By Armen Zakarian
Two deputy foreign ministers of Armenia may be appointed to high-ranking positions in the Armenian diplomatic missions in the United States, RFE/RL learned on Wednesday.
Sources close to President Robert Kocharian’s staff said Deputy Foreign Minister Armen Martirosian will soon take up the vacant post of Armenia’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Martirosian would take the place of Movses Abelian who has headed the Armenian mission at the UN since 1993. Abelian has reportedly been offered a senior job in the UN staff and decided to accept the offer.
A Yerevan daily, “Haykakan Zhamanak,” reported on Wednesday that Abelian’s likely successor is Ruben Shugarian, another deputy foreign minister and Armenia’s former longtime ambassador to the U.S.
Sources said official Yerevan is now considering replacing the current Armenian envoy to Washington, Arman Kirakosian. They said the strongest candidate for one of the most important Armenian diplomatic positions abroad is Tatul Markarian, the third deputy minister and Kocharian’s personal envoy in internationally sponsored negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Kirakosian, though, is unlikely to be recalled in the coming months, the sources added.
Technically, the appointments would downgrade Martirosian’s and Kirakosian’s position in the diplomatic hierarchy. But the ambassadorial jobs in the U.S. and other major foreign powers are much better paid and seen as more prestigious by many Armenian diplomats.
The presidential administration also plans another major diplomatic posting to the U.S., with Ashot Kirakosian, who heads the Foreign Ministry’s Eastern Europe desk, set to be named Armenia’s consul-general to Los Angeles.