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BREAKING: President rejects PM’s request to sack army chief

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President Armen Sarkissian refused to approve Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s motion on dismissing the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Onik Gasparyan. The President returned the motion with objections, his office said.

The motion was received on February 25.  Since then, the president held consultations and meetings with government officials, parliamentary and non-parliamentary forces and the high command staff of the military, his office said.

The motion, officially a draft decree, was studied by independent experts and leading lawyers.

“Summing up the viewpoints of lawyers and experts, it can be concluded that the draft decree is explicitly contradicting the constitution,” the president’s office said.

“We are once again stressing that the President doesn’t endorse any political force and is making decisions exclusively guided by pan-national and state interests. Undisputedly, the armed forces must maintain neutrality in political matters. It is also obvious that due to the war, today more than ever the staff of the armed forces need the support and attention of us all.”

“The created situation is unprecedented and requires systemic and comprehensive solutions and cannot be resolved through frequent cadre changes without taking into account the existing state in the country,” Sarkissian’s Office said, reminding that the prime minister filed the motion to sack the Chief of the General Staff after the General Staff’s statement, in times of martial law and in conditions of security challenges and a political crisis.

“Within his constitutional powers, the president has returned the draft decree with objections,” his office said, adding that the president seeks to keep the country safe from dangers threatening the constitutional order and security, and to ensure stability and the normal operations of the military.

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