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Vazgen Manukian: Joining Customs Union does not mean Armenia abandons EU path

Last year’s decision by Armenia to join the Eurasian Customs Union led by Russia was motivated by security considerations, but Yerevan has not abandoned the European path, former Armenian Prime Minister and Defense Minister Vazgen Manukian said in an interview with Agerpres while paying a short visit to Bucharest.

“In parallel with our decision to join the Customs Union, Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian said that Armenia does not abandon the Association Agreement with the EU. A joint declaration between Armenia and the EU was signed in Vilnius and we hope to establish the parameters of the association by year-end, taking into consideration the new realities. During the time we spent considering the idea of joining the Customs Union, Armenia was guided by pragmatic interests and security considerations, which I believe are important not only for Armenia, but for the entire region and European space. Both the European capitals and the EU authorities have greeted Armenia’s decision with some measure of understanding,” he said.

”I would like to remind the fact that after Armenia gained independency, when we started to build a new state, we chose the European model and we shall not deviate from it. Fortunately, we realize that all the others around us are heading in the same direction, and this give us hope for the future. As for the Eurasian Union, the setting up of such unions copying the EU model, across the vast Eurasian space benefiting from a huge economic potential, is not ruled out. This is the future in the current globalization process and no direction should be regarded with envy. Given its national interests and specific geo-strategic position, Armenia will try to fully integrate to these global systems,” Vazgen Manukian stated.

Speaking about the Karabakh conflict, Manukian said “the dispute includes three basis components: the issue of the return of refugees to their native places; the second component regards the territories, namely the delimitation of the borders between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, and the most important component is the third one, that is the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

”As a former Defense Minister, I can assure you that even the worst peace is better than a war. This danger is always hanging over your heads, and the consequences can be disastrous not only for Armenia and Azerbaijan, but for the entire humankind. For this reason, we expect from the international community and the partner states, including Romania, to become aware of this threat, make an objective evaluation of this situation and act properly,” Vazgen Manukian said.

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