Russia is satisfied with the implementation of Armenia’s “roadmap” to join the Customs Union led by Moscow, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said on Monday after meetings with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin.
Sarkisian was among foreign dignitaries who attended the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi on Sunday. He had a brief conversation with Putin and Medvedev shortly before the ceremony. None of its details were reported by the Kremlin and official Yerevan.
Sarkisian and Medvedev held separate and detailed talks in the southern Russian city on Monday. In his opening televised remarks at the meeting, the Russian prime minister said they will “go through all aspects of Russian-Armenian cooperation.” He said that includes the “roadmap” that was agreed with Russia and the union’s two other member states -- Belarus and Kazakhstan -- in Moscow last December.
Russia - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) and his Armenian counterpart Tigran Sarkisian meet in Sochi, 24Feb2014.
Sarkisian told journalists on his return to Yerevan that the Russian side “highly evaluated” the efforts of “working groups” that were set up by the Armenian government to handle membership talks with the trade bloc.
“We also talked about how Russia should help us put the roadmap into practice more effectively as we are going to need financial grants that will be spent on creating infrastructures and a joint database as well as having joint networks. We anticipate the assistance of our partners in that area,” he said. The Armenian and Russian finance ministers will meet to discuss the scale of that assistance, added the premier.
Sarkisian told the Itar-Tass news agency ahead of his Sochi trip that his government has already implemented about half of the measures needed to join the Customs Union. He said remaining issues include the union’s tariffs on many goods and some technical regulations.
Sarkisian’s government has yet to submit to parliament draft amendments to dozens of Armenians laws that have to be brought into conformity with Customs Union legislation. Officials have said that the National Assembly will likely start debating them in March. They have also indicated that the authorities in Yerevan hope to complete the accession talks with the union as early as in May.
Putin noted Yerevan’s desire to finish the process as soon as possible when he visited Armenia in December. “We are struggling to keep up with our Armenian partners,” he said.