YEREVAN —  Armenian Education, Science, Culture and Sports Minister Arayik Harutyunyan, responding to demands for his resignation, said that he has no intention to resign.

“If there are grounds for my resignation, I will not stay in this position even a minute more, and I myself will write a letter of resignation,” Harutyunyan said during a press conference on Wednesday.

“These complaints are related to the major reforms’ package that is being implemented. The concern of some political circles is connected with the fact that as a result of these reforms, we will have a generation that will no longer be their basis, will be critical, analytical. And if the critical, analytical generation analyzes the activities of these circles, it will immediately decide that it will never support these circles on any occasion. Groups fighting under various veils, false values will be deprived of any support in society,” the minister said.

As for his meeting with these protesting groups, Harutyunyan said: “You have seen that I meet with these groups in all the cases when there is an agenda. [But] when groups put extreme points—such as resignation, for example—on their agenda, I find it pointless to discuss it because it is a matter on their agenda, and not a matter on my agenda at all. The matter on my agenda is to reform the [education] sector and bring novelty to the sector.”

“[But] if I feel that we are going in the wrong direction—but we are going in the right direction now, I will resign myself. [But] there is no such matter on my agenda now,” Arayik Harutyunyan added.

The Bright Armenia Party (LHK), one of the two opposition groups represented in the Armenian parliament, added its voice to the calls for Harutiunyan’s resignation last week. It said it will try to push through the National Assembly a motion to ask Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to consider sacking the minister. LHK leaders said Harutiunyan has failed to carry out any major reforms of Armenia’s education system beset by many problems since being appointed as minister in the wake of the 2018 “Velvet Revolution.”

Harutiunyan, who is a senior member of Pashinian’s My Step bloc, rejected the criticism. “I would ask our colleagues not to threaten me with irresponsible statements and resignation demands because I’m not scared of that,” he told a news conference.

“I was and am one of the leaders of a revolutionary team,” he said. “I took on a mission to reform the sector and am now accomplishing that mission.”

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