Arzoumanian Siradeghian Other Officials Resign

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian submitted his resignation Monday. This followed the resignation Saturday of Yerevan Mayor Vano Siradeghian. Both resignations were accepted by Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Sources in Armenia’said that the surprise announcement by Armenian National Movement president Siradeghian indicated that the ruling party was no longer able to retain its spheres of influences within the socio-political life of Armenia–and that its efforts–in recent weeks–to alienate the prime minister and the power ministers have failed.

Arzoumanian offered to resign Monday amid growing tensions over the government’s policy toward the Nagorno Karabakh conflict–the Foreign Ministry said.

Sources in the Ter-Petrosyan administration stated that Central Bank Chief Bagrat Asatryan and Armenia Fund chairwoman Manoushak Petrossian also announced their resignation Monday.

Meanwhile–in a television interview Saturday–Interior and National Security Minister Serge Sarkissian confirmed that a group of 25 armed militiamen were arrested by national security forces–adding that a preliminary investigation has already yielded considerable information.

It is unclear whether this group is related to several recent assassination attempts on the lives of high-ranking government officials–however it is known that several of the 25 have previously been under suspicion of organizing assassination attempts in Armenia.

The Hayots Ashkhar newspaper reported that forensic analysis revealed that the car occupied by Ter-Petrosyan bodyguard Romik Ghazarian when he was allegedly shot at–was not moving and Ghazarian was not in it when it came under fire on Jan. 20.

Ghazarian claimed that he was shot at as he was driving along a highway. If the forensic reports are true–Hayots Ashkhar says–then the attempt on Ghazarian’s life was "staged."

It also known that at least two of the 25 were under suspicion and were being investigated for plotting the 1994 assassination attempt against special prosecutor Vladimir Grigorian. At that juncture there were suspicions that interior ministry forces were involved in that attempt while Siradeghian was interior minister.

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