Armenia will sign an accession treaty with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) this year, President Serzh Sarkisian insisted after weekend talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
“I don’t think that we will not sign it this year,” he told the Armnews TV channel in an interview aired on Monday. “I think we will sign. That might happen as early as this autumn. We’ll see.”
Sarkisian confirmed that “the time frames and terms” of Armenia’s membership in the EEU were on the agenda of his meeting with Putin held in Sochi on Saturday. He said he is satisfied with the “content” of their discussions on this and other issues relating to Russian-Armenian ties.
“Time will show the results. But the content was very important to us. I think that we will see the results very soon,” he added without going into details.
Putin mentioned Yerevan’s EEU bid in his opening remarks at the Sochi meeting made in front of TV cameras. “I don’t need to characterize Russian-Armenian relations,” he said. “They have an exceptionally friendly, strategic character, which is testified by the Armenian leadership’s decision to join both the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. Work in this direction is in progress, and I would like to brief you on its current state.”
Sarkisian unexpectedly decided last year to make Armenia part of the unions comprising Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan under what many analysts regard as Russian pressure. His administration has been keen to complete the accession process as soon as possible. However, the process has been delayed by apparent misgivings voiced by Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko told Putin last Thursday that Armenia’s entry into the Russian-dominated bloc “must not occur to the detriment of the union’s interests.” For his part, Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev demanded earlier that the accession treaty with Yerevan contain a provision that would effectively uphold Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.