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Armenia lacks resources to establish relations with CU members:expert

29 November 2013 [12:30] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

On its way to join the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, Armenia has faced protests from the opposition who regards the move as a "threat to Armenia's independence and freedom".

Armenia's decision to join the Customs Union has caused concern among local entrepreneurs. They fear being in a difficult situation, warning they will have to establish cooperation with the CU member-countries with which they have no contacts.

Yerevan has recently made a decision to become a member of the CU, which came into existence on January 1, 2010, and has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission.

"Road map" on Armenia's entrance to the CU will be prepared and introduced to the president in December.

Belarus and Kazakhstan leaders said Armenia can join the CU only after all the procedures required for entrance are implemented.

A survey conducted among 1,067 people in Armenia on October 9-16 showed that 64 percent of the respondents were in favor of Armenia's entry into the Russia-led Customs Union, Armenia media reported.

Now the question is whether Armenia could become an effective member of the CU with its current economic situation and no common borders with other members.

Armenia has no resources to establish normal economic relations with Customs Union member-countries, Azerbaijani experts say.

Expert and Ph.D in Economy Oqtay Haqverdiyev told Azernews that Armenia's entrance to the Customs Union does not offer the country any benefits.

"The decision to join the Union is most probably geopolitical, rather than economical," he said. "Firstly, the country has no borders with the member-countries of the Customs Union. Secondly, Armenia has no resources to establish normal economic relations with the member-countries."

Haqverdiyev said Armenia's joining to the Union will take a long time. "The process will depend on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, due to which it is left out of economic projects."

Armenia's economy is in a dire situation and hundred billions of dollars is needed to upgrade the economy. Foreign investors are not interested in investing in Armenia's economy, as the country is under blockade. Economic situation in Armenia cannot improve without the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he said.

Expert of the Center for Economic and Social Development Ziya Alili believes that Armenia will join the CU and the decision was made a long time ago.

"Entry to the union is an ideal variant for Armenia's current economic situation," Alili told Azernews. "It will enable Armenia to easily benefit from the recourses of the member- countries - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia - to upgrade its macroeconomic indicators. Each country enters the organization with its resources, which will be eventually shared with the other members. But Armenia has little resources, I would say it lacks any resources. Armenia will use the resources of the other members to reap benefits for its economy."

Becoming a member of CU will improve, but not restore, Armenia's poor economy, Alili said.

Armenia has no common borders with CU member countries and this was Armenia's argument to reject membership before. Now Armenia is on its way to enter the organization, but unfortunately its joining will not benefit the other member states, he believes.

Alili said Armenia could have common borders with the CU member countries only through Azerbaijan and Georgia. "But Azerbaijan is at loggerheads with Armenia, and Georgia, even with its new state power, will not be interested in supporting Armenia. The question is how Armenia will effectively cooperate with the member-countries of the Union."

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