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Belarus Official Downplays ‘Obstacles’ To Armenia’s Eurasian Union Entry


Belarus - The parliament building in Minsk.

Belarus - The parliament building in Minsk.

A senior Belarusian official has spoken of remaining “obstacles” to Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) but said they are likely to be overcome before an upcoming summit of the Russian-led bloc.

Speaking to journalists in Yerevan on Sunday, Viktor Guminsky, a deputy speaker of the Belarusian parliament, did do not deny that unlike Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have some objections regarding the Armenian membership bid.

“I know that there are some issues right now which are being worked on by the Eurasian Economic Commission and the heads of [member] states,” he said when asked about the alleged disagreements. “I also know that this process is moving forward. I have no role in that process but am confident that everything will be agreed upon and an acceptable variant will be found so that all those obstacles are removed.”

Guminsky did not clarify what those issues are. The Eurasian Economic Commission, which is the EEU’s executive body, drafted an accession treaty with Armenia and submitted it to the union’s three member states for approval in June. Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed the document last month. The Kazakh and Belarusian governments have not yet followed suit.

Russia -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian meets with his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Sochi, September 23, 2013

Russia -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian meets with his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Sochi, September 23, 2013

Guminsky said that the treaty is now being examined by Belarusian legal experts and that he hopes the government in Minsk will recommend its ratification by Belarus’s parliament at the start of its autumn session on October 2. Asked whether the parliament could fail to ratify it in time for the EEU’s October 10 summit in Minsk, he said, “It’s hard for me to tell because I’m not directly involved in this negotiation process.”

“But I have presented our position that we are doing everything to ratify the treaty before the October 10 summit in Minsk. As far as I know, Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union will be announced during that summit,” added Guminsky.

Belarus’s longtime President Aleksandr Lukashenko has repeatedly signaled his unease over Armenia’s membership in the EEU. In an August 7 phone call with Putin, Lukashenko said that it “must not occur to the detriment” of the bloc.

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