ASTANA, Kazakhstan (RFE/RL)—Armenia is likely to complete its accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in October, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov said on Wednesday.
“The signing of the corresponding treaties will most probably take place in Minsk in October at a regular meeting of the EEU heads of state,” Idrissov wrote on Twitter.
A senior Armenian official said on Tuesday that the EEU’s executive body has already drafted the accession treaty with Armenia and sent it to the bloc’s three member states — Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan — for approval. But he declined to clarify when it could be signed.
Representatives of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) were also unwilling to speculate about possible dates for Armenia’s membership in the EEU. The Sarkisian administration had hoped to complete the accession process in May. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope on Tuesday that this will happen “in the very near future.”
The delay is fuelling growing speculation in Yerevan that Belarus, Kazakhstan and even Russian are not keen to see Armenia join their alliance. Armen Martirosian, a leader of the opposition Zharangutyun party, claimed on Wednesday that Russia is dragging its feet now because it hopes to lure Azerbaijan into the EEU with promises of significant Armenian concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said Moscow is ready to cut a deal with Baku “at the expense of Armenia’s interests.”
Alexander Arzumanian, another opposition politician strongly opposed to EEU membership, suggested that the Armenian government simply does not know when it will join the bloc. “I too hope,” he said, commenting on Putin’s statement. “I hope that Armenia will not join the Eurasian Union.”