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Government Sees No Direct Impact From Russia-West Sanctions


Russia -- People sit on the terrace of a closed McDonald's restaurant, the first to be opened in the Soviet Union in 1990, in Moscow, August 21, 2014

Russia -- People sit on the terrace of a closed McDonald's restaurant, the first to be opened in the Soviet Union in 1990, in Moscow, August 21, 2014

Armenian businesspeople will not be directly affected by Western economic sanctions against Russia even after Armenia joins the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Economy Minister Karen Chshmaritian insisted on Wednesday.

“In terms of working in the customs union, we see no problems,” he told reporters. “Our entrepreneurs will remain free to choose their partners for importing and exporting goods, of course while taking into consideration Armenia’s obligations stemming from international conventions and various UN resolutions.”

“We will not place any restrictions on our entrepreneurs,” said Chshmaritian.

In late July, the United States urged Armenia and other countries to avoid doing business with Russian companies subjected to U.S. sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The Russian Embassy in Yerevan condemned the “thinly veiled threats.”

The Russian government subsequently banned food imports from the U.S. and Europe in retaliation against the sanctions. Belarus and Kazakhstan, the two other members of the EEU, have pointedly declined to join in Moscow’s intensifying economic war with the West.

In Chshmaritian’s words, Yerevan has finished accession talks with the ex-Soviet bloc and expects the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh presidents to make a final decision on its EEU membership bid at their summit in Minsk slated for October 10. “The negotiation process on the economic sphere is over, and we have no new proposals from our partner states,” the minister said. “In that sense, I don’t think that there will be new proposals or delays.”

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