President Serzh Sarkisian signed a decree late on Monday appointing Armenia’s ambassador to France Eduard Nalbandian as the country’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sarkisian’s press office announced the same day.
Nalbandian, 52, a career diplomat who also served as Armenia’s ambassador to Israel, Andorra and the Vatican, will succeed veteran diplomat Vartan Oskanian, who announced his resignation last week.
By another decree the same day Sarkisian appointed Colonel-General Seyran Ohanian as Armenia’s new Minister of Defense, the government statement said.
Ohanian, 46, a veteran of the 1992-1994 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, first served as the unrecognized republic’s defense minister before being appointed chief of Armenia’s armed forces and first deputy defense minister last year. He replaces Mikael Harutiunian, who served less than a year as defense minister after taking the position in the government formed following last May’s parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant-General Yuri Khachaturov was promoted Colonel-General and appointed to succeed Seyran Ohanian in both his previous positions. Before his new appointments, Khachaturov, 56, held the post of deputy defense minister.
The formation of the new government appears imminent as the four political parties making up the new coalition, including the Republican Party, Prosperous Armenia, Orinats Yerkir and Dashnaktsutyun, appear to have either agreed or to be near agreement on the distribution of major ministerial portfolios. Last week predictions were made by senior government representatives that the new cabinet could be announced any time during the current week.
Under Armenia’s constitution, after appointing prime minister, the president and the new prime minister have 20 days to form the new government.
President Serzh Sarkisian appointed former Central Bank Chairman Tigran Sarkisian (no relation to him) prime minister hours after his inauguration on April 9.