Armenia dismisses Turkey's call for Karabakh issue

Armenia's FM has rejected Turkish calls for concessions in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange for the historic Turkey-Armenia thaw.

Armenia dismisses Turkey's call for Karabakh issue

Armenia's foreign minister has rejected Turkish calls for concessions in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange for the historic rapprochement between Yerevan and Ankara.

Speaking to Reuters late on Friday, Edward Nalbandian said negotiations between Turkey and Armenia were over and both sides were obliged to move quickly to establish diplomatic relations and open their border under accords signed this month.

Turkish leaders say they want to see progress in negotiations between Armenia and Turkish ally Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh before parliament in Ankara ratifies the accords, a link Armenia rejects.

"Why did we sign two protocols if we are not going to ratify and implement them?" Nalbandian, 53, said in an interview in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

"If one of the sides will delay and create some obstacles in the way of ratification and implementation, I think it could bear all the responsibility for the negative consequences," he said, speaking in English.


On August 31, Turkey and Armenia agreed to start their internal political consultations on the establishment of diplomatic ties and development of bilateral relations.


On October 10, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian signed two protocols in the Swiss city of Zurich.


Also, Turkey defines Azerbaijan as a strategic ally and an internal policy element, and calls on the international community to do something to end occupation of Azerbaijani territories.

Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan in 1988. In 1992 and 1993, Armenia occupied Azerbaijani territories in Upper Karabakh. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

"Separate processes"

Rapprochement and an open border hold huge significance for Turkey's clout as a regional power, for its bid to join the European Union and for landlocked Armenia's crisis-hit economy.

Ankara's Turkic-speaking ally Azerbaijan has also reacted angrily, fearing it will lose leverage over Armenians in their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The dispute threatens to tilt energy policy in Azerbaijan, a supplier of oil and gas to the West through Turkey but which is also being courted by Russia.

Nalbandian said the Armenian-Turkish thaw and the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations were "two separate processes."

"This is not only the Armenian approach but the approach of the international community," he said.

U.S., French and Russian mediators have reported progress in negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh. But Nalbandian played down talk of a breakthrough. There is a "positive dynamic", he said.

"But to say that tomorrow or in one month's time or in a very short period of time we will come to the agreement, I don't think this is very serious."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Ekim 2009, 17:08