YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—After a five-hour closed door meeting about the Amenia-Turkey protocols between President Serzh Sarkisian and more than 50 political parties Thursday, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation said its concerns were not put to rest.
“By inviting Turkey’s President to Armenia, I intended to open a window of the possibility to normalize relations and to demonstrate that a people who have suffered Genocide, and the Armenian nation, have enough courage and the will to be the first to extend a hand,” said Sarkisian during his opening remarks at the meeting, which was part of the protocol-mandated public discussion provision.
The president acknowledged his own concerns about the protocols, nevertheless, defending Armenia’s position vis-à-vis the process.
“I too see risks, I too have concerns,” Sarkisian said in his opening remarks, and claimed that by signing the protocols Armenia and the Armenian nation was not sacrificing their convictions, but rather “we are paving the way for driving them home.” However, he did not specify as to how Armenia was going to achieve the latter.
Sarkisian pointed out that while many had advised him to keep the negotiations confidential, his and his administration’s approach was to hold the talks in public, since, he explained, the grievances—“and yes the enmity”—was between the people and not the upper echelons of government.
He said that the protocols were a mere beginning to a long and arduous process of addressing the various facets of normalization process.
“I consider this process as providing a minimum platform to begin a dialogue with the Turks. We have a lot of problems with Turkey, which must be addressed: economic, political and historical. I think that we are on the way of solving the problems,” said Sarkisian.
The ARF’s representative at the meeting, Supreme Council chairman Armen Rustamian, explained that major changes in the protocol could be made only during the parliamentary ratification process.
“This means that if there are really important and serious views the negotiating party would take them into consideration but it will be left of to that person’s discretion to address them,” explained Rustamian.
After reporting that foreign minister Eduard Nalbandian was also in attendance and his staff was taking notes on the discussion, Rustamian explained that it was unclear as to which proposal would be accepted.
“I understood it to mean that either we are signing whatever there is or we are not. This is unacceptable to us,” said Rustamian.