Envoy: Azerbaijan, Turkey reach understanding over Armenia thaw

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

Envoy: Azerbaijan, Turkey reach understanding over Armenia thaw

Azerbaijan's Ambassador in Ankara, Zakir Hashimov, said Saturday the foreign ministries of Turkey and Azerbaijan discussed Turkish-Armenian relations over phone and reached a common understanding.

Speaking to reporters at a fast-breaking dinner in Ankara, Ambassador Hashimov indicated that the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border prior to resolving the Upper Karabakh issue would be against Azerbaijan's interests.

Azeri land has been under Armenian occupation in early 1990s in which nearly 30,000 people died and 2 million were forced to flee their homes. Shootings between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the region remain common despite a 1994 cease fire.

"As Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, we believe that the border will not get opened unless the issue of Upper Karabakh is resolved," Hashimov said.

Fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the area ended in 1994 when a ceasefire was signed. The two sides are still technically at war because no peace treaty has been signed.

Asked about what he thinks on two protocols signed by Turkey and Armenia, Ambassador Hashimov stressed that "Turkey is a great country. It is Turkey's own business to decide with which countries it establishes relations".

Turkey and Armenia announced a roadmap to normalise ties in April. But Turkey has since said it would not open the frontier until Armenia withdraws from occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.

A joint statement issued by Turkey, Armenia, and Switzerland on Aug. 31 said that Turkey and Armenia agreed to start their internal political consultations on the establishment of diplomatic ties and development of bilateral relations.

The statement said internal political consultations over two protocols, which had been agreed on under Swiss mediation, would be completed within six weeks which would be followed by ratification at Turkish and Armenian parliaments.


Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2009, 16:12
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