YEREVAN—“The impression that Armenia is not welcome to the [Eurasian Economic] Union is wrong,” Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to Armenia Ayimdoz Bozzhigitov told reporters Wednesday on the sidelines of a conference on nuclear security, reports Public Radio of Armenia (ArmRadio.am).
The Ambassador told reporters at the conference, “Kazakhstan has no requirement or complaint regarding Armenia. Kazakhstan has signed the roadmap of Armenia’s accession. There is no disagreement, resistance, or delay.”
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev stoked speculation about his opposition to Yerevan’s membership bid with his public remarks made at a Customs Union summit in Astana last May, according to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). Citing a letter from his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, Nazarbayev said the Eurasian Economic Union’s accession treaty with Armenia must contain a special reference to Armenia’s internationally recognized borders that do not encompass Nagorno-Karabakh.
Bozjigitov downplayed that demand, which is widely regarded in Armenia as embarrassing for Sarkisian, RFE/RL reports. “The summit took place in Astana, and it was obviously coordinated by the president of Kazakhstan,” he said. “That is why he received the letter [from Aliyev.] I don’t know if Serzh Sarkisian was aware of that letter [beforehand,] but letters can be sent by different heads of state.”
The Armenian government has also made clear that it will not set up checkpoints on Armenia’s border with Karabakh to start levying duties from goods imported from there. It hopes that the accession treaty with the EEU will be signed in October.
The Customs Union covers an area with a total population of 180 million, a large market without borders, where no customs duties will be charged. After the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, the movement of services, finances and human resources is purported to grow, according to the Ambassador. “This is an exceptionally economic structure with no political goals,” he added.
Armenia’s and Kazakhstan’s accession to the EEU will be discussed on Oct. 10, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Tuesday at a meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk.
Asked to clarify whether Russia will join the Union with or without Crimea, Ambassador Bozzhigitov said: “The Customs Union was formed three years ago, and Russia joined it with internationally recognized borders.”