Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses members of the Armenian-American community in New York, September 23, 2018

Pashinyan Meets with Community Members in New York

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NEW YORK (Combined Sources) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in New York for the opening session of the United Nations, met on Sunday, September 23, with members of the Armenian community. During the reception, he spoke at length about the country’s political situation domestically as well as international ties. (A video post will be added to this present online article in a few days.)

Prime Minister Pashinyan meets journalist Florence Avakian.

Pashinyan addressed also the results of the mayoral election in Yerevan, which netted his supporters a landslide victory, and tied it to the upcoming parliamentary elections which he said he sought.

He said the outcome of the Yerevan polls gave him the mandate to push for the dissolution of the current Armenian parliament and to schedule snap general elections.

The premier added that on his return to Yerevan he will meet with representatives of major political forces to discuss time frames for the snap elections.

Meeting with members of the Armenian community in New York later on Sunday, Pashinyan said that they must be held “as soon as possible.” But he mentioned no specific date.

Guests included Nubar Afeyan, second from left, and Hagop Vartivarian, far right

Under the Armenian constitution, parliament can be dissolved only if the prime minister resigns and lawmakers twice fail to choose his or her replacement. Former President Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) holds the largest number of seats in the current legislature.

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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan arrived in New York on a working visit. In the evening of September 23, the head of the government met with representatives of New York, as well as with numerous community organizations and representatives of Armenian organizations.

Pashinyan thanked the assembled for their warm welcome and noted that many have already met in Armenia and expressed hope that they will show that in the homeland today there is a different mood, but the atmosphere.

“The only thing that is possible in Armenia is lawfulness, democracy, independent judiciary and free economic competition,” Pashinyan said. He stressed that “unlike previous years, there are no monopolies in Armenia and there are no people who are above the law.”

The prime minister underlined that today Armenia has great challenges and hopes for the resolution of the issues with the Diaspora as well.

“The pivotal meaning of the revolution is that every citizen of Armenia felt at a certain moment the momentum of his position and felt that this is the way to determine Armenia’s future and future,” he said.

He spoke at length about the country’s economy and the need to reinvigorate it.

“Today, the structure of our economy does not give us any optimism, and we have to change it,” he said. “Today, our most important problem is to attract new investments. For this purpose, we need to have tax code reform, to establish an independent judiciary, to maintain a stable political situation, for which we have to hold snap parliamentary elections in the near future.”

He also stressed that within the context of Armenia-Diaspora relations, it is investments, rather than charities that should be encouraged. “Armenians can support Armenia in just one way: to start economic activity in Armenia, to establish a business and to work.

He also singled out the Tumo Center, which has become one of the most important centers of modern Armenia, for praise. “We hope that new international brands will be created in Armenia, which will change the fate of the state and the Armenian people in a strategic sense.”

As for foreign policy, he said “We are going to develop relations with all international partners, but we are not going to do it at the expense of another partner. We will try to raise the relations with Russia, the EAPC partners, Iran, Georgia, the EU and the United States to a new level.”

Prime Minister Pashinyan, left, meets with United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres

While in New York Pashinyan met with UN Secretary General António Guterres at the UN Headquarters on September 24.

Pashinyan highlighted the close and firm cooperation between Armenia and the UN for the protection and strengthening of values adopted by the UN.

Guterres expressed confidence that effective cooperation with Armenia will further strengthen and develop.

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