In comments to RFE/RL's Armenian Service, Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian has downplayed the importance of his country's absence at an upcoming summit of leaders from the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
Kocharian said on March 10 that the fact that President Serzh Sarkisian would not be in Astana on March 12-13 would not affect Armenia's interests.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and host Nursultan Nazarbaev will attend, and it was unclear why the Armenian leader would not.
Armenia joined the EEU at the start of this year.
"These three countries have problems among themselves that they do not hide and they are trying to overcome their differences," Kocharian said.
Kocharian added, "We have just become a member, we have no problems with any of these states or the EEU as a whole."
The Kremlin's official website posted information about the summit that said the "parties are going to discuss the current state and prospects of trade and economic cooperation among the three countries [Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan] and the Eurasian integration processes, taking into account the influence of the current trends in the world economy."
Some Armenian media have reported that Sarkisian was not even invited to the Astana meeting.
Armenia's 168 Zham website said there were "numerous reasons why Sarkisian has not been invited…beginning with his personal attitude and ending with it being just another case of Armenia being disregarded.”
The Zhamanak news website wrote, "Armenia has not been forgotten, simply no one has ever remembered Armenia."
The Zhoghovurd newspaper called Sarkisian's absence at the summit a "disgrace."
"Armenia is the fourth passenger on a sinking ship called the Eurasian Economic Union and if the other three passengers gather to discuss their future cooperation, the presence of the fourth [passenger] is mandatory," it added.