Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalian said on Tuesday that the government decided to cut short Clark-Hattingh’s tenure of because of “shortcomings in the execution of her mandate” and her “uncooperative work style.” She did not go into details.
“The UN Resident Coordinator [in Armenia] and UNICEF representatives have been notified about the decision,” Naghdalian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
A spokeswoman for the UNICEF office in Yerevan, Zara Sargsian, denied media reports that Clark-Hattingh has “hastily” left Armenia. Sargsian said she remains in the country and will continue to perform her duties until the appointment of her replacement.
According to Sargsian, UNICEF has already named a new acting head of its Yerevan office and is now awaiting approval by the Armenian Foreign Ministry.
The UNICEF official did not comment on reasons for the ministry’s dissatisfaction with Clark-Hattingh. “We have always known her as a highly competent and experienced specialist committed to her work,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
The UNICEF headquarters in New York did not issue any statements on the extraordinary development.
Clark-Hattingh took over UNICEF’s Yerevan office in July 2020. She was UNICEF’s representative in Malaysia from 2016-2020.
Before joining the UN agency over two decades ago, Clark-Hattingh had worked at UK Aid Direct, a British government agency supporting non-governmental organizations around the world.
Clark-Hattingh handed her credentials to Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Artak Apitonian as recently as on August 24. The Foreign Ministry reported at the time that she and Apitonian discussed, among other things, ways of improving the plight of Armenian children living in areas bordering Azerbaijan.