Sargsyan’s Proposal Found A Positive Response In Ankara


July 15 2008

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s open call to Turkey to launch "a
fresh start" in relations between the estranged neighbors has found a
positive response in the Turkish capital, Today’s Zaman reports. "The
time has come for a fresh effort to break this deadlock, a situation
that helps no one and hurts many. As president of Armenia, I take
this opportunity to propose a fresh start – a new phase of dialogue
with the government and people of Turkey, with the goal of normalizing
relations and opening our common border," Sargsyan said in an opinion
piece published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal. In response to a
question at a weekly press conference held in Ankara, Foreign Ministry
spokesperson Burak Ozugergin said firstly that Ankara has received
Sarksyan’s formal invitation to President Abdullah Gul via official
channels to visit Yerevan for a soccer match in September. "We will
assess the invitation," Ozugergin said. Armenia and Turkey will play
against each other in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Sept. 6 in a
qualifying match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be held in
South Africa. "We are heeding normalization concerning relations with
Armenia. The Armenian president has had certain statements resound
in the international community," Ozugergin said when reminded of the
content of the opinion piece by Sargsyan. "We have learned that he
said that there is no other alternative than normalization of the two
countries’ relations. If this statement is so, we agree with these
suggestions. As a matter of fact, there had been exchange of letters
right after the elections in Armenia. These elements are also in
those letters. Accordingly, if it [the statement by Sargsyan] is true,
then we are responding with pleasure these statements by Sargsyan,"
Ozugergin said. "There is no real alternative to the establishment
of normal relations between our countries. It is my hope that both
of our governments can pass through the threshold of this new open
door. … We cannot expect tangible progress without such structured
relations. Only through them can we create an effective dialogue
touching upon even the most contentious historical issues," the
Armenian President said in his opinion piece.