BRUSSELS (RFE/RL)–The European Union on Tuesday welcomed Armenia’s decision not to walk away from its fence-mending agreements with Turkey, while expressing concern about “the loss of momentum in this process.”
The EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, also reaffirmed through a spokesperson the bloc’s support for an unconditional and speedy ratification of the Turkish-Armenian protocols sought by Yerevan.
“The High Representative is pleased to note that Armenia remains committed to pursue the process of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations but at the same time expresses concern about the loss of momentum in this process,” the unnamed spokesperson said in a statement circulated by the EU delegation in Yerevan.
“The EU reiterates its call to both countries to continue their dialogue and remain committed to the process of normalization without preconditions and in a reasonable timeframe,” said the statement.
Germany, a key EU member state, also praised President Serzh Sarkisian for not formally ending the normalization process, in a separate statement released by its ambassador in Yerevan, Hans-Jochen Schmidt. “We greatly welcome that,” said Schmidt.
France, another EU heavyweight, as well as the United States reacted to Sarkisian’s move in a similar fashion late last week. “We applaud President Sarkisian’s decision to continue to work towards a vision of peace, stability, and reconciliation,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon.
Both the U.S. and the EU have essentially shared Yerevan’s view that Armenia and Turkey should normalize relations regardless of decisive progress in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Ankara regards such progress as a necessary condition for Turkish ratification of the protocols.
“The High Representative believes that the full normalization of bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey will contribute to security, stability and cooperation in the Southern Caucasus,” read the EU statement. “The EU will continue to provide its political and technical support to this process and stands ready to help implementing the steps agreed between the two countries.”