“The decision to join the Customs Union doesn’t mean that we have abandoned the European vector and that we have returned to the Soviet Union” stated Giro Manoyan, Head of the ARF-D International Secretariat during a press conference held on September 6, at ”Noyan Tapan” press club. According to Manoyan the problem is that, it seems as if the decision was taken right there, in Moscow. “Even President Sargsyan’s comments slightly differ from the official statements. At the press conference following the meeting, the President said “I expressed Armenia’s desire” while at the statement of the two Presidents there is a reference to Armenia’s decision. Nothing is said about who and where took this decision. What is wrong here is the way it was taken and not necessarily the decision itself, which in reality cannot deliver substantial results at this point. That is also the case with both EU’s Association, and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreements which wouldn’t immediately produce concrete results”. The ARF-D member said that taking this decision doesn’t mean that Armenia will be part of the Customs Union tomorrow or in a two-month time, news.am reports.
Manoyan expressed his dissatisfaction about the fact that Armenia’s authorities didn’t prepare neither the political parties nor the European Union, for the decision they made and that this may cause discontent from the latter’s side. He stressed that had the authorities taken appropriate steps to inform, the public’s wave of disappointment would have been lower.
The decision to join the Customs Union must not stand on the way of the reforms that are necessary for the country as well as of the political and social integration with the European Union.
Asked about whether he believes that entering the Customs Union would bring a change to the price of natural gas Manoyan said that he cannot comment on that since there is no such reference in the statement.
Commenting on the view that wants Armenia’s authorities to have taken the decision to join the CU merely to keep the power, Manoyan said that there is such a view and that there was a similar negotiation with the EU which concluded that the elections conducted in the country were good. “On this subject, the authorities’ fault is that they do this on the account of the state and of the people” he added. In his opinion the important thing is not what the Russians, Kazakhs or the EU have to say but to have authorities elected by the people, so that decisions are not taken this way.
There is an issue of maintaining the region’s stability because any kind of attack by the USA would have unpredictable consequences, not only in Syria’s case but for the entire region, said Manoyan in reference to the developments around Syria. “That instability should concern us. As for the Syrian Armenian community, it is clear that such operations would increase the dangers threatening its security”.
In regards to Arman Navasartyan’s recent statement about calls to Syrian Armenians by a number of civic-political organizations, including the ARF-D, not to flee the country and risk the existence of the centuries-old community, Manoyan pointed out that ARF-D has never made that sort of calls and no-one has forced the Syrian Armenians to leave Syria, but the ARF-D has always stood on the side of the Syrian Armenians that wanted to settle in Armenia and has supported them in their efforts, in every possible way. Manoyan also reminded that the party has periodically sent financial aid to those caught in the fighting.
Finally, Manoyan replied to questions in connection to offers made to ARF-D members to head diplomatic missions abroad. He repeated that Vahan Hovhannesyan has accepted the proposal to undertake the ambassadorship in a European country. “Many called this a step of denying own positions, and others rushed to judgments saying that ARF-D has been sold” said Manoyan and added that “it isn’t normal passing early criticism” since many are only assuming that Vahan Hovhannesyan will implement Armenia’s foreign policy. “If pressure is put on then it is never too late for one to pick up his things and leave the country, resigning from the Ambassador’s office” concluded Manoyan.