The only interest I have is Armenia’s balanced interest, PM says on Amulsar

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Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan is touring the town of Jermuk and meeting locals to discuss the situation around the Amulsar gold mine.

Talking to a local family in an apartment, the PM noted that he believes the biggest problem to be that many people are claiming that regardless of the environmental impact assessment’s outcome the mine shouldn’t be operated.

“This is the biggest difficulty which is hindering the conversation because if you are now saying that 10 or 5 years later consequences will happen regardless of it happening or not. You already have this in mind. The biggest difficulty in this conversation is that there are many people who are saying – doesn’t matter, if it is even determined to be safe, I am against. This is an understandable point of view, but a point of view which creates other difficulties. We have realities, and these realities exist. This reality is that we have a process that began by the Armenian legislation. We have a process by Armenian legislation where the Armenian government has invited or has granted privilege to a company to come here and spend 400,500 or 600 million, and 400 million has already been spent. And a question. If it turns out that this activity is lawful, and that this activity is safe for the environment, if these people have made 400 million dollars investment legally, why aren’t we allowing them to work? This question must be answered,” the PM said.

The local resident argued that during the previous government the situation was such that the people didn’t have a voice, and the PM responded by saying that there is no former or incumbent government for the international community. “There is a Republic of Armenia for the international community”, he said.

The PM reminded a speech that he made last year in Jermuk, when he said that while making a decision on this matter they should take into consideration the balanced interest of Armenia. “There is an environmental interest, economic interest, security interest, political and moral interest. Our decisions must be in a way that servicing one interest doesn’t happen at the expense of the other,” the PM said, adding that the mine will not operate if it is determined that there are no guarantees that the environment won’t get polluted.

He said that during a potential operation of the mine the government has mechanisms of supervision – daily, weekly and monthly monitoring when groundwater, soil, grass and air samples are tested.

 

“I don’t have an economic interest here, I don’t have a corruption interest, the only interest I have is the balanced interest of the Republic of Armenia,” the PM said.

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