The President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, on Monday (3 October) visited the Ministry of Defence building in Yerevan and presented to the officers of the Armed Forces General Staff the new Minister of Defence and the new Chief of Staff. Earlier in the day the President appointed Vigen Sargsyan as Minister of Defence and Movses Hakboyan as Chief of Staff.
Vigen Sargsyan is the first Defence Minister of Armenia who does not have direct experience of fighting in the Karabakh war of the 1990s The President felt it necessary to explain to the officers that the defence minister had to take responsibility for what he termed "military diplomacy", and was also responsible for large defence procurement. The fact that the President felt the need to do this may indicate that some officers did not like the idea of a civilian heading the Ministry of Defence, which in Armenia is the most important Ministry in the government.
Following the short war with Azerbaijan in April the leadership of the Armenian miliatry, as well as the country's political leadership. came under criticism from public opinion, and some commentators accused the military of under-performing.
photo: President Sargsyan of Armenia presenting the new Minister of Defence and Chief of Staff to the Armed Forces General Staff at a meeting in Yerevan on 3 October 2016 (picture courtesy of the press Office of the president of Armenia
"As expected the declaration from the 5th Eastern Partnership summit did not change in any significant way the approach of the EU to the eastern neighbourhood. However the declaration has something for everybody, and there are interesting nuances in the text that can form the basis in the future for the next steps in the EU's engagement with the region", commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment.
Getting the Eastern Neighbourhood right is a key necessity for the future security and prosperity of Europe. The Brussels summit offers an opportunity for important steps on this matter in the right direction – not as an end in themselves but rather as a part of a longer term and more ambitious vision.