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Armenian Politician Slams Minister For Rosy Economic Prediction

Trade and Economic Development Minister Nerses Yeritsian says the economy is looking up.
YEREVAN -- The leader of the second-largest party in Armenia's ruling coalition has lambasted a government minister who recently said the economic crisis in the country is over, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Gagik Tsarukian, a wealthy businessman who is the head of the Prosperous Armenia party, criticized Trade and Economic Development Minister Nerses Yeritsian on March 15 for saying last month that Armenia's 2.4 percent growth in January signified that the economic downturn in the country is over.

Yeritsian “is not in the right position and he has no knowledge of the economy and the country's economic situation," Tsarukian said. "Nobody in the world [except for Yeritsian] is saying today that the economic crisis has ended; [what many are saying is] it's possible that there will be a second phase of the economic crisis."

Yeritsian issued a statement advising Tsarukian to focus on the work of his own party's ministers. He said only the president and the prime minister are empowered to pass judgment on his work.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian added today that there are shortcomings in the work of most ministries. But he said Tsarukian should not undermine government unity or violate ethics rules.

Armenia's economy contracted by 14.4 percent in 2009, according to official statistics.