By Emil Danielyan
President Robert Kocharian has appointed Tatul Markarian, a deputy foreign minister who has represented him in peace talks with Azerbaijan, as Armenia’s new ambassador to the United States.
Markarian, 40, will replace Arman Kirakosian who has headed the Armenian diplomatic mission in Washington since October 1999. Kirakosian was not immediately given a new appointment and it is not yet clear if he will stay in the diplomatic service.
A graduate of Washington’s Johns Hopkins University, Markarian began his diplomatic career at the Armenian embassy in the U.S. where he held various positions from 1994-98. He had previously worked as a top aide to Gagik Harutiunian, Armenia’s former vice-president and prime minister who now heads the Constitutional Court.
Markarian became deputy foreign minister in 2000 and his influence grew two years later when he was named Kocharian’s personal representative in internationally sponsored negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh. He met regularly with his Azerbaijani opposite number, Araz Azimov, between 2002 and 2003.
Markarian’s posting appears to be part of the ongoing cadre rotation in the highest echelons of the Armenian diplomacy. Ruben Shugarian, another deputy foreign minister and experienced diplomat, took over as Armenia’s ambassador to Italy earlier this month.
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s remaining two deputies, Armen Bayburtian and Gegham Gharibjanian, until recently worked as Yerevan’s envoys in India and Iran respectively.
(Photolur photo: Tatul Markarian.)