Prosperous Armenia MP Expects Explanations For Armenia’s Decision In

PROSPEROUS ARMENIA MP EXPECTS EXPLANATIONS FOR ARMENIA’S DECISION IN FAVOR OF CUSTOMS UNION

13:48 04.09.13

In an interview with Tert.am, Secretary of the Prosperous Armenia Party
(PAP) parliamentary group, Chairwoman of the European Integration
Commission, Parliament of Armenia, Naira Zohrabyan commented on
Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union. She also answered the
question as to whether the issue of Armenia’s initialing an association
agreement with the European Union (EU) can be considered closed. Before
expressing her opinion she needs information on official Yerevan’s
position. However, officials of Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
have not answered her calls. She is critical of this behavior.

– Mrs Zohrabyan, was not the statement on Armenia’s membership in
the Customs Union unexpected? What are its political and economic
consequences?

– I think that questions should be addressed to the officials
responsible for Armenia’s foreign policy rather than to political
forces. The questions should be addressed to the ones that have been
conducting negotiations over the association agreement and a deep
and comprehensive free trade area agreement. As a citizen, Parliament
member and Chairwoman of the European Integration Commission, I would
like to get answers to the following questions:

First, in his interview with Komerstant, Armenia’s Prime Minister
Tigran Sargsyan stated that the international practice has no precedent
of a country joining a customs union without having common borders
with the union member-states; second, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs Shavarsh Kocharyan stated quite recently that Armenia
joining the Customs Union meant losing its sovereignty.

So I want to receive the answers. I do not think that evading questions
is the right and honest answer. I think that the public must be clearly
informed of what happened within the next few days. I am going to
apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials who negotiate on
the association agreement. They must come and provide explanations to
Parliament if, of course, they are informed of anything at all. First
of all, we need it to make a sober assessment of the situation and
state our position. If they do not provide the explanations for what
happened and why it happened, what Armenia’s benefits are, it would
be illogical to expect political forces’ response now. My conclusion
is that we can regard as closed the issue of a deep and comprehensive
free trade area agreement. As to the association agreement, we need
clear information.

– Mrs Zohrabyan, in response to a recent question about the PAP’s
position on the association agreement, you said that you would
present it. Now that, according to some forecasts, the process has
got under way…

– I said that we would present our position after getting familiarized
with the content. My answer still holds good. When we receive
clear information on the content of the association agreement –
if the agreement will be initialed on November 21 (although it will
supposedly not be initialed) and the issue of the free trade section
can be considered closed as running counter to the Customs Union
Rules – we will be able to state our position.

– If you consider a retrospective view of the association agreement
impossible, can you present your view of the possibility of joining
the Customs Union?

– I am unaware of what kind of structure the Customs Union is going to
be. I do not think anyone is well-informed. It is the same story. I
say again that the political forces and Parliament must be provided
with clear information on Armenia’s possible benefits and losses from
joining the Customs Union.

Armenian News – Tert.am

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