Armenian gov't revokes diplomatic passports of former presidents' family members
The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revoked more than 250 diplomatic passports.
The family members of former Armenian presidents Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan also made it onto the list of targeted individuals.
During their time in office, their wives and children received diplomatic passports, as did their grandchildren and other relatives.
There are other well-known individuals who have had to return their diplomatic passports: former ministers, MPs, oligarchs and members of their families. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that not all 254 individuals who were called to hand over their passports have responded to the summons:
“As of now, 100 diplomatic passports have been returned.”
Many in Armenia were surprised and disappointed to hear that Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the country’s favourite footballer who plays for Arsenal, had to return his diplomatic passport as well.
Mkhitaryan’s mother, Marina Tashjyan, commented on the affair, stating that the ministry’s decision had upset her son and that he intends to make an appeal.
“This is a question of relations. Henrikh returned the passport once it was demanded of him, but he was very upset. Arsenal is not a club that has many bureaucratic issues, but it does take a long time to push through all the paperwork. This passport helped him avoid all the extra red tape.”
Armenian MP Samvel Farmanyan expressed his disappointment over the matter as well, given that he helped the footballer obtain the passport in the first place:
“This was a small display of technical support from our state to an Armenian who has made Armenia and the Armenian nation better known in a positive way, and continues to do so. He is better able to do what dozens of officials such as myself could do together.”