President Serzh Sarkisian dined with the Yerevan-based ambassadors of European Union member states on Wednesday in his first face-to-face contact with European officials since the announcement of his surprise decision to join a Russian-led customs union.
Sarkisian’s office said in a statement that the dinner meeting held in the presidential palace focused on Armenia’s ties with the EU and “directions of the policy” pursued by the Armenian government. The diplomats “exchanged thoughts” and asked Sarkisian questions about these issues, it said.
The statement made no specific mention of Armenia’s forthcoming accession to the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which looks set to scuttle its Association Agreement with the EU. Sarkisian announced the foreign policy U-turn on September 3 after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Armenian leader went on to offer the EU to significantly water down the draft agreement so as to make it compatible with Armenian membership in the Russian-led trade bloc. The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, appears to be cool towards this idea.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele is due to visit Yerevan and meet Sarkisian later this week.