Domestic visits

Nikol Pashinyan visits Syunik and Vayots Dzor

05.07.2018 - 06.07.2018

more 99 photos

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has arrived in Syunik Marz on a working visit. During the first half of the day, the head of government met with the residents of Sisian and Goris towns, as well as with Syunik Marz community leaders. After taking note of Marz residents’ problems and concerns, the Premier answered their questions.

Expressing gratitude for the warm welcome Nikol Pashinyan noted that he felt guilty that Syunik was not included in his route during the march, but it has its own objective bases.

“The purpose of our visit is to state that our victory belongs to each of you. Our task is to foster the sense of victory not for a month or a year, but forever,” Nikol Pashinyan said. The Prime Minister congratulated those present on the occasion of Constitution Day, noting that the power in Armenia belongs to the people.

“The Constitution states that the power belongs to the people of the Republic of Armenia, I congratulate all of you on this occasion. We have grown out of the times of local princes; now the citizens of Armenia are free and proud. They are the only ones to bear responsibility for the country. This is our main message,” Nikol Pashinyan stated.

According to him, the change of current Armenia is that all officials serve the people and the people are the master. “Goris belongs to its residents, while all other officials should serve the people of Goris. The Republic of Armenia is owned by the citizen of the Republic of Armenia, all officials are serving the people. This is just the change that has taken place. This is your victory; do not let it slip out of your hands. Never let a government be established in Armenia that serves clans, robbery and corruption,” the Prime Minister emphasized.

Nikol Pashinyan underscored that the executive power should refrain from exerting pressure on courts in order to have a fair judicial system in Armenia. “I understand that there is no confidence in courts’ rulings, but we have to do everything to build up people’s confidence. Judges, who are bribed by some illegal means, will be exposed and removed from the judiciary, but the executive should not impose pressure on the courts,” the Premier said.

The head of government assured that no one will henceforth enjoy immunity in Armenia, and any offender will be held responsible for the offense or crime committed. The Prime Minister expressed hope that the people will support him and the government in this matter.

“I expect our people to support me and stand firm by my government so that we could do away with the “bespredel” (lawlessness) in Armenia. There is a principle in criminal proceedings: citizens need not prove their innocence, the prosecutor's office, the law enforcement agencies have to prove a person’s guilt. I cannot say that a person is a criminal - I am neither an investigator nor a prosecutor. I am just stating that there are no immune people in Armenia, including me,” Nikol Pashinyan underscored.

The Prime Minister assured that he does not depend on anybody except the people. “The statehood and rule of law building process will continue in Armenia as long as you stand by my government and me. As soon as I see that I do not have your support, I will not stay in the Prime Minister’s office for even a minute. My mission is to serve you, your task is to make my service as effective as possible,” the Prime Minister concluded.

With reference to those issues raised by the citizens, the Prime Minister said he would take note of them; they would be investigated and addressed, should there be any violation of citizens’ rights.

Talking about the enlargement of the communities, Nikol Pashinyan noted that the process of enlargement of the communities is really controversial, but he does not feel it right to “revoke all the preceding decisions without due consideration.”

“In essence, we have a situation that many communities have been enlarged. We have to pause for a moment and see what results have been achieved in enlarged communities, if any. Our government is committed not to push ahead with the process of enlargement without the consent of communities themselves,” the Head of Government assured, adding that nine months is not enough to take care of the issue; one or two years are needed in this respect. According to him, there may also be communities that would like to become larger and in that case the State should comply with their will.

Nikol Pashinyan called on the residents of Sisian and Goris to come and invest in their native cities, stressing that did not mean charity and assistance and assuring that he personally stood as a guarantee that investments shall be protected. “We are endeavoring to minimize interest on mortgage loans so that social housing programs could be implemented in the provinces,” the Prime Minister said.

At the meeting with the community leaders, Nikol Pashinyan noted that the government is set to do constructive work with the communities.

