Sargsyan reacts to Astana statements: Nazarbayev remarks, he says, “can’t harm us”

Sargsyan reacts to Astana statements: Nazarbayev remarks, he says, “can’t harm us”


Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has put a brave face on the statements made by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarvayev at an Astana-hosted summit regarding Nagorno-Karabakh’s status in the emerging Eurasian Union, saying that albeit unpleasant, these remarks still “can’t harm us”.

During the May 29 meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council during which Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed a treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union beginning on January 1, 2015 (and Armenia is an aspiring member of this Union), Nazarbayev cited a letter addressed by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to all the three leaders of the current Customs Union, saying that Armenia should be admitted to the Union only within its United Nations-recognized borders, i.e. without Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian president did not reply to the statements of the summit host immediately, which drew criticism at home. Members of the Armenian opposition denounced the passivity of Armenia on the interference of Azerbaijan into the process of Armenia’s accession to a trade bloc involving third countries and Yerevan’s allowing its allies to yield to Baku’s pressure.

Attended a gathering of young members of his ruling Republican Party of Armenia at the resort town of Tsaghkadzor on Saturday, Sargsyan answered a question from a young Republican regarding the Astana summit and Armenia’s position on the matter.

“First of all, I must say that there are no obstacles to Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union. And when we speak here about two or three issues, these two or three issues are of purely technical nature and concern our trade relations,” Sargsyan said, as quoted by his press office.

“As for what was voiced by Nazarbayev, first, from the outset it is wrong to talk about borders. What borders are we talking about? The Karabakh problem is not being solved in the Customs Union,” said the Armenian president. And who said that we are joining the Customs Union together with Karabakh? There has been no such thing and could not be, because at least under our laws and in accordance with our ideas, Karabakh today is not part of Armenia. And the fact that membership in the Customs Union will contribute to the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is unequivocal.”

Interestingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that consultations with the participation of senior representatives of the Ministry and heads of Armenian diplomatic missions abroad will be held in Yerevan on Monday. The participants of the consultations to be chaired by President Sargsyan are also due to meet with Parliament Speaker Galust Sahakyan and Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and travel to Nagorno-Karabakh where their meeting with the second Armenian republic’s President Bako Sahakyan is planned. The agenda of the consultations has not been revealed but Armenia’s planned membership in the Eurasian Union and related matters are likely to be the focal point.