed by Russia. “There are and there can be no differences [with Moscow,]” he said.
Grigoryan for years worked for a Western-funded Armenian civic group and criticized Russia prior to joining Pashinyan’s political team in 2018.
Like Grigoryan, the new foreign minister, Mirzoyan, was also one of the leaders of Armenia’s 2018 street protests that brought Pashinyan to power.
The 41-year-old politician has no experience in diplomatic service. He served as speaker of the parliament of the previous convocation that was dissolved in May paving the way for snap parliamentary elections amid a political crisis triggered by Armenia’s defeat in last year’s war against Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
In the early hours on November 10, 2020, shortly after the announcement of a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement with Azerbaijan requiring significant concessions from Armenia, Mirzoyan was attacked by an angry mob as protesters opposing the deal seized the parliament building. Mirzoyan then was hospitalized with serious injuries.