Rustamian Leaves President’s National Security Council

rustamianYEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armen Rustamian, the chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s Supreme Council in Armenia, resigned from Armenia’s National Security Council on Thursday in accordance with the party’s recent withdrawal from the governing coalition.

Rustamian served in the presidential body comprising the top state officials in his capacity as chairman of the Armenian parliament’s committee on foreign affairs. Like other ARF members holding senior positions in the executive and legislative branches, he tendered his resignation after the party left the coalition in protest against President Serzh Sarkisian’s conciliatory policy toward Turkey.

Rustamian withdrew the resignation a few days later, after the ARF leadership accepted a government request to continue chairing two parliamentary committees. Nonetheless, he asked Sarkisian on Wednesday to terminate his membership in the National Security Council. He was formally removed from the advisory body the next day.

According to Vahan Hovannisian, the ARF’s parliamentary leader, in quitting the council, Rustamian complied with a decision taken by the party leadership. “The country’s National Security Council has a number of rules,” explained Hovannisian. “Under its statutes, the council members are obliged to implement decisions made by the council.”

“Since we left the coalition because of disagreeing with such decisions, it would be impossible [for Rustamian] to meet this requirement,” he told RFE/RL.

The coalition exit automatically turned the ARF into an opposition force contesting the May 31 mayoral elections in Yerevan. The party kicked off its election campaign on Monday.

The ARF’s mayoral candidate, Artsvik Minasian, spoke to reporters at a press conference Thursday about the party’s election campaign. He stressed that its 50 candidates will “go all the way” to bring “professional municipal governance” to Yerevan.

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