Baby Step?: Foreign party leaders meet with Armenian peers concerning Eurasian Union

Interparty discussions in Yerevan devoted to the idea of the Eurasian Union have skipped the attention of mass media, despite the fact that representatives of Russia’s, the Ukraine’s and Kazakhstan’s ruling parties have had separate meetings with the Armenian prime minister and a number of local lawmakers.

Representatives of Russia’s Yedinaya Russia (United Russia), the Ukraine’s Party of Regions and Kazakhstan’s Nur Otan, parliament of Belarus, as well as Armenia’s ruling Republican and second most powerful Prosperous Armenia (PAP) parties took part in the November 12-13 discussions. And while Yerevan was hosting these meetings, Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan was in Paris meeting his French counterpart and other high-ranking officials – this fact has stirred speculations that he is reluctant to take part in what’s aimed at bringing to life Russian president Vladimir Putin’s brainchild.

Among the Armenian political forces PAP is the most supportive of the Eurasian Union’s idea. As for the authorities, they swing from positive to negative assessments when speaking about entering the Customs Union (free trade zone) which is the basis of the Eurasian Union.

Although the interparty meetings have not been largely covered by the press, some rather interesting and important statements made during them can be singled out. In particular, on Monday Andrey Klimov, Yedinaya Russia’s head of foreign relations, had a meeting with vice-speaker of the Armenian parliament Hermine Naghdalyan, as well as a number of Republican and PAP MPs. Klimov said that Russia highly appreciates its cooperation and dialogue with Armenia, as well as partner relations and position on a number of international structures and platforms. Reflecting on the Eurasian Union he said respective discussions would soon be held in Brussels. Klimov stressed that Russia in this issue not only would be guided by its own interests, but also “defend its strategic partners’ interests”.

On Tuesday Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan received the interparty meeting participants.

“Our countries function in the framework of CIS, have similar challenges, and we have to overcome them together. From that perspective political cooperation on a party level can also contribute greatly to the development and implementation of different projects,” said Sargsyan.

Russian Duma vice-speaker Sergey Zheleznyak, who is also the Deputy Secretary General of Yedinaya Russia, said that the interparty discussions hosted by Armenia had laid a strong foundation for continuing interparty cooperation as well as development and implementation of various projects.