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Yerevan Unfazed By Russia-West Tensions


Armenia - Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian speaks to journalists in Yerevan 16Nov2017.

The latest upsurge in tensions between Russia and the West will not adversely affect Armenia’s relations with the European Union and the United States, a senior Armenian diplomat insisted on Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian said he specifically expects no fresh hurdles to the ratification of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that was signed by Armenia and the EU last November.

The 350-page agreement highlighted Yerevan’s desire to deepen ties with the EU while remaining part of Russian-led alliances of ex-Soviet states, notably the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said earlier this month that those ties are now closer than ever before.

“The EU finds very important the fact that Armenia is the first Eurasian Economic Union member state which opted for such profound cooperation with the EU while sticking to its obligations to other integration structures,” Kocharian told reporters.

Kocharian claimed other some of the other EEU member states are now looking into the EU-Armenia dealings as a potential blueprint for their relations with the 28-nation bloc. He refused to name them.

The mounting Russia-West tensions stem from the recent the poisoning in Britain of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. The U.S., France and Germany have effectively joined Britain in blaming Russia for the military-grade nerve toxin attack. They have called it a clear breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention and international law.

Moscow has denied any involvement in the poisoning.

Kocharian also seemed optimistic that no EU member state will block or impede the CEPA’s implementation. “The fact that the EU signed the agreement means that all EU member states had fully agreed to it,” he said.

The CEPA has to be ratified by Armenia’s parliament, the EU member states and the European Parliament in order to fully come into force. But some of its key provisions can be put into practice right after the Armenian ratification expected next month.

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