September 10, 2013 - 17:49 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenia seeks to deepen cooperation and continue such relations with the EU, which wouldn't run contrary to the membership in the Custom Union, Foreign Minister said.
As Edward Nalbandian told a news conference, the statement released after the September 5 meeting with the European Commissioner Stefan Fule noted that Yerevan intends to continue close cooperation with the EU as long as it doesn't run contrary to Armenia's decision to join the CU, Novosti-Armenia said.
The Foreign Minister also noted that his Lithuanian counterpart didn't rule out a possibility of Armenia's joining the CU while signing an Association Agreement, also advising to promote ties with the EU.
He further dismissed the discontent of the opposition, suggesting that some questions are yet to be given an exhaustive reply. "I answered all the questions. The problem here that some, being of a different opinion, find it hard to accept them," aysor.am quoted him as saying.
As tert.am noted, Armenia's second president Robert Kocharian also intends to speak on the issue, Kocharian's spokesman Victor Soghomonyan said.
On Wednesday, September 9, the fall session of the parliament opened with a demand to include Armenia's joining the CU on the National Assembly's agenda. Protests were voiced over keeping the parliament unaware before taking the actual political decision.
Armenian National Congress party member Nikol Pashinyan demanded that a 4-day discussion be started, with the President and Foreign Minister invited to provide the necessary explanation.
Earlier, Armenia expressed intention to join Customs Union with further plans to be involved in formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the initiative, voicing readiness to assist Armenia in the process. He also noted that Russian Railways may invest 15 billion rubles in development of Armenia's railway network.
The Customs Union was formed in 2010 to include of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia; Kirghizia and Tajikistan later expressed willingness to join the Union.
Linas Linkevicius, the Foreign Minister of Lithuania, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said Armenia “has blocked its chances of signing a free trade deal with the European Union by choosing to join the Russia-led union.”
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton expects Armenia to explain the decision to join the Russia-initiated Customs Union. "We expect clarifications from Armenia, and then we will be able to assess the consequences this move may have," Ashton’s spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said in Brussels.
When in St. Petersburg to attend the G20 summit, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said that Armenia, Moldova, and, if possible, Ukraine will hopefully sign the Association Agreement at the Vilnius Summit in November 2013.