Armenia convenes talks after Russia bars its trucks amid diplomatic spats -Armenpress

By Felix Light

TBILISI (Reuters) – Armenia has convened emergency talks at the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union after Russia refused to allow in a growing number of its trucks amid a deepening diplomatic chill between the two nations, state news agency Armenpress reported on Wednesday.

Armenpress quoted Vahan Kerobyan, Armenia’s economy minister, as saying that the number of Armenian vehicles denied entry to Russia had increased dramatically in recent days.

“It is simply strange that 35 trucks get turned around in a whole year, and then just within two days another 35 trucks (get turned around), when no changes have been made in our regulations or the quality of products of the suppliers,”, Armenpress quoted Kerobyan as saying.

It cited Kerobyan as saying that emergency consultations on the matter would take place within the next two days.

Russia’s agricultural watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday it had noted “a sharp increase” in sanitary violations in imported Armenian agricultural products.

The bulk of Armenian exports go via Georgia to Russia, with the only land link between the two countries being a single road connecting Georgia and Russia through the Caucasus mountains.

As of 1230 GMT on Thursday, a Russian government website said that 3,231 trucks were waiting at the Verkhny Lars border post, which is often closed due to weather conditions. It was not clear how many trucks had been turned away.

Relations between Russia and Armenia, a treaty ally of Moscow that is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, have sharply deteriorated in recent months.

Armenia has blamed Russia for the loss of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan in September – something which resulted in a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians – while Russia has reacted angrily to Armenian attempts to deepen its ties to Western countries.

(Reporting by Felix Light; Editing by Andrew Osborn)