Armenia will not start levying any duties from goods imported from Nagorno-Karabakh after joining the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), senior officials in Yerevan and Stepanakert insisted on Monday.
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev raised the possibility of Armenia setting up customs checkpoints on its border with the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) earlier this year with his public statements on the Armenian membership bid. Nazarbayev demanded in May that the accession treaty with Armenia make a special reference to its internationally recognized borders that do not include Karabakh. He cited concerns voiced by Azerbaijan.
Addressing an EEU summit in Minsk on Friday, the Kazakh leader spoke of a “compromise on the borders with which Armenia is joining” the bloc. But he did not elaborate. The treaty, which was signed by Nazarbayev and his Russian, Belarusian and Armenian counterparts later in the day, contains no explicit reference to the borders.
“There will be no customs posts,” said Gagik Melikian, the number two figure in the parliamentary faction of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). “Nagorno-Karabakh is an independent country engaged in economic cooperation with Armenia.”
A spokesman for Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, also ruled out such a possibility. “No third force has put such pressure or made such a proposal,” the official, Davit Babayan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I don’t expect that to happen.”