Armenian leader dismisses preconditions for ties with Turkey

Armenian leader dismisses preconditions for ties with Turkey


YEREVAN, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – Armenia’s president has ruled out
any preconditions for reestablishing ties with Turkey, the Armenian
presidential press service said on Saturday.

Armenia and Turkey reached an agreement early in September to start
"political consultations" on reestablishing diplomatic relations and
reopening borders. The negotiations were mediated by Switzerland. The
two countries agreed to a "roadmap" to normalize their relations under
Swiss mediation this April.

"Those protocols are just the first step towards the resumption of
Armenian-Turkish ties… Their purpose is to pave the way for a
complicated yet necessary process of reestablishing ties, doing so with
dignity as civilized 21st century countries should," Serzh Sargsyan
said at a meeting in Paris with representatives of the Armenian
community in Europe late on Friday.

Some members of the Armenian community abroad have been opposing the
signing of bilateral protocols. The Armenian community abroad,
especially in the United States, Russia and France, is a very powerful
force influencing the making of national decisions in Armenia.

Sargsyan assured his compatriots abroad that Armenia would not take a
step that would run counter to all-Armenian interests.

"Our strategic and long-range goals are the same, and the resumption of
Armenian-Turkish ties does not close the doors along that path, but
opens up new opportunities," the Armenian president said.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of support for
Muslim ally Azerbaijan, following a bloody conflict over Nagorny
Karabakh between the two ex-Soviet republics. Ankara has also demanded
that Yerevan drop its campaign to have the mass killings of Armenians
by Ottoman Turks in 1915 internationally recognized as genocide.

Sargsyan said with confidence that the reestablishment of ties of
Turkey did not mean doubting the act of genocide against Armenians.

"The genocide against Armenians does not need to be proved, and Turkish
authorities will sooner or later be forced to take into account the
committed crime and pain of the descendants of 1.5 million of victims,"
Sargsyan said.

The Armenian president is expected to travel to Turkey on October 14 to
attend a return football match. Last September, Turkish President
Abdullah Gul came to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, to watch a
football match between the two countries in their qualifying group for
the 2010 World Cup.