Ashgabat, 8 December 2016 (nCa) — Grigory Karasin, the state secretary and deputy minister of Russia addressed a press conference in Ashgabat at the Russian embassy on Wednesday.
A journalist asked him about the non-participation of Turkmenistan in the Eurasian Customs Union (formerly called EurAsEC) and its effect on the Turkmen-Russian relations.
Karasin replied, “Speaking of integration processes on the post-Soviet space, I want to say that they are purely voluntary. Nobody pulls by the sleeve and hold [anyone] in an organizations. Remember how Islam Karimov, the late President of Uzbekistan adopted a decision to suspend the membership in CSTO and the decision was accepted with understanding. President Karimov preferred bilateral contacts to collective actions. After that, we had well-established bilateral contacts. It shows [the choice of] purely voluntary membership to any organization.”
“EurAsEC [customs union] pursues its activity since 2015. It gradually solves all the issues that are related to the economic customs integration and the movement of labor force. It is impossible to say that all the problems have been solved. Problems remain, and these problems are actively discussed. You know, that from Central Asia, along with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan also has entered the organization. Our contacts indicate that everyone is willing good for EurAsEC, no matter how effective will be the pace of economic integration. All members of CIS have the full right to choose when and in what form the cooperation with the EurAsEC would be established.”