YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian said Thursday that the Turkey-Armenia protocols have nothing to do with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service reports.
Speaking to journalists in Baku, Kirakosian said the Karabakh issue concerns only Azerbaijan and Armenia. He was in Baku to participate in the Black Sea Cooperation Organization’s session.
He said the Turkish-Armenian protocols have been signed without any preconditions and that, in general, the Karabakh issue is nearing resolution as the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents have met seven times to discuss the issue in the last six months.
Commenting on the introduction of the protocols into Turkey’s parliament on October 21, Kirakosyan said Armenia had also begun procedures for discussions within its parliament.
He distinguished the Armenia-Turkey process and the Nagorno-Karabakh process as two separate issues, saying that: “Armenia-Turkey relations are those between the two sovereign states and legally have nothing to do with Karabakh peace process. Thus, if all goes without a hitch after the signing and ratification, the borders will open.”
As for Armenia-Azerbaijan talks, Kirakosyan said that the process is in progress. “The Presidents had seven meetings to date, which is a positive trend. The principles proposed by OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs are being discussed,” he said. “The talks proceed constructively and positively.”
He noted that once the parties reach an agreement on the core principles of settlement, “the talks will proceed to the final stage.”
In response to Azerbaijani journalist’s question about the liberation of “occupied Azerbaijani territories” by Arman, Kirakosyan said: “The current situation is a result of war, not occupation.
Meanwhile, the press secretary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Tigran Balayan, similarly said on Thursday that the there can be no link between Armenia-Turkey relations and the Nagorno-Karabkah conflict. “Armenia has never discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh issue with Turkey,” Balayan said.
“We launched Armenia-Turkey normalization process realizing that the parties should go ahead without preconditions. The talks and elaboration of the Protocols signed in Zurich were initiated with this intention,” he said. “Consequently, the parties will henceforth be guided by the Protocols’ provisions, containing no preconditions.”