ANCA Says Sarkissian’S Reforms Must Continue

WASHINGTONThe Prime Minister of Armenia–Armen Sarkissian–resigned Friday–citing health concerns. The Prime Minister–who is in London recuperating from surgery–offered his resignation over the phone on Friday during a conversation with President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. The President accepted his resignation.

"We wish the Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to public life," said Armenian National Committee of America Chairman Mourad Topalian. "His appointment last year marked an important turning point for Armenia. The promise of his ambitious reforms continue to be an inspiration to all Armenia’s."

"We especially value his expression of appreciation–reported earlier today in the Armenian press– to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the other opposition parties with which he established a meaningful dialogue. In turn–we would like to thank Prime Minister Sarkissian for providing a breath of fresh air–new hope and a spirit of reconciliation to the life of the Armenian nation," added Topalian.

According to an Itar-Tass report–Sarkissian "held out a hope that Armenia’s socio-economic development blueprint developed by his government will be implemented under a new premier." He added that he hoped to "be able to serve my country and my people after my convalescence."

Sarkissian–who was appointed as Prime Minister on November 4 of last year–had embarked upon an ambitious program of economic and democratic reforms. During his tenure–he was credited with helping to restore Armenia’s international standing following a series of setbacks to democracy. His steps toward establishing a dialogue with opposition political parties reversed a long-standing government policy of suppressing political dissent. In January of this year–he visited the US as part of an effort to turn a new page in relations between the Armenian government and the Armenian Diaspora. During a visit–and throughout his service as Prime Minister–he fostered a new level of understanding between the US and Armenian governmen’s.

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