YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — President Serzh Sarkisian dismissed Armenia’s defense minister and top army general and re-appointed Edward Nalbandian as foreign minister on Monday, completing the formation of Prime Minister Karen Karapetian’s cabinet.
Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian was replaced by the chief of the presidential staff, Vigen Sargsian, after more than eight years in office. Nalbandian has also served as minister since 2008.
One of Ohanian’s deputies, Movses Hakobian, was appointed as the new chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, replacing Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, who will now work as secretary of the country’s National Security Council. Hakobian had previously been the commander of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian-backed armed forces.
The ministerial appointments filled the last two vacancies in Armenia’s new cabinet which Karapetian began forming after being formally named prime minister on September 13. The 17 other Armenian ministers were appointed late last month.
Nine of them held ministerial posts in the previous cabinet. Their new colleagues will run the Armenian ministries of finance, economy, energy, agriculture, health, transport and communications, sports and youth affairs, culture as well as defense.
Sargsian, the new defense minister, is a longtime senior aide to President Sarkisian who had also worked as an assistant to former President Robert Kocharian. He has managed the current president’s staff since 2011.
Sargsian, 41, holds a master’s degree from the U.S. Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He taught international relations and public administration at the American University of Armenia form 2001-2011.
The Armenian president also appointed Armen Gevorgian as the new chief of his staff. Gevorgian, 42, is a former top Kocharian aide who served as deputy prime minister from 2008-2014.