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Russia Sees No Karabakh Customs Posts


Russia -- Federal Customs Service head of the Federal Customs Service Andrei Belyaninov attends a cabinet meeting in Moscow, October 25, 2013

Russia -- Federal Customs Service head of the Federal Customs Service Andrei Belyaninov attends a cabinet meeting in Moscow, October 25, 2013

The chief of Russia’s Federal Customs Service appeared to have confirmed on Friday that Armenia will not start collecting duties from goods imported from Nagorno-Karabakh after joining the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev raised the possibility of Armenia setting up customs posts on its border with the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) earlier this year. Citing Azerbaijani concerns, Nazarbayev demanded in May that the accession treaty with Armenia mention its internationally recognized borders that do not include Karabakh.

The treaty, which was signed by Nazarbayev and his Russian, Belarusian and Armenian counterparts at an EEU summit on October 10, contains no such special references. Armenian officials have said that Yerevan does not plan to set up customs checkpoints with Karabakh.

According the Regnum news agency, the Russian customs chief, Andrey Belyaninov, was asked at a news conference in Moscow whether customs officers will be deployed on the internationally unrecognized Armenian-Karabakh border. “We don’t plan that anytime soon,” he replied.

“I recently appointed a representative to Armenia,” continued Belyaninov. “He will travel to Armenia soon. He will most probably visit the border. But we don’t plan on intervening in the work of Armenian customs officers.

“Right now the main issue is the working language. In the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan we use Russian as the working language, while in Armenia, as you know, they use Armenian.”

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