The government announced on Thursday the official start of preparations for Armenia’s controversial accession to the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s cabinet approved a plan of corresponding actions that are due to be taken by October 10.
Deputy Economy Minister Karine Minasian, who submitted the timetable at a cabinet session, said Sarkisian set up on Wednesday seven “working groups” tasked with formulating Armenia’s position in the upcoming accession talks with the Russian-led union. Minasian told reporters that one of them will look into customs duties applied by the union’s three member states and their compatibility with the Armenian trade tariffs.
The government moves came two weeks after President Serzh Sarkisian unexpectedly pledged to make Armenia part of the trade bloc in a joint statement with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that was issued after their talks held near Moscow. Sarkisian also promised to “participate in the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union” of ex-Soviet states.
Armenian officials have said that the accession process will take months and require changes in dozens of Armenian laws and regulations.