Customs Union Prepares ‘Roadmap’ for Armenian Entry

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan (right) and Customs Union chief Viktor Khristenko meet in Yerevan

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and visiting senior officials from the Customs Union met in Yerevan on Wednesday to discuss a “roadmap” for Armenia’s accession to the trade bloc led by Russia.

The two sides reported major progress toward preparing the document in time for next month’s summit of the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

A statement released by the Armenian government said they looked into a long list of changes required for bringing Armenia’s economic laws and regulations into conformity with the union’s requirements. Those relate to trade tariffs, sanitary standards and anti-trust legislation.

Viktor Khristenko, the Russian head of the union’s executive body, the Eurasian Economic Commission, sounded satisfied with the results of the meeting at an ensuing joint news conference with Sargsyan. He said Armenian and Russian experts will hold more discussions on these issues later in the day and on Thursday.

According to Sargsyan, they have already done “a lot of work.” “The consultations that we held today are helping us correctly understand what we need to do and clarify the time frames for carrying out that work,” he said, according to the Armenpress news agency.

“We have a full mutual understanding on all fundamental issues. There are no differences. There are only issues that we need to jointly solve,” added the Armenian premier.

Sargsyan and Khristenko also signed a joint memorandum that will allow Armenian officials to attend meetings of the Eurasian Economic Commission and other Customs Union bodies. Yerevan will also have access to decisions discussed and made by those bodies.

The presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus approved the memorandum at their last meeting held in Minsk in late October. President Serzh Sarkisian also attended that summit.

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