Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian announced on Thursday his decision to appoint a senior member of his Civil Contract party as Armenia’s new environment minister.
President Armen Sarkissian was expected to formalize the appointment of Romanos Petrosian later in the day.
Petrosian, 40, has served as governor of Armenia’s central Kotayk province until now. He had graduated from the Geology Department of Yerevan State University from 2003.
The previous environment minister, Erik Grigorian, resigned on May 5 for still unclear reasons. Grigorian had held the post since May 2018.
Pashinian did not explain his choice of the new minister when he announced it during a weekly cabinet session in Yerevan. Nor did he say who will replace Petrosian as Kotayk governor.
Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service, Petrosian promised a stricter enforcement of the government’s environment protection rules. He said many of Armenia’s serious ecological problems are the result of the “inactivity” and “negligence” of state regulatory bodies.
Petrosian also vowed stronger government action against Armenian mining firms contaminating the air, land and rivers or mismanaging their waste disposal sites located close to towns and villages. The Environment Ministry will do more to “reverse the damage caused to environment,” he said.