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Armenia: President Names New Premier

Yerevan, 5 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan has appointed a new prime minister following the resignation yesterday of Grant Bagratian.

The presidential press service said Ter-Petrosyan signed a decree naming Armen Sarkisyan, currently Armenia's ambassador to Britain, to replace Bagratian. Sarkisyan, who will be Ter-Petrosyan's fifth prime minister in five years, also serves as Armenia' s ambassador at large in Europe.

Bagratian told reporters yesterday in Yerevan that he was leaving the post "as a happy man" and that he would remain in the Armenian capital to work on a book. He gave no reason why he told a cabinet meeting today that he was quitting his post. He said it concerned himself and the Armenian president.

Early last month, the chairman of Armenia's ruling Pan-Armenian National Movement, Reverend Housig Lazarian, called on Bargratian to resign, blaming him for the country's economic woes.

Ter-Petrosyan had promised major policy reform as well as a government reshuffle after winning re-election in a September.