Vartan Oskanian: Turkey And Azerbaijan Continue Isolating Armenia

Tatul Hakobyan

09.01.2007 17:12

Summing up Armenia’s policy in 2006, RA Foreign Minister recalled
several international events, which somehow influenced the foreign
policy of our country. Minister Oskanian stressed the tension
of Russian-Georgian relations, closing of land ways to Russia,
the stance of the international community on nuclear programs of
Iran, non-existent Armenian-Turkish relations and the closed border,
political and military instability of the geographically neighboring
regions – Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, issues of energy security,
as well as the talks on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and
the developments in the negotiation process.

The Foreign Minister described the development of the negotiation
process as positive: it secured certain progress. The year
2006 reconfirmed that concessions lay at the basis of conflict
resolution. The right for self-determination of Artsakhi people
remains in the core of peace talks, which found its expression in
documents on the principles of settlement.

The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs paid seven visits to the region in
one year.

The Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan held talks in Ramboulliet
(France) in February and Bucharest (Romania) in June. In June the
Foreign Ministers of the two countries met in Paris, and this can be
conceived as the firs attempt to bring positions closer, Oskanian said.

In November the two Presidents met in the framework of the CIS summit
in Minsk. The parties assessed the talks as generally positive.

When will the talks resume? Oskanian said that "a very preliminary
agreement has been reached on the meeting of his Azeri counterpart
in Moscow on January 23."

In the Minister’s words, the stance of Yerevan on the Karabakh
issue has not changed: "We keep our cautious optimism that in case
of demonstration of necessary political will and recognition of the
right of Artsakhi people for self-determination an agreement might
be reached on fundamental principles."

Turning to Armenian-Turkish relations, Mr. Oskanian said no essential
progress has been achieved, which can be ascribed to the policy of
Turkey towards Armenia. What steps does Armenia undertake to secure
some progress in these relations? "Turkey continues to associate
the improvement of Armenian-Turkish relations with a number of
preconditions, while Armenia stands for establishment of relation
without any preconditions. Armenia has been repeatedly expressing
willingness to hold talks to settle the problems and disputes existing
between the two countries."

Besides, Minister Oskanian underlined that with their non-constructive
policy Turkey and Azerbaijan continue isolating Armenia from regional

The Foreign Minister said that in 2007 the international recognition
of the Armenian Genocide and the issue of destruction of Armenian
khachkars in Old Jugh will be essential in Armenia’s foreign policy

"In 2007 we anticipate important developments in a number of countries,
particularly France and US, connected with the recognition of the
Armenian Genocide. The activation of the process of international
recognition of the Armenian Genocide has caused serious anxiety among
political circles of Turkey, making the latter arrange protest actions
in and outside the country," Oskanian said.

The Foreign Minister did not agree that the existence of the issue
of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Armenia’s
foreign policy agenda prevents the improvement of relations with
Turkey. He said the main obstacle is the Karabakh issue.