Talking Green: PM tells Diaspora environmentalists his government hears their concerns

The Armenian prime minister said during his Monday meeting with Armenian-American environmental activists in the United States that he is “ready to discuss the issues they are concerned about and find solutions that would satisfy them”. Armenia-based environmentalists, however, are not excited by this promise neither are they optimistic about it.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, who is in the US on a working visit, on Monday visited the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, where environmental activists were rallying and shared their concerns with the premier over the exploitation of mines in Armenia.

Seeing the protest, the head of the government approached the activists who were America-based members of Civil Initiative for Teghut Protection. Sargsyan said that the green movement is yielding results in Armenia and that the state structures take into consideration the opinions voiced by the movement.

“We are following your movement with great attention, are aware of your concerns, moreover, we have numerous meetings with its representatives and the government is assisting that movement of yours. I am convinced that this dialogue is beneficial to our people, our state,” he said.

For the past few years various green organizations and activists have been raising serious environmental issues Armenia is challenged with, in particular related to the development of mining industry and the potential damage it might cause nature.

According to data by Healthcare Services Research and Development Center, there are 670 mines in Armenia – 400 among them are functional and 30 are iron ore mines, and 15 tailings dams.

President of Ecolur NGO Inga Zarafyan told ArmeniaNow that they have repeatedly submitted suggestions on these issues to the current premier, the cabinet members in general and even turned to the president of Armenia, but no essential solutions have been found.

“The situation in Armenia today is extremely dangerous, only during the first week of December numerous new mining projects have been submitted that the public is unaware of,” says Zarafyan adding that if anything is to change it can be only be achieved by public pressure.