Armenia to join Moscow-led customs union
Armenia said Tuesday it would join the Russia-led customs union to help promote close integration among neighbours, a project championed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to bind closer the remnants of the Soviet Union.
The move was agreed during talks between Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Putin in Moscow.
"Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian announced the Republic of Armenia's decision to join the Customs Union and take all the necessary practical steps to that effect, as well as take part in the establishment of the Eurasian economic union in the future," Russian news agencies cited a document signed by the two leaders as saying.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the Republic of Armenia's decision and conveyed the Russian side's readiness to assist in this process in any way possible."
According to Putin's vision, the Russian-led customs union, which includes ex-Soviet Belarus and Kazakhstan, will form the basis of the Eurasian economic union with its own executive body and a single currency.
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has slammed the Kremlin's project as a "move to re-Sovietize the region."
Russia has for years tried to get neighbouring Ukraine to join the Customs Union. Kiev has so far resisted the pressure and hopes to sign a landmark political and economic agreement with the European Union at a summit in November.
© 2013 AFP