Armenia wants to simultaneously deepen its relations with Russia and the European Union and sees no contradiction between these two policy goals, the secretary of President Serzh Sarkisian’s National Security Council said on Friday.
“It is clear to all of us that Armenia and Russia are strategic allies,” Artur Baghdasarian told a news conference. “Russia has been and remains our main military-political partner and we should deepen those relations. But we should not see a contradiction between that and our relations with the EU, and we are honestly explaining this to our partners.”
“We are working with both sides very well and we should continue that cooperation,” he said.
Baghdasarian would not say, however, if Yerevan is ready to join a Russian-led Eurasian Union of former Soviet republics. Other Armenian leaders have likewise been noncommittal on this idea actively promoted by Moscow. The latter regards the expansion of the existing Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as the first step towards its realization.
A senior EU official said late last month that Armenian membership in the Customs Union “would not be compatible” with a far-reaching Association Agreement which is currently negotiated by the EU and Armenia.
Baghdasarian, whose Orinats Yerkir party is a junior partner in Sarkisian’s coalition government, reaffirmed Yerevan’s strong interest in completing those negotiations by the end of this year.
“As for the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, we have worked out a roadmap with the EU that envisages reforms and other changes in our country,” he said. We need to carry out 164 actions in 2013.”
“The implementation of those reforms should lead to the signing of the Association Agreement,” added Baghdasarian.