YEREVAN — The Armenian government has pledged to do its part in ensuring peace and stability in the region, raising the security and providing better economic conditions for its citizens as it unveiled its five-year program on Wednesday.
Outlining the action plan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stressed that it was based on the promises that he made to voters in the June 20 snap parliamentary elections in which his Civil Contract party scored a landslide victory as well as on the document called “Armenia Transformation Strategy By 2050” that Pashinian presented last year.
According to Pashinyan, ensuring the security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Armenia, a fair solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, and creating a favorable external environment around Armenia remain priority tasks for his government.
“In order to solve this problem, the government, which received a vote of confidence from the people, intends to take serious measures to mobilize the best potential of society and the nation,” Pashinyan said.
Pashinyan said that large-scale reforms are underway in the armed forces as the army is “the main factor in ensuring the country’s external security.”
The Armenian leader also stressed the importance of carrying out an active foreign policy as another prerequisite for security.
“Armenia should pursue an active, a proactive foreign policy, working with all countries and international organizations,” he said.
At the same time, as an important security factor, Pashinyan singled out Armenia’s strategic alliance with Russia and the country’s membership in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization.
From the point of view of regional stability, Pashinyan also noted the importance of continuing negotiations within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France aimed at determining the final status for Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Armenian leader said that opening regional infrastructures will also be important for his government in the context of creating a stable regional environment in the wake of last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh, which Pashinyan acknowledged has essentially changed Armenia’s external environment.
In this sense, Pashinyan also said that the government program envisages the deployment of border troops instead of army units at some sections of the border and the establishment of a foreign intelligence service in the next five years.
In terms of the economy, Pashinyan said that as part of the 2021-2026 action plan, the minimum monthly salary in Armenia will be raised from the current 68,000 drams ($138) to 85,000 drams ($172).
The minimum monthly salary in Armenia was last raised on January 1, 2020. Before that it was 55,000 drams ($111).
Under the action plan unveiled by Pashinyan, in 2021-2026 the average annual economic growth rate is expected to be at the level of 7 percent. The plan envisages that it could be up to 9 percent a year “in case of favorable external conditions.”
The program envisages that by 2026 the level of poverty in the country will drop below 10 percent, while extreme poverty will be stamped out.
Pashinyan said that Armenia will also continue to develop its infrastructure, including roads. He said the European Union has made a package of 2.6 billion Euros (about $3 billion) available to Armenia in the next four years for that purpose. These projects, Pashinyan said, will include the construction of a 60-kilometer-long road connecting the towns of Sisian and Kajaran in Armenia’s southern Syunik province, the construction of reservoirs and other infrastructure and education projects.
Pashinyan said that 300 schools and 500 kindergartens will be built or renovated in Armenia in the next five years. He said that the government’s goal is also to equip all 1,400 schools across Armenia with natural science labs.
Pashinyan also mentioned that every third and subsequent child in all families regardless of their social status will receive 50,000 drams (about $100) a month until the age of six.
Under Armenia’s constitution, the government’s action plan is to be submitted to the National Assembly for endorsement within 20 days after the formation of the government. It is due to be debated in parliament next week.