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By Shake Avoyan
Armenia’s newly appointed Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian spoke of ‘ambitious programs’ of the government he is going to lead as well as his expectations of a long life as Cabinet head as he spoke to RFE/RL in the new capacity on Thursday. Sarkisian also said “strenuous work” and “a committed team” were needed to ensure the country’s progress.

The former chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) also spoke optimistically about his future government’s ability to meet the targets for the budget, but said inflation was unlikely to remain within the projected limits.

Earlier on Thursday, Sarkisian was formally introduced to the Cabinet of Ministers by the country’s new President Serzh Sarkisian (no relation to him).

As reported by his press service, the president expressed his conviction that under Tigran Sarkisian’s leadership “the government will, indeed, implement ambitious programs in the years to come.”

“Now we must have more ambitious programs, considering that the first stage of our reforms is over and we are passing on to the second stage,” Serzh Sarkisian said.

Before that, the country’s parliament accepted Tigran Sarkisian’s resignation as chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia and is set to appoint a new chief banker soon.

Tigran Sarkisian, 48, is not affiliated with any political party. He says he is not going to acquire one after his appointment.

“No such objective has ever been set to me. What I have been tasked with is fulfilling all the programs submitted by Serzh Sarkisian and approved by the National Assembly and the programs that were approved by the people during the election campaign,” the new prime minister explained to RFE/RL. “I don’t think that party affiliation will be of help in terms of [the government’s] professionalism to carry out these reforms. Moreover, I think on the contrary, being a nonpartisan will help rally professionals representing all political parties for the purpose of solving these problems, and political affiliations will not keep these professionals in fetters.”

Sarkisian disagrees that his appointment as prime minister is a ‘temporary solution’ and expects to serve in his new position until initiated reforms are completed.

“These programs are rather complex and require a great deal of professionalism… These are reforms that cannot be interrupted. So, I feel like working with Serzh Sarkisian for the whole duration [of his five-year term],” Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian also said that the vast political experience that he had before taking the non-political post of the CBA chief would help him unite individuals that do not share common political views.

The new prime minister said reforms in many spheres were overdue. Thus, according to him, minimizing pressures of the international financial situation on Armenia’s economy would feature prominently on the government’s immediate agenda.

“We all are under these pressures today. Prices grow fast in Armenia, and these are first of all prices for foodstuffs. It is a very painful process for us and naturally one of the government’s priorities should be to lessen the negative impacts of international financial markets,” said Sarkisian.
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