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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Transcript of Joint Press Conference by Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Eurasian Economic Commission Board Chairman Viktor Khristenko

Eurasian Economic Commission Board Chairman Viktor Khristenko - Dear colleagues, we have signed today a memorandum of deepening cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Commission, thereby fulfilling our four countries' Presidents decisions.

The idea is quite simple: the memorandum, the Republic of Armenia to implement the customs union and common economic space and a statement of intent to join the Customs Union countries to protect their heads. The idea of the memorandum is quite simple; to implement the intention and statements of the Republic of Armenia to join the Customs Union and common economic space what was supported by the Customs Union countries presidents.

This memorandum provides Armenia’s all structures integration into the Customs Union all organs, beginning from the top, the Eurasian Economic Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission completed with its Board. This is an information access, an opportunity to submit a proposal to the decisions officially that were debated and accepted by us, the Customs Union and the common economic area. It provides the authorized representative in the Commission, which will be direct access to the virtual electronic works that are carried out in a common economic area. It is an important component of a Customs Union, a Common Economic space Armenia's accession path. In addition, we have successfully worked with the decisions of the Supreme Council on the preparation and implementation of the road map and documents, as well as the the process of the formation of the report of the next Summit.

A number of professionals yesterday, today and tomorrow will work on all these aspects, subjects, and further work between the governments of all the countries of the Customs Union of Armenia's accession roadmap direction. Thank you.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan - Dear Colleagues, first of all I'd like to welcome Victor Borisovich with his great team. On the high level of our experts and professionals, we have done a great work. Now we are facing tasks of assessing the amount of work that must be done together in order to become a full member of Customs Union and common economic space. This consultation is an opportunity to assess our infrastructure, legislation readiness level.

The volume of work, which should be provided is a new regulatory instruments adopted in accordance with the standards of the training infrastructure of the system, which operates within the framework of the Customs Union. The consultations held today, help us to assess accurately what work needs to be carried out and in what period of time we can implement it.

The memorandum, which was signed today is an opportunity for intensive contacts, exchange of information. In general, I am pleased to emphasize that we have a full understanding of all the fundamental issues, there is no disagreement, there are only problems that we must solve together: Thank you.

The question concerns Nagorno-Karabakh’s status in the case of Armenia joining the Customs Union.

Eurasian Economic Commission Board Chairman Viktor Khristenko: “You know the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict better than me. It has not broken out either now or in connection with Armenia’s statement on its accession to the Customs Union. There are specific formats and experts from different States to help settle the problem. We are seeking compromises to find the right way of settling the problem, which will be resolved in any case.

“Concerning the economic aspect of the problem, which comes to the foreground in the context of Armenia’s integration into the Customs Union, economic progress has never exacerbated any unsettled conflicts, but has, as a rule, facilitated their settlement. I think that the present situation is not a hindrance to the implementation of programs in Armenia, which will improve the situation surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh rather than worsen it.”

Question – When will Armenia become a full member of the Customs Union? Are Kazakhstan and Belarus in any way hindering Armenia's accession to the Customs Union, taking into account the announcements of presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan?

Eurasian Economic Commission Board Chairman Viktor Khristenko - A working group should be set up at the November 20 Committee meeting. Our current work is actually making materials in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan governments working groups to attract professionals, and Tigran Surenovich has noted that the preparatory work has shown that we identify good enough to what is expected of us to do, what needs to be done by the Republic of Armenia as part of its preparations for the accession agreement. This process, of course, is not so fast that you can take a few weeks to streamline. It requires a lot of preparatory work and should be in line with the national legislation. That's why I wouldn’t try to fix any limit to all of this can be accomplished, the more I'm well aware of the plans and ambitions of the leaders of Armenia and the rate that must be maintained in this process.

I agree to these programs, but in any way we have to try to not miss a step and normalize everything. I do not see any insurmountable problems and complicated issues, ranging from general issues related to the boarders and ending with other less important issues. All that is soluble, and I do not see any reason to say that there are no breaks in the political process to achieve the most important thing is to go through the process of implementation, and then all the problems and difficulties will follow. Armenia should also take it upon itself all the obligations that are now responsible for all member states. In this case, it is talking about the quality of our work, and we have to ensure that you get out this way.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan - I would like to add that the Government of Armenia develops an action plan for the volume of work, it is our vision that we need to implement the Customs Union to accede to the request of the President of Armenia addressed to the presidents of the three countries, so that they respond to the plan, which has already started we realize, I think that it will lead to the conclusion that we will be able to quickly and effectively move in this direction.

The question concerns Turkey's accession to the Customs Union and the recent statement made by the President of Belarus on the need to consider Azerbaijan’s opinion about Armenia’s membership of the Customs Union.

Eurasian Economic Commission Board Chairman Viktor Khristenko – There is no announcement yet about the Turkey's accession to the Customs Union. Many States have expressed interest and intention to expand cooperation with the Customs Union. In particular, the Prime Minister of India during his visit to Moscow expressed a desire to have an advanced mode of collaboration with the Customs Union, a comprehensive free trade agreement, etc.

As a whole, the number of those nations willing to establish such relationship with the Customs Union is 36: we are currently working with Vietnam, New Zealand and the European Free Trade Association. Such work will be done with Switzerland. Turkey is not a candidate, and its statement has not been studied yet and, therefore, no harm may come from something inexistent.

As for Alexander Lukashenko's statement, I have not heard of it, so I cannot comment on the President's statement: besides, it is not correct to interpret the statement of the head of a sovereign State. But I can say that in terms of the Customs Union, the opinion of any one, except a candidate to join the Customs Union and the participants are not required to complete this project. The agreement, which is made of signature, signed by the four leaders.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan – I concur with Victor Borisovich in that is not correct to interpret presidents’ statements. The point is in the context and the purpose of the statement. I think that it is better to leave it to analysts.

January 2021