PM highlights the need for drastic reforms in national security service and police systems
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today received newly appointed National Security Service Director Eduard Martirossian and Chief of Police Arman Sargsyan, who saw their nomination approved by the President of Armenia on March 19.
Addressing the officials, the Prime Minister said:
“Mr. Sargsyan, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment to the post of Chief of Police of the Republic of Armenia and Mr. Martirossian on his appointment to the post of National Security Service Director.
In Armenia, there is such a tradition: as a rule, newly appointed leaders are first introduced to their staff. But today, I decided to change the format a little for two reasons: firstly, I already introduced you as chief of police and national security service respectively the day I appointed you acting heads of the aforementioned departments and I affirmed that day that you are the most likely candidates for these positions, and there are no surprises in your appointment. And second, in a state of emergency and the spread of the coronavirus, I didn't want to take action that would be out of common logic. And taking this opportunity, I would like to point out that a large number of police and National Security Service agents are participating in the fight against the coronavirus, which strongly supports the Ministry of Health.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our police officers involved, the personnel of the National Security Service and, of course, our health workers, all those who support this process.
However, I think your appointment is a good opportunity for us to summarize the work of the past month. Of course, we are all aware of the circumstances and conditions under which the personnel changes within the National Security Service and the police took place. Of course, we are aware of all the problems that existed 6 months ago within the police and national security services, and the key question to which we must answer is the following: have we been able to make a breakthrough in the functioning of two systems in those 6 months?
We must make it clear that we have not been able to make major changes, but we have done something else. In fact, we have exposed a very wide range of problems that prevent us today from having the police and national security services we dreamed of. And we must say that there is an essential factor in your renaming.
I can see that you are not trying to hide the problems faced nowadays. And it gives confidence that you will be consistent in solving these problems. In fact, we have inventoried a fairly wide range of problems and recorded that there is simply no other solution than to solve these problems.
It is obvious that the police and the SSN have a very large army of professionals, but it is also clear that we need serious reform and change in both systems.
And I want to say that we have a clear agreement that we must not back down and that no one should hope that we will be content with the current situation. The alternative simply does not exist and we need the two services which are at the heart of the rule of law and security in the country to meet all the modern requirements of security law and public interest of our country.
I would like to highlight one more thing that played an important role in your appointment. I think we now have a very good and high level of cooperation between the National Security Service and the Police, and that is important.
It is important that there is no unhealthy competition between the Police and the SSN. It is important, of course, that the police and the SSN also exercise complementary functions. Especially under your leadership, I was convinced that you do not personally have the tendency observed in the organs of public administration to hide the problems of the systems. Sometimes even negative phenomena, such impulses distort the image of the global system, but I think that in this era of reform, such practices cannot be effective.
We must do everything to make the public administration system and the image of the system in general trustworthy not through the use of technology, but in a natural way. This trust must be sincere and I want to thank you for your understanding.
You have not only saved the recommendation, but I have seen and felt that you are sincerely accomplishing it, trying to attenuate nothing, attenuate all negativity, hide anything, seek and find any phenomenon yourself. And it really gives us hope that cooperation, our work, our common agenda can work effectively.
Mr. Martirosyan, Mr. Sargsyan, I congratulate you once again on your appointment and wish you every success in the service of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people. Please, if you have something to say.”
National Security Service Director Eduard Martirossian - Honorable Prime Minister, thank you for your confidence. Service in the national security organs, service to the Armenian people is a great honor for me. I want to assure you that I will do everything to ensure the security of our country - the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh.
I will ensure the safety of our compatriots living in the Diaspora. I will do everything to help our economy grow sustainably. The problems within the National Security Service do exist, as well as in other public bodies, and of course these problems will be solved. I will be consistent in carrying out these tasks. Again, I want to assure you that I will do everything to keep our country safe. Thank you, Prime Minister, for your confidence.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Thank you. Please, Mr. Sargsyan.
Chief of Police Arman Sargsyan - Dear Mr. Prime Minister, First of all, I would like to assure you, on behalf of the majority of the police, that we need reform. And as a recommendation, everyone agreed that we have to move forward in accordance with the spirit of the times.
For the public security of Armenia and the priority of the fight against crime, we must also consider our self-cleaning process, which we do not out of embarrassment but out of honor. And this is due to the majority of quality that I mentioned, it does not cause shocks in the system, but it becomes a strengthening process.
I also want to assure you that everyone has the same will and desire to see the Dream Police as you mentioned. It is also a great honor for me and I will try in these difficult times, where, among other things, there was also a need for reform, to complete the process of ensuring public order in accordance with these reforms so that after leaving office I leave a positive mark on our system.
I think it is a great honor and I am consciously approaching that. Thank you for your attention during this time with the police and the police in general. And as you said, Prime Minister, I also attach importance to this cooperation between our structures.
We can say with confidence that there has not yet been such an atmosphere of collaboration. This will tend to deepen and with the work we will try to prove. Thank you for your trust.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Well. I would like to address another circumstance: In fact, Mr. Martirosyan, you, and Mr. Sargsyan, you, throughout your professional life, have worked in the agencies concerned, national security and the police. In other words, after having obtained a university degree, you practically did not work in another institution.
I emphasize in particular the following logic: Listen, there have been huge political changes in Armenia, and before and during these changes, it felt like there was an opposition line that I represented between the police and the National Security Service. And to this day, there is this debate, this criticism, and this criticism is addressed first to me, why no change has been made to allow the police and the national security service to appoint people to this side of the political line, so to speak.
Now I would like to emphasize that for me, in all respects, it is very important that the creation of state institutions in Armenia be maximally sheltered from political upheavals. I know these criticisms will continue to be addressed to me, but I see above all my function of helping the police, the national security service and other state agencies to establish themselves primarily as state institutions which operate mainly for the security of the State and our people, for national security and do not depend on any political opportunity.
I am glad that we have finally been able to follow this path, but that implies a very serious responsibility, in which case we already share this responsibility with three. This involves serious responsibilities and we must be able to prove that it is the right way, because it is very important to maintain the stability of these institutions, it is also very important that these institutions are reformed and comply with the relevant requirements, namely the content requirements.
It is very important that we have a strategic change plan in the institutions so that every day, every year, the police and the national security service develop organizations, develop institutions, but we can bring these institutions to a stage of development. which is staff-based, state-minded and out of any awareness of the interests of the group, of course, which will be completely free from corruption, and the presence of dedicated people will increase and eventually become a critical mass.
Why do I say that the number of dedicated people is increasing? Because you know, today, I don't think there is a law, law enforcement or governmental structure in the world, where devotees work 100%. Unfortunately, there is no such system in any country in the world, it cannot be theoretical.
Today it is important to know who creates the tone throughout the system, who creates the mood, and I think that institutions where tone and mood are created by people of public opinion, dedicated people, can be considered successful.
In that regard, I believe and I know that we have great potential in both the police and the national security service, but today we also have problems. The biggest of those problems is, or to be more precise, the problem is that for the younger generation, the police and national security service will be more attractive and honorable.
People should aspire to serve in the police and the national security service, and serve there should be considered a very, very serious achievement. Of course, today too, because the standards are very high, but unfortunately, the appeal is not great, and here, of course, we have to do both at the government level, at the agency level, at the level of legislation and at the level of the public atmosphere. So these are the problems that we have to solve, and I am sure we will.