16 Sep 2019 18:19

Armenian security chief dismissed

YEREVAN. Sept 16 (Interfax) - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has dismissed the director of the National Security Service (NSS), Artur Vanetsyan.

"I have signed a petition for the removal from office of the director of the NSS. A relevant decree will be signed [by the president of Armenia] in one or two days. This happened as a result of a series of discussions with the NSS director and upon mutual consent," Pashinyan said at a press conference on Monday.

Future work options have been discussed with Vanetsyan, he said.

"I think Mr. Vanetsyan will now concentrate on leading our national team into the European soccer championship's final," Pashinyan

Meanwhile, Vanetsyan released a statement, through the NSS press service, explaining reasons for his resignation.

"I have decided to submit a letter of resignation. In the current situation and in the context of future developments, I consider such a decision to be the most preferable and most substantiated way of serving Armenia and my people. I also made this decision confidently, just as I did at the fateful moment for our country, when I agreed to take up the position of NSS Director. Over the past year and a half, I have worked openly, and every one of my steps was based on the sole principle of Motherland and an officer's honor being above all," the statement reads.

The resignation should send a signal to Armenian leaders to stop making chaotic and erratic decisions, he said.

"The erratic nature of decision-making, the chaos of activity, the inability to tell priorities from what is secondary is not the path that leads to goal attainment. This has nothing in common with an officer's dignity. An officer's epaulettes are incompatible with such a process of developments. Let my resignation be a sobering 'stop' signal and let the duty to the Motherland win in everything else. Peace and safety to our country," Vanetsyan said.

The 40-year-old was appointed NSS director in May 2018 after a government change in Armenia. Previously he served as a security chief in one of Yerevan's districts.

On September 22, 2018, Vanetsyan was elected as president of the national soccer federation.

In May 2019, he was commissioned the rank of Major General.

Late last year, an audio recording of a taped conversation between Vanetsyan, Pashinyan and Sasun Khachatryan, the head of the special investigative service, discussing the arrest of Yury Khachatryan, then secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and of the country's ex-president Robert Kocharyan, was published on YouTube.

Later at a press conference in Yerevan, both Vanetsyan and Khachatryan confirmed the conversation's authenticity. A criminal inquiry was launched into eavesdropping.