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Armenia: Prime Minister Offers Resignation

By Gnel Nalbandian

Yerevan, 7 March 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Armenian Prime Minister Armen Sarkisian, who is recovering from a respiratory operation in London, told journalists today that he offered his resignation yesterday to President Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Our correspondent in Yerevan says Sarkisian used a telephone from his London hospital to announce his decision to a group of journalists in Yerevan.

The Prime Minister says it imposible to continue work at his post considering his respiratory illness. He said Ter-Petrosian urged him to stay on. But Sarkisian says he needs all of his physical energy to recover and it is now impossible for him to do any work.

The 44-year-old Armenian prime minister was appointed last November. He underwent surgery on his trachea in London one month ago and has remained in hospital since then for medical treatment.

Our correspondent in Yerevan says Sarkisian was barely able to speak to journalists today. He was able to answer questions for about 15 minutes, but had to ask for water from his nurses at several points in order to continue.

Presidential spokesman Levon Zourabian says Armenian law is not very clear about when the resignation will take effect.