Swiss Ambassador to Armenia Lukas Gasser: Switzerland will try to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without questioning the established formats such as the OSCE Minsk process
by David Stepanyan
"Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have different interests in expansion of the Customs Union. I mean not only Armenia's accession to it," Harutyun Mesrobyan, economist, expert in management, told ArmInfo.
Earlier on 21 October, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko told the heads of the CIS mass media outlets that there are many uncertainties in the issue of Armenia's accession to the CU. Lukashenko believes that Armenia cannot access the Union overnight. The country is to pass all the necessary procedures to the CU, like to the WTO, the president said.
"The Customs Union has not been finally formed de-facto. It is natural that its members have certain disagreements over admission of new members, and not only Armenia. One of such factors is that Russia and Kazakhstan export energy resources, while Belarus doesn't," he said. The expert is sure that such disagreements are natural not only for the CU member-states but also for the EU. For instance, he said, UK regularly shows strong resistance to some continental initiatives of Brussels. There are disagreements also with Spain and Greece, he recalled.
Mesrobyan thinks Armenia has a range of obstacles on its way to the CU and the EU. However, the Karabakh conflict is not the problem number one. Armenia lacks common border with the CU member- states. "In this light, any comparison with the Kaliningdrad region is incorrect. Unlike Armenia, Kaliningrad is linked to Russia with the Baltic Sea. Meanwhile, our country is facing a transit problem. There are no guarantees that the problem will be settled in the best way to meet the country's interests. As regards Karabakh, at the first stage of the issue's discussion, we may face disagreements with the Turkic- language Kazakhstan," Mesrobyan said.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko does not rule out provision of a special status to the so-called unrecognized or partially recognized state formations within the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, which is under formation. Lukashenko said this when replying to ArmInfo's question at the Oct 21 meeting with the heads of the CIS media outlets. He stressed that the idea had not been discussed and he was not ready to give any reply himself. "But this topic may be considered", Lukashenko said.