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Armenia To Open Embassies In Japan, Holland


YEREVAN -- Armenia will soon open embassies in Japan and the Netherlands as it continues to increase its diplomatic presence abroad, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

President Serzh Sarkisian's office made the announcement on September 23 after signing a decree earlier in the day.

He has not named the Armenian ambassadors to be based in the two countries.

The new embassies will raise the number of Armenian diplomatic missions abroad to 31.

Many of the diplomats heading the embassies also serve as ambassadors to countries that don't have permanent Armenian missions.

In one example, Sarkisian assigned on September 23 his Athens-based envoy in Greece, Gagik Ghalachian, to also perform the duties of Armenia's ambassador to Serbia.

The upcoming opening of the Armenian embassies in Tokyo and The Hague reflects a slow but steady expansion of Armenia's diplomatic presence abroad since the early 1990s. Yerevan also opened an embassy in Madrid earlier this year.

It is not clear whether the upcoming launch of the new missions will be fully financed by the Armenian government. The Armenian state budget for this year sets aside only 37 million drams ($102,000) for the purchase of new embassy buildings.

Many of the existing embassy premises were purchased and donated to Armenia by wealthy members of its diaspora.
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