US Considers Signing Of Armenia-Turkey Protocols Historic Event

Nov 30 2011

WASHINGTON.- U.S. made a major investment in the dialogue and the
negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, said Eric Rubin, Deputy
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

“We believe it was historic. We believe the agreement on the protocols
was historic. We believe it shows what is possible. And the encouraging
thing is actually both governments agree that as well – not just
because they agreed to the draft of the protocols, but also because to
this day in their public statements the entire assumption now on both
sides is that relations will be normalized, that the current situation
is abnormal, that it should be normalized, and that both countries
have so much to gain from that,” he said speaking during “South
Caucasus 20 Years After Independence” conference held in Washington.

According to him, the practical problem is we’re stuck now without any
path forward to get the protocols ratified by the Turkish parliament.

“We do periodically have outbursts of rhetoric on both sides that
are, to use the classic State Department phrase, not helpful. And our
efforts are consistently to sort of bring both sides back to moving
this process forward based on this very strong foundation that’s
been established,” Rubin said. He stressed that U.S. will push for
continuation of the process.

“I don’t know when we’ll see the first real positive outcome – but
I think it’ll be soon and I think once the door is opened a crack,
it will start to open much more quickly.

The encouraging thing is what we hear from both the Armenian government
and the Turkish government is a desire to do that. But with elections
obviously having concluded in Turkey but now getting under way in
Armenia, and with sort of the overhanging of public opinion on both
sides, the Nagorno-Karabakh issue which never goes away, even if it’s
not formally part of the subject being discussed – it’s challenging,”
he added.

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