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Armenia: President To Open Talks On New Government

Yerevan, 3 May 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Armenian President Robert Kocharian says he intends to open talks with parliamentary forces on forming a new government. Kocharian yesterday dismissed Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian and his government. The president cited what he called the "political games" of some ministers that had hindered solving the country's economic and social problems.

Sarkisian had been in office only six months. He became prime minister after his predecessor and brother Vazgen Sarkisian and seven others were killed by gunmen in parliament last October.

Though the entire government must automatically resign after the dismissal of the prime minister, Kocharian signed a separate order immediately dismissing Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian. Kocharian said Harutiunian's activities had threatened to damage the armed forces. He gave no details.