YEREVAN, June 18. / ARKA /. President Serzh Sargsyan defended yesterday his decision to make Armenia a member of the Russia-led Customs Union saying it resulted from a ‘deep economic analysis.”
In a televised interview with the First Channel, he said, “"We expressed a desire to become a member of the Customs Union after a deep economic analysis, and it is obvious that we are already making use of its results."
In this context, the president singled out supply of Russian natural gas to Armenia at a price of $189 per one thousand cubic meters, a set of discounts on fuel and lubricants, as well as a 7% discount on import of uncut diamonds.
However, he stressed that there are also some reasons for concern, since after joining the Customs Union Armenia will enter a new economic system and is very likely to face ‘new economic challenges.’
"However, these challenges can be solved, and it will lead to economic development of Armenia", said Sargsyan.
The president downplayed fears that after the accession to the Russia-led trade bloc customs duties on a number of imported goods will rise, saying the changes will not be as significant as to affect the prices of many consumer goods.
"I am sure that the first tangible results of joining the Customs Union we will feel next year and then we will demonstrate all these benefits. I am also sure that in a few years the successes of Armenia will be ascribed to this step,"- he said.
The president said also that Armenia will join the Customs Union within the borders recognized by itself.
"The truth is that Armenia has a special relationship with the second Armenian republic - with the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and it is wrong to doubt its being an independent state. Yes, because of some very specific reasons, Armenia has not recognized yet the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. Others have not recognized it either because of other considerations. This is the reality, the essence of the issue, the current state of affairs. And I believe that all is clear to everyone," he stressed. -0-