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Lithuanian minister urges Armenia to choose between Customs Union and EU

September 05, 2013, 8:23 UTC+3

Lithuania is holding a term rotating presidency at the EU Council

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VILNIUS, September 4 (Itar-Tass) - Armenia will have to make a choice between joining the Eurasian Customs Union, which currently unites Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, and an agreement on free trade with the EU, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said Wednesday in connection with Armenia’s plans to engage in the operations of the Customs Union.

Lithuania is holding a term rotating presidency at the EU Council.

“If they make a choice like this, they won’t sign a free trade agreement with the EU,” Linkevicius told Lithuanian reporters. He claimed that even though any choice Armenia was to make would be honored, the South Caucasian nation “cannot sign two agreements with differing tariff requirements.”

Linkevicius described the current situation as a “lowering of the level of Armenia’s ambitions as regards integration in and cooperation with the EU.”

He repeated a viewpoint that had been voiced by Lithuania’s leaders many a time, namely, that simultaneous participation in the Eurasian Customs Union and the EU free trade area is impossible.

Besides Armenia, the Lithuanians issue the same tough demand also to Ukraine, which hopes to sign an agreement on association with the EU at the November summit of the countries signed up to the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, which will be held in Vilnius.

Armenia and Moldova are supposed to initial the agreements.

Eastern Partnership program embraces six former Soviet Republics - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

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