Today’s Zaman, Turkey
July 21 2008
Mottaki hails Turkish-Armenian dialogue
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki spoke by phone to his
Armenian counterpart during his recent visit to Ankara, hailing
positive developments between Ankara and Yerevan.
Iranian news agency IRNA said Iran, as a powerful and stable country
in the region, can bring about reconciliation between estranged
neighbors Turkey and Armenia. Mottaki visited Ankara on Friday, where
discussion focused primarily on a dispute over his country’s
contentious nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at producing
nuclear weapons but Iran insists is for energy generation alone.
The report of the telephone conversation between Mottaki and Armenian
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian indicates that a series of positive
developments between Turkey and Armenia may also be on the
agenda. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan confirmed during a press
conference with Mottaki on Friday that there have been talks between
Foreign Ministry officials and Armenian representatives aimed at the
normalization of relations.
In a further sign of readiness to normalize ties, Armenian President
Serzh Sarksyan proposed "a fresh start" in relations with Turkey in an
article published in The Wall Street Journal earlier this
month. Sarksyan also invited Gül to a World Cup qualifying match
between Armenian and Turkish teams in September. Officials say the
invitation is still under consideration and that the president will
decide according to developments.
In his phone conversation with Nalbandian, Mottaki expressed hope that
positive developments in Armenia-Turkey relations would help
strengthen regional peace and friendship, according to the IRNA.
The two foreign ministers called for further expansion of
Tehran-Yerevan relations in all areas. Welcoming Iran’s constructive
cooperation, the Armenian foreign minister expressed his satisfaction
with the growing trend of bilateral cooperation. He also stressed his
appreciation for the efforts Iran has made to strengthen relations
among regional states.
Turkey recognizes Armenia but severed diplomatic relations with the
landlocked country after it occupied the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh
in Azerbaijan. Ankara says normalization of ties hinges on Armenian
withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh as well as Armenian recognition of
the current border with Turkey and a change in Yerevan’s policy on
claims of an Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
Ankara denies claims that Armenians were subjected to genocide during
World War I and says both Armenians and Turks died in civil strife
that erupted after Anatolian Armenians took up arms against the
Ottoman state in search of independence.
21 July 2008, Monday
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress