Darbinian to Change Cabinet

YEREVAN (Reuters)–Armenian Prime Minister Armen Darbinian said on Monday that a cabinet reshuffle was imminent but the country’s pro-reform economic course would not change.

Darbinian told a news conference that Industry and Trade Minister Garnik Nanagulyan and Energy Minister Gagik Martirosyan were among those likely to be leaving their posts.

"This will allow the government to work more effectively," he said–while emphasizing Armenia intended to continue the economic reforms begun in the early 1990s following independence from the Soviet Union.

Armenian press reports have said Martirosyan may be elevated to the post of deputy premier.

It is not clear if Nanagulyan will receive another cabinet job. Armenia’s industrial sector continues to suffer from a deep crisis–leading some to speculate that the minister is on his way out.

Darbinian said the ministers of Health and of Natural Resources were likely to change as well. He gave no details.

He said Gross Domestic Product had grown at an annual rate of 7.7 percent since January–Central Bank foreign reserves had reached $326 million–up from $240 million–and year-on-year inflation was in single digits.

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