Armenia, Artsakh to Remain ‘Single Territory’ in Customs Union

Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian speaks to reporters. May 16, 2014. (Photo: Photolur)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia will continue to form a “single economic territory” with Nagorno-Karabakh even after joining the Russian-led Customs Union, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian insisted late on Thursday.

“We will remain a single territory, and I believe there can be no other formulations on this issue,” he told journalists before attending a meeting of the leadership President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).

HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov also made this clear after the late-night meeting. “No customs posts can be set up between the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,” he said.

“I reaffirm our government’s position that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are part of a single economic territory,” added Sharmazanov.

The ruling party officials were commenting on this week’s statement by a Russian official saying that Karabakh will not be part of the Customs Union or its free-trade regime. This presumably means that Armenia will have to open border checkpoints and start collecting import duties from products made in Karabakh.

Sharmazanov said that while Yerevan has never demanded that Karabakh join the Russian-led bloc along with Armenia it will not apply the Customs Union’s uniform duties to imports from Karabakh.

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