Artur Vanetsyan speaks to journalists in Yerevan on August 27, 2019

Armenian National Security Chief Fired

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has dismissed the director of the National Security Service.

Pashinian told a news conference on September 16 he had signed a motion for Artur Vanetsyan’s removal from office, adding that the decision was based on “bilateral consent.”

President Armen Sarkissian later in the day signed a decree relieving Vanetsyan from his post.

In a statement, Vanetsyan claimed he had resigned and criticized Pashinyan’s working methods.

When asked during his press conference whether he was dissatisfied with Vanetsyan’s work, Pashinyan answered, “The work of the head of the National Security Service is not something that can be discussed publicly.”

Pashinyan also said he expected Vanetsyan, who remains head of the Armenian soccer federation, to “focus on the task of helping Armenia’s national soccer team to qualify for the European Championship finals.”

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Vanetsyan, a career security officer, was appointed National Security Service director in May 2018, shortly after Pashinyan came to power following peaceful protests that he spearheaded.

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