Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alexi Petriashvili, who is in Yerevan for a third Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue, met Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on September 12.
“The [Armenian Foreign] Minister spoke about the Armenian leadership’s willingness to join the [Russian-led] Customs Union and he reviewed the processes related to this issue,” Petriashvili said after the meeting.
“I want to note, that Armenia’s willingness to join the Customs Union and the fact that Georgia will be the part of the deep and comprehensive free trade area [DCFTA] in frames of the Association Agreement with the EU, cannot impede bilateral relations between Armenia and Georgia,” he added.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a press release that upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius was discussed, as well as bilateral relations.
“Both sides expressed their satisfaction and underlined that relations between Armenia and Georgia today are on high level in political, economic and humanitarian areas. The common willingness to continue efforts for expanding and deepening beneficial cooperation was reaffirmed,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said.
Yerevan hosts on September 13 the third Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue. Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle also participates in the meeting, which brings together ministers and senior officials from the Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Speaking before the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, Füle said Customs Union membership “is not compatible” with EU’s deep and comprehensive free trade area because of “legal impossibilities”.
“It may certainly be possible for members of the Eastern Partnership to increase their cooperation with the Customs Union, perhaps as observers; and participation in a DCFTA is of course fully compatible with our partners' existing free trade agreements with other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) states,” he said.
He also said that development of the Russian-initiated Eurasian Economic Union project “must respect our partners’ sovereign decisions.”
He said that any threats and pressure exercised by Russia on the Eastern Partnership countries “are unacceptable”.
“This applies to all forms of pressure, including: the possible misuse of energy pricing; artificial trade obstacles such as import bans of dubious WTO compatibility and cumbersome customs procedures; military cooperation and security guarantees; and the instrumentalisation of protracted conflicts,” he said.