YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has dismissed the chief of staff of Armenian armed forces Artak Davtyan replacing him with Onik Gasparyan.

Pashinyan has also dismissed director of the National Security Service Eduard Martirosyan and chief of police Arman Sargsyan, replacing them with Argishti Kyaramyan and Vahe Ghazrayan respectively.

Pashinyan said in a Facebook post that his decisions will come into force after they are signed by the president.

Pashinyan thanked the dismissed officials for the work and the efforts they did during their tenures. The reasons for their dismissal were not indicated.

Pashinyan decisions come after media reports that Artak Davtyan celebrated a wedding of his son with dozens of guests despite the state of emergency that bans mass gatherings

Eduard Martirosyan was appointed as head of the National Security Service on March 19 of this year replacing Artur Vanetsyan. According to earlier media reports, Martirosyan tendered his resignation after the appointment of Argishti Kyaramyan as his first deputy.

Arman Sargsyan was appointed as head of the police on March 19 this year. In September 2019, after the resignation of Osipyan, Sargsyan was appointed interim head of the police.

Colonel Vahe Ghazaryan was appointed commander of the police forces, deputy chief of police on May 22, 2019. Prior to that, he held a number of posts in the police.

Artak Davtyan was appointed as head of the General Staff on May 24, 2018. Onik Gasparyan was appointed deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces on July 7, 2016.

Pashinyan commented on the sackings when he chaired in the evening a meeting of senior government officials dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. Sargsyan and Martirosyan were also present at the meeting.

“It’s high-ranking state officials that must first and foremost demonstrate with their actions the importance of following anti-epidemic rules,” said Pashinian. “Unfortunately, we see cases where that does not happen.”

At an ensuing news briefing, Pashinyan effectively confirmed that Davtyan was fired because of hosting on Sunday his son’s wedding party despite the state of emergency. He also seemed to fault the police and NSS chiefs for not preventing the wedding.

“In crisis situations things get to a point where discipline, order and precise and unconditional execution of actions stemming from the country leader’s statements take precedence over all other issues,” he said in that context.

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