Edik Baghdasaryan
16:55, June 1, 2011

Bekor Papazyan, Executive Director of Armenia's National
Competitiveness Foundation, has tendered his resignation effective
June 15.

A Hetq source within the government says that Mr. Papazyan, rather
than voluntarily leaving the post, is being forced out, a victim of
mining interests at the Tatev Monastery.

Readers will note that Hetq reported that a Chinese firm had obtained
mining rights to the iron mine located in Svarants, in proximity to
the Tatev Monastery in southern Armenia.

It seems that Papazyan and a number of benefactors who had invested in
the "Tatev Rebirth" tourist program were caught off-guard by the news
that mining operations would be starting up so close to the Tatev site.

It seems that no one in government saw fit to inform Papazyan and
the others in advance.

Papazyan issued a public statement arguing that mining and cultural
tourism cannot be conducted at the same place at the same time;
in a word they are mutually exclusive.

This ruffled the feathers of those within the government strongly
pushing for extensive exploitation of Armenia's natural resources.

When Hetq asked Mr. Papazyan whether the Tatev flap had anything to
do with his resignation, he refused to answer.

Just last week the Competitiveness Foundation's Board issued a
statement praising Papazyan for the important contributions he has
made during his tenure as executive director and particularly noting
strides made in the tourism and health sectors.

While we can't say who will assume the helm of the Competitiveness
Foundation, rest assured that the individual appointed will express
his or her full support for the mining operation at Tatev.

From: Baghdasarian