ARMENIA FREEZES RATIFICATION OF LANDMARK NORMALIZATION AGREEMENT WITH TURKEY
April 22 2010
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Armenia is freezing its ratification of an agreement to normalize ties
with Turkey and reopen their shared border, the Armenian president
said Thursday – dealing a setback to efforts to end the countries’
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to protest the
Armenia-backed war by separatists in the Nagorno-Karabakh region;
the region is an enclave within Azerbaijan but under the control of
Armenian and ethnic Armenian forces.
The border closure exacerbated tensions already high over the issue
of whether the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians during the
final days of the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide.
Neither Turkey nor Armenia have ratified the October agreement to
restore diplomatic ties. Armenia’s governing coalition accuses Turkey
of dragging its feet by demanding the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute be
President Serge Sarkisian said Thursday he was not abandoning the
normalization process, but instead would "suspend the procedure of
ratifying the protocols."
"We shall consider moving forward when we are convinced that there
is a proper environment in Turkey and there is leadership in Ankara
ready to re-engage in the normalization process," he said in a
In Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Armenia was free
to decide how it wanted to proceed. "I have expressed our loyalty to
the protocols on numerous occasions," he said. "We will press ahead
with the process on the principle that treaties are binding."
Mediation efforts by Russia, France, the United States and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to resolve the
Nagorno-Karabakh dispute have made little visible progress.
The United States urged both sides to continue to work toward
"President Sarkisian’s announcement makes clear that Armenia has not
ended the process but has suspended it until the Turkish side is ready
to move forward. We applaud President Sarkisian’s decision to continue
to work towards a vision of peace, stability, and reconciliation,"
Assistant Secretary of State Phil Gordon said in a written statement.
"We continue to urge both sides to keep the door open to pursuing
efforts at reconciliation and normalization," he said.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress