Sept 12 2013

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

12 September 2013

Lithuania's Foreign Minister has warned that Armenia's participation
in a deep and comprehensive free trade area within the European Union
may be incompatible with its request for membership of the Customs
Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Lithuania currently holds the EU Presidency. Linas Linkevicius met
with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian earlier this week, when
the ministers discussed the request. Linkevicius stressed that further
consultations were needed to assess the situation, and cautioned that,
were Armenia to join the CIS member states' Customs Union, the move
would "diminish Armenia's ambitions of integration and cooperation
with the EU."

Linkevicius added that Armenia should not take a step that could
waste what it has achieved during its five year participation in the
Eastern Partnership Agreement.

Earlier this week, Nalbandian held talks with the European Commissioner
for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. He reiterated
Armenia's readiness to continue its broad cooperation with the EU
in a variety of areas, and said that this would not contradict the
country's membership of the Customs Union. html