Armenia Threatens To Annul Agreements With Turkey


Dec 10th, 2009

President Serzh Sarkisian and visiting Latvian President Valdis Zatlers

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)-Armenia on Thursday explicitly threatened to walk
away from its landmark agreements with Turkey if Ankara continues
to make their implementation conditional on the resolution of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

President Serzh Sarkisian issued the warning in response to Turkish
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest linkage between the
normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and a Karabakh settlement
acceptable to Azerbaijan.

"I am stating again that the Republic of Armenia is prepared to
properly honor its international commitments. Namely, to ratify the
Turkish-Armenian protocols," Sarkisian told a joint news conference
with his visiting Latvian counterpart, Valdis Zatlers.

"But you will recall that I have also stated before that if Turkey
drags out the ratification of the protocols, then Armenia will
immediately make use of possibilities stemming from international law,"
he said. "And so I am declaring now that I have instructed relevant
state bodies to prepare amendments to those of our laws that pertain to
the signing, ratification and abrogation of international agreements."

The two protocols signed in Zurich in October commit the two neighbors
to establish diplomatic relations and reopen their border within two
months of the documents’ entry into force, which in turn is contingent
on their ratification by the Armenian and Turkish parliaments.

Although the protocols make no direct reference to Karabakh, Turkish
leaders have made clear that Turkey’s Grand National Assembly will not
endorse them unless Armenia agrees to a resolution of the Karabakh
conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan. Erdogan, whose government has a
clear majority in the assembly, reiterated that precondition after
talks with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on Monday.

"Turkey’s objective is to link Turkish-Armenian relations with the
Nagorno-Karabakh problem," Sarkisian said, commenting on Erdogan’s
statements. "I must once again repeat that those attempts are a priori
doomed to failure."

Sarkisian set no deadlines for the Turkish ratification of the
agreements welcomed by the international community. Like Obama and
other top U.S. officials, he has previously stressed the need for
their implementation within a "reasonable time frame." According to
some pro-government politicians in Armenia, by that Yerevan means
the beginning of the next spring.