“I know that there are uncertainties regarding the future of community leaders during these changes. Let me say that we are engaged in constructive dialogue, ready to mobilize our forces and bring about real changes. The process can be felt already, and we have set ourselves the task of making those changes nationwide,” Nikol Pashinyan noted.

Nikol Pashinyan said there are facts of non-existent workers registered with employers, which is a very negative phenomenon. He urged them to be abolished very quickly before law enforcement agencies would have to intervene.

“I do not think that the problem of efficiency should be solved only through law enforcement agencies. Every day each of us should think about the efficient use of public funds. After being elected Prime Minister, I met with businessmen and officially announced that they were henceforth exempt of their corrupt commitments. Today, I can tell you that either you are free from corruption. You should not leave everything to law enforcement officers, let us fix the problem and see our activities with different eyes. We do not have other options: people should feel the changes very quickly,” Nikol Pashinyan emphasized. The Premier stressed that the government will collaborate with those who serve this purpose; the government is ready to work with them, support them and mobilize the existing potential around the common cause.

Talking about subsidies, the Prime Minister noted that there were no means for this purpose in 2018 and added that a decision was made to allocate about 10 billion drams from the funds recovered while exposing the high-profile instances of corruption. The funds so earmarked will go to cover the government’s 60% co-financing of community development programs.

Various issues related to the problems faced by individual communities and possible solutions were discussed during the meeting.

Prime Minister’s visit to Syunik Marz continues.

* * *

As part of his visit to Syunik Marz of Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called at the Free Economic Zone of Meghri. The Prime Minister toured the site to get acquainted with the infrastructures and the planned works.

It was noted that the minimal necessary infrastructures and preconditions for the launch of the FEZ were created at the first stage. Several foreign companies were said to have already applied for the Zone. It was also noted that the FEZ needs expanding and relevant discussions are underway to that effect. It is expected that given its geo-location, commercial and logistical capabilities, the free economic zone on the border with Iran can become a bridge between Iran, EAEU and EU countries.

Nikol Pashinyan next visited the Meghri customs checkpoint in Syunik regional customs office. The responsible officers briefed the Premier on the ongoing activities and services. The customs office was said operating round-the-clock, with the passage of citizens and businesses arranged within a short period of time.

The Prime Minister noticed several problems on the spot and ordered those responsible to address them within a short timeframe. Nikol Pashinyan talked to the citizens awaiting clearance of goods at the customs house. They expressed satisfaction with the quality of services and noted that the clearance time had been reduced considerably.

Nikol Pashinyan instructed the local authorities to squeeze the timeframes required for passenger and cargo transportations, and improve the quality of services.

The Prime Minister next visited the medical center in Meghri to get acquainted with the conditions and services provided there.

* * *

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan continues his meetings with the residents of Syunik Marz. In the second half of the day, the Head of Government met with residents of Meghri, Kajaran and Kapan.

The Prime Minister noted that his trip to the region had two primary goals: emotional and practical. “First of all, we want to see what kind of mood you have after the revolution, what your vision of the future is, and whether you feel victorious and strong. That emotion means love for homeland, and that emotion will never go away. Today, there is a feeling of reciprocated affection between our citizens and us; I will never stop loving our people. Our power is based exclusively on your trust: there is no other factor that has helped us to record the victory. Our sole political ally is the citizen and the people of Armenia, and we know that they will continue to be our allies as long as they see that we are serving the nation,” Nikol Pashinyan said, adding that no one should doubt that he until the end of his life he will serve Armenian citizens.

Nikol Pashinyan underscored that he does not feel any dependence as prime minister; his only dependence comes from the people, his only wish is to make people feel victorious. “You are the proprietor of political changes in Armenia, and I urge you to hold on to that victory and never miss it. You must always be the supreme power, the government should recognize you as a leader, but you too can help the government to be as efficacious as possible. I have come to collect energy and continue with the mission delegated on your part,” the Premier said.

Coming to the practical goal of his visit, the Prime Minister said that the visit has already resulted in concrete decisions, capital investments, road construction, construction of irrigation systems and other destinations will be implemented through subsidies in communities.

