YEREVAN—Armenia will become a full-fledged member of the Eurasian Economic Union very soon, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday at a Russian diplomats’ assembly, Arka news agency reports.
He said that progress has also been made in negotiations with Kyrgyzstan. “We are open also for other CIS countries,” Novosti-Armenia quoted Putin as saying.
“Propelling the Eurasian integration project, we absolutely don’t distance ourselves from the rest of the world. We are willing to discuss prospects for creation of free trade zones either with separate countries or with regional alliances, first of all with the European Union.”
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, speaking at the Russian-led union’s most recent summit held in Astana on May 29, asked the three member states to ensure that the treaty is signed by June 15. They promised only that the text will be drafted by July 1.
The Eurasian Economic Union treaty signed by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will enter into force on January 1, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed at the May 29 summit that the treaty on Armenia’s accession to the union should be signed in the near future.
According to Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian, the Eurasian Economic Commission has met a July 1 deadline that was set by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan at their May 29 summit in Astana, RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) reports.
The executive body of the EEU has drafted an accession treaty with Armenia and sent it to the Russian-led bloc’s three member states for approval, Kocharian said on Tuesday.
“Yesterday the Eurasian Economic Commission sent the already prepared draft agreement to the parties,” he told reporters. “In that sense, everything is going according to plan.”
Kocharian could not say just when the treaty will be signed, arguing that the text needs to be examined and approved by the three member states as well as Armenia. “We hope that [the approval process] won’t take very long,” he said.
Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian admitted last week that the accession process is taking longer than was expected by Yerevan. Abrahamian refused to be drawn on possible dates for its completion. “Things will be clear after the July 3 meeting,” he said without elaborating.
Kocharian denied many observers’ belief that Belarus and especially Kazakhstan are not eager to admit Armenia into their alliance with Russia.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev reinforced that belief when he stated at the Astana summit that the treaty in question must make clear that Armenia is joining the EEU with its internationally recognized borders that do not encompass Nagorno-Karabakh. Nazarbayev said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev demanded this in letters sent to his Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts.
It is not yet clear whether the draft treaty contains such a reference.