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Yerevan Pushes For Quick Entry Into Russian-Led Union


Armenia -- Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian (R) and Board chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission (ECC) Viktor Khristenko signing a memorandum on increased cooperation between the ECE and Armenia in Yerevan, November 6, 2013

Armenia -- Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian (R) and Board chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission (ECC) Viktor Khristenko signing a memorandum on increased cooperation between the ECE and Armenia in Yerevan, November 6, 2013

Armenia hopes to complete its accession to the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan by next May, according to high-ranking Armenian diplomats.

The issue was reportedly high on the agenda of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with his visiting Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, that were held in Moscow on Monday.

Nalbandian said after the talks that they discussed Yerevan’s unfolding efforts to bring Armenian laws and regulations into conformity with the Customs Union norms. “We hope that the period of corresponding preparatory measures will be short, the process will be complete very soon, and Armenia will join the Customs Union and participate in the formation of the Eurasian Union,” the Regnum news agency quoted him as telling a joint news conference with Lavrov.

One of Nalbandian’s deputies, Shavarsh Kocharian, said on Sunday that the Armenian authorities hope that Moscow will “ensure Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union by May.” He declared that Yerevan will be ready join the Russian-led trade bloc already in February.

“We expect from our partners proper attitudes towards the ratification of Armenia’s accession treaty,” Kocharian said, according to the Itar-Tass news agency. “We do realize that the ratification of such complex treaties takes some time, but we very much want that process to be over as soon as possible.”

Kocharian spoke during a meeting in Yerevan of two standing committees of the Armenian and Russian parliaments dealing with foreign affairs and “Eurasian integration” respectively. The chairman of the Russian State Duma panel, Leonid Slutsky, told reporters on Monday that Armenia’s accession into the union is “a matter of several months.” He said the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will approve a “roadmap” to the Armenian entry at a meeting next month

Viktor Khristenko, the head of the union’s executive body, the Eurasian Economic Commission, discussed the roadmap with Armenian leaders when he visited Yerevan earlier this month.
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