“We have agreed that communities should submit their own programs, and people should see practical changes at their own pace at this stage. People should see changes in their courtyard, family and in their living standards,” Nikol Pashinyan emphasized.

Touching upon the mining sector problems, the Premier noted that after collecting sufficient facts about the state of affairs in this area, appropriate decisions will be made. In particular, one of the inhabitants of Meghri informed that they stopped the protests against the exploitation of Litchq mine, following the Prime Minister’s call and hoped that a fair solution would be given to the issue.

Nikol Pashinyan underscored that the earth’s crust is being destroyed in Armenia, exported and considered to be economic growth, depending on copper prices. “I think this is a problem, but I do not think we should close the mining industry. I have instructed that all metal mines be tested, checked against the applicable environmental standards. Please let us collect the necessary information that will allow us to make a decision. I have no right as prime minister to decide that the mines should be closed. I am aware of the problems, in order to make a decision we have to collect undeniable facts, based on which a decision will be made,’ the Head of Government pointed out. Nikol Pashinyan stressed that he has no corruption obligation in connection with any mine, his sole commitment is before the people.

Speaking about the fight against corruption, Nikol Pashinyan stressed that the government will consistently go after each dram stolen from the people. “All those who have committed a theft should be arrested. It would be a disgrace for me to have a political prisoner during my term, values are what matter most for us; we are not going to substitute someone else’s theft with our own robbery, or monopoly. I have a personal commitment assumed for each of you: we will consistently recover what has been robbed, irrespective of the name and surname of the robber,” the Prime Minister said.

In response to local residents’ questions, the Prime Minister touched upon the construction of the North-South Highway. They wanted to know how logical it was to start the construction from the Yerevan-Artashat section, and not Meghri-Kajaran.

“For us, too, it is a matter of mystery: why did the road construction start from Yerevan-Artashat? I am going to hold a consultation on the North-South issue. Frankly speaking, there are many shortcomings associated with this highway construction. I have also instructed law enforcement agencies to investigate and find out if there were any abuses during the construction. The time of arbitrariness is over in Armenia; today no one should think that he can commit a crime and go unpunished,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

Summing up his Syunik Marz visit, the Prime Minister noted that it was successful and effective. “Never allow anyone to rule over you; from now on you are the highest power in the country, so keep the victory firm in your hands. Together, we must develop and landscape every square meter in Armenia,” Nikol Pashinyan concluded.

* * *

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is in Syunik Marz, visited the Zangezur Copper and Molybdenum Combine. The Head of Government toured the mining enterprise. The managers of the enterprise presented the plant’s current status, performance indicators and development programs. It was reported that thanks to the new investment program of USD 20 million, cutting-edge equipment was introduced that will allow the company to process low-content raw materials.

Nikol Pashinyan next visited Syunik Food Factory. The company executives noted that a recent arrangement as signed with new investors helped them tackle the financial bottlenecks, and the plant will soon launch a large-scale production of canned fruit and vegetables. 300 new jobs will be created; part of the output will be exported.

Welcoming the ongoing activities aimed at expanding the production and providing new jobs, Nikol Pashinyan stressed that the government guarantees the security of every investment project implemented in the framework of the applicable law.

As part of his regional tour, the Premier visited N army unit of the Defense Ministry, talked to servicemen and officers in a bid to get acquainted with their service and living conditions.

* * *

On July 6, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan left Kapan for Jermuk. Onboard of an helicopter together with Levon Galstyan, a representative of the Armenian Environmental Front, and Lydian Armenia CEO Hayk Aloyan, the Prime Minister followed the ongoing Amoulsar mine development activities, after which he met with local residents and environmentalists protesting against the exploitation of Amoulsar mine in Kechut.

Nikol Pashinyan said his visit had a fact-finding purpose. During the meeting, the Head of Government suggested holding a meeting with the protesters and Lydian Armenia representatives in order to take note of each other’s positions and come to a decision. The Premier’s proposal was accepted unanimously. Then the meeting continued in Jermuk. Prime Minister Pashinyan noted that the mine exploitation process started 12 years ago, if it had been initiated under the current government, he would have declined the idea of commissioning a mine like that near Jermuk.

