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 (Who’s Minding Armenia’s Natural Resources?).
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 (Who Can Save Tatev From Greedy Mining Interests?).
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 (“Tatev Rebirth” in Peril).
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.