The executive body of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has drafted an accession treaty with Armenia and sent it to the Russian-led bloc’s three member states for approval, a senior Armenian official said on Tuesday.
According to Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian, the Eurasian Economic Commission has thus met a July 1 deadline that was set by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan at their May 29 summit in Astana.
“Yesterday the Eurasian Economic Commission sent the already prepared draft agreement to the parties,” he told reporters. “In that sense, everything is going according to plan.”
Kocharian could not say just when the treaty will be signed, arguing that the text needs to be examined and approved by the three member states as well as Armenia. “We hope that [the approval process] won’t take very long,” he said.
Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian admitted last week that the accession process is taking longer than was expected by Yerevan. Abrahamian refused to be drawn on possible dates for its completion. “Things will be clear after the July 3 meeting,” he said without elaborating.
Kocharian denied many observers’ belief that Belarus and especially Kazakhstan are not eager to admit Armenia into their alliance with Russia.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev reinforced that belief when he stated at the Astana summit that the treaty in question must make clear that Armenia is joining the EEU with its internationally recognized borders that do not encompass Nagorno-Karabakh. Nazarbayev said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev demanded this in letters sent to his Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts.
It is not yet clear whether the draft treaty contains such a reference.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope on Tuesday that Armenia will succeed in joining the EEU soon. “I hope that Armenia will become its full-fledged member in the very near future,” Putin said at a meeting in Moscow with Russian ambassadors abroad.
Putin and Sarkisian discussed Yerevan’s “upcoming involvement in the Eurasian integration processes” in a phone call on Monday. The Kremlin said the Russian leader phoned Sarkisian to congratulate him on his 60th birthday anniversary. It gave no other details of the conversation.