“We have a situation when a huge amount of investment has already been made de jure with the permission of the Armenian government; at this point at least, we do not have information about any breach of environmental standards. Checks are underway and will continue in connection with the exploitation of this mine. We must answer two questions: firstly, we must determine the potential impact on water resources and, secondly, find out the impact on the development of Jermuk as a resort town,” the Prime Minister said.

Nikol Pashinyan reminded that from the very beginning he used to say that all mine-related decisions should be based solely on facts, and not on emotions, since emotional decisions in the system of public administration are not so useful. Any solution will lead to its own developments.

“If we allow any illegality in this situation, at least from the point of view of international relations, we can face serious problems. We must understand the following: can we accept experts’ answers on the above issues? Decisions should be based on facts. I hope that the attendees are convinced that we all, including me, do not have any other interest in this matter except Armenia’s balanced interests,” Nikol Pashinyan emphasized.

The Prime Minister suggested establishing a trustworthy trilateral mechanism with the involvement of government officials, environmentalists and Lydian Armenia representatives to look into the aforementioned issues in order to have a final and irrevocable response.

Nikol Pashinyan stressed that his opinion will be based on expertise, justified and proven answers to these two questions. Each decision has its cost; no decision shall be made without a basis.

In this connection, the protesters said they were ready to develop such a mechanism in case Lydian Armenia suspends its activities during the survey. For their part, the representatives of Lydian Armenia said the Prime Minister’s proposal was acceptable to them, but they opposed to the idea of suspending their activities during the checks.

Prime Minister Pashinyan concluded that after collecting all the relevant facts, the government will state its position on the matter hand.

On the way back to Yerevan, the Prime Minister called at Gndevaz to talk with village residents who had gathered on the road to meet him.

* * *

Today, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with the leaders of local communities in Vayots Dzor Marz Administration.

To begin with, the Prime Minister noted that there used to be some elements of enjoyment in the exercise of public functions, but the public position should be perceived as a service. “That should start with me, and I am doing so. The State service should obviously be deemed as a true service, not a privilege,” the Head of Government underscored.

The Prime Minister informed that based on the proposals of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Development, it had been decided to allocate 10 billion drams to communities as a subvention. Nikol Pashinyan urged to submit relevant programs, preferably in the fields of infrastructure development, drinking water, irrigation systems, farm machinery and road construction.

“We hope to spend the money so that a chain reaction is triggered and the economy is set in motion in the regions,” the Prime Minister said, stressing that special attention should be paid to the quality of construction. At the same time, the Premier noted that monopolies should be ruled out in Armenia, including the export of large and small cattle. The government will provide incentives for animal husbandry so that farmers get export profits.

“There has been a change of overall atmosphere in Armenia, and people should see the change in their communities starting with the community leader's activities. We must rule out abuses. Any such case will be investigated and processed. Today, no one is supposed to have any obligations before anyone. We shall work and collaborate with those community leaders who are prepared to work within the bounds of these rules and have the support of their community,” Nikol Pashinyan pointed out.

Then the Prime Minister met with the residents of Yeghegnadzor and Areni communities. Nikol Pashinyan noted that the purpose of his visits to provinces is to make sure that every citizen feels victorious and believes to be the co-author of changes in Armenia.

“This is very important for us. We want you to be sure that the time of illegality, arbitrariness, corruption and looting is over in Armenia. We must build a new country, a new Armenia, where a supreme value is the citizen who feels proud, victorious and dignified,” Nikol Pashinyan said and went on to assure that with the people’s support the government will gradually rebuild the country, square meter per square meter.

“The people have triumphed in the Republic of Armenia, and nobody can even dare to try to usurp your victory. Those who may try to do that will receive a worthy rebuff on the part of the government and the people of Armenia. My dear people, I love you all, I bow down before you and kiss you all, I am proud of you all, and I want you to be confident that the final victory has no alternative,” Nikol Pashinyan concluded.

← Back to list