Official Yerevan will welcome Azerbaijan’s membership or observer status in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) if Baku lifts the current blockade of Armenia and ceases hostile actions against its neighbor, Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian said at a news briefing in Yerevan on Thursday.
During his latest trip to Baku, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was asked about Azerbaijan’s possible membership in the Moscow-led trade bloc that besides Armenia also includes Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
In his answer to an auditorium at Baku’s Diplomatic Academy on November 20 Lavrov, in particular, said: “The Eurasian Economic Union is an open integration union. We do not force anyone to become a member of this organization. At present, Tajikistan’s membership in the organization is being considered. We receive applications also from non-CIS [non-post-Soviet] countries. We will be very happy to see Azerbaijan in that structure as well.”
“Azerbaijan’s accession to the EEU would mean its commitment to the provision of the Treaty that not only a member country but even a country with an observer status must not take action to the detriment of another member state or the Eurasian Economic Union in general. This means that if Azerbaijan wishes to approach the Eurasian Economic Union in one way or another it must not take such steps,” Armenia’s deputy foreign minister said when asked about the prospect of Baku’s membership in the Union.
“If we are talking about the economy, it is enough to remember that Azerbaijan is blockading Armenia, and it is clear that these actions are aimed against the interests of the member state.”
According to Kocharian, Azerbaijan’s joining the EEU could be welcomed if the country complied with the trade bloc’s commitments. “And this means that it must end the blockade of Armenia and stop committing hostile actions against Armenia,” the senior Armenian diplomat said.
Armenia joined the EEU formed by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2015. Kyrgyzstan joined the trade bloc later that year. Observers in Armenia have speculated about Russia’s desire to see Azerbaijan within the Union as well. For nearly three decades Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a bitter dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. The two South Caucasus neighbors have no diplomatic, political or trade relations.