Armenia hails Turkey’s withdrawal from OSCE chairmanship bid – FM

Armenia hails Turkey’s withdrawal from OSCE chairmanship bid – minister

20 Jul 04


Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan is not disposed to consider
Turkey’s withdrawal from the bid for the OSCE chairmanship as
Yerevan’s diplomatic victory, the minister has told Armenian Public

“I am far from declaring this our victory,” the minister
said. Commenting on the situation, the minister recalled that Turkey
had expressed an intention to chair the OSCE in 2007, and an
appropriate decision was to be taken by the end of this year. In turn,
Armenia clearly outlined its position and stated that the OSCE cannot
be chaired by a country which has no diplomatic relations with an OSCE
member state and is planning to veto it.

Turkey withdrew its candidature explaining it by the country’s
forthcoming elections in 2007, so it would be difficult for the
Turkish foreign minister to combine his post and the post of the OSCE

“It is difficult for me to name a genuine reason for Ankara’s
decision, but we accept the reasons given by Turkey, and I do not want
to declare that Armenia forced Turkey to resort to this step. I think,
it would be a wrong interpretation,” the minister said.

For the time being, Yerevan can only express satisfaction with
Turkey’s decision to withdraw its candidature, as it facilitates
work. Otherwise, I am certain that Armenia would come under pressure
from various countries and organizations, including the USA and the
European Union, who would try to prevent the implementation of the
right to veto. Thus, the best decision both for us and to a lesser
degree for Turkey has been taken, the minister said.

Replying to a question about relations with Turkey, the minister said
that there were no reasons for disappointment. “We shall be
consistent, the negotiations will continue, as well as the work with
the EU member-states and the USA in order for any progress to be made
in Armenian-Turkish relations,” the minister said. He recalled that
this important strategic factor was taken into account by everyone,
including Turkey. The minister said that he held a meeting with
Turkish Minister Abdullah Gul in Istanbul on the day when Armenia and
the other two South Caucasus states were included in the Wider Europe
-New Neighbourhood programme.

The minister said that NATO’s expansion, on the one hand, and those
countries’ inclusion in the new European programme, on the other hand,
requires an extra commitment from Turkey, in terms of showing a more
responsible position in the region. “And Turkey can manifest this
responsibility by normalizing relations with Armenia,” Vardan Oskanyan
said. He added that currently they are talking about the opening of
railway communication, which is in the interests of all the parties
and is a component part of TRACECA [Transport Corridor
Europe-Caucasus-Asia] programme.