1 Dec 2014 20:00

Kyrgyz president sees no alternative to EEU

BISHKEK. Dec 1 (Interfax) - Kyrgyzstan's decision to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has purely economic reasons, and the republic has no other choice, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said in an interview with local television channels on Monday.

The country is seeking an EEU membership because it "needs a market, the opportunity to move its goods, its workforce freely, to ensure free influx of financial resources into Kyrgyzstan," he said.

The republic should not fear the upcoming membership in the union, as it has no alternative but to join, the president said. "I asked at my meetings with representatives from foreign countries, the European Union, the U.S., what alternatives we have. Do we have an alternative to shut ourselves off in our little world? What is our alternative: to make one market with big China or another one being to move towards Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan?" Atambayev said.

In joining the EEU Kyrgyzstan is guided "purely by economic reasons," he said. "If we want to develop, if we want to move away from goods re-exports, from a speculative economy and build a normal economy based on manufacture, the service sector, if we want to become a genuine service economy, then we need to make sure there are no borders with one of the big markets," the president said.

"If today we fail to join (the EEU) on worthy terms, later we will have to beg on our knees," he said. "Don't think these countries were eager to get us into their Union. It cost me a lot of effort," Atambayev added.

Kyrgyzstan is planning to sign an agreement on its EEU membership in Moscow on December 23. Russia and Kazakhstan agreed to provide financial aid to the republic to mitigate the effects of joining the Union and address a number of technical and infrastructure-related issues, as well as to support business development.