Controversy Over Firing of OTE Official Widens

ATHENS (Azad Or)–A recent controversy–war of words–over the firing of an official in Armenia managing OTE–the company which owns and operates ArmenTel has escalated.

During a recent visit to Athens–Armenia’s minister of Telecommunications Rouben Tonoyan urged Greek officials to remove OTE Armenia manager Constantine Khristodoulidis from his position–saying that he was inciting political tensions between Greeks and Armenia’s.

Following Tonoyan’s visit–OTE top brass removed Khristodoulidis from his position–per the Armenian minister’s request.

On Wednesday–Greek prime minister Costas Simitis received a letter from his Armenian counterpart’s office. The letter expresses dissatisfaction with the OTE decision to fire Khristodoulidis. At the same time–Greek transport minister Theo Mandelis–who handles Greek telecommunications matters–received a letter from his counterpart in Armenia expressing satisfaction with the OTE decision.

The letter from Armenia’s prime ministerial office–which was published Wednesday by the Greek press–bears the signature of minister of infrastructures Vahan Shirkhanian–acting as deputy prime minister during prime minister Aram Sargsyan’s visit to Moscow for the CIS summit.

In the letter–Shirkhanian told Simitis that the opinions expressed by Tonoyan during his Athens visit did not correspond with the views of the prime minister’s office.

In reaction–the Greek newspaper Khathimerini said that the trail of letters indicated that the Armenian government did not have confidence in the work of its telecommunications minister.

OTE–through its representatives–defended its sacking decision.

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