In an interview with the French daily “Le Figaro” published on Thursday, Sarkisian also warned that Ankara’s reluctance to ratify them is swelling the ranks of Armenians opposed to his conciliatory policy on Turkey.
“Our desire to establish normal relations is great,” he said. “However, recent statements from Turkey make me think that they will not ratify the protocols in the foreseeable future.
“We had warned that if we become convinced that the Turks are using the normalization process for other purposes we will take appropriate steps. In that case, we will withdraw our signature from the protocols.”
According to Sarkisian, the two governments agreed to put the protocols into practice “within a reasonable time frame and without preconditions” when they inked the deal in Zurich in October 2009. “We have said that Armenia would ratify the protocols immediately after their ratification by Turkey,” he said. “And yet Turkey keeps putting forward preconditions for their ratification, the most important of them relating to Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Sarkisian again avoided setting any deadlines for the Turkish ratification. Officials from his administration implied earlier that the Turkish leadership has until the end of March to endorse the agreements or face their unilateral repeal by Armenia. However, the latest indications are that Yerevan is ready to wait at least until the April 24.
Sarkisian told “Le Figaro” that his Turkish policy has caused “a great deal of concern among Armenians around the world.” “As a result of the dragging out of the normalization process, the number of [Armenian] supporters of the protocols is increasingly dwindling,” he warned.
The Armenian leader also reaffirmed Yerevan’s strong support for the passage of a U.S. congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian massacres as genocide. “But the U.S. Congress and State Department hardly make decisions based on our views or wishes,” he added.
On a related matter, in what was his second visit abroad in less than two months, former President Robert Kocharian met with his former French counterpart Jacques Chirac in Paris on Wednesday, his office confirmed the next day.
A spokesman for Kocharian, Victor Soghomonian, declined to divulge any details of the meeting. He told RFE/RL only that the ex-president is paying a “private visit” to France and will return to Armenia “in the coming days.”
The trip coincided with Sarkisian’s official visit to Paris.
Kocharian, who has kept a low profile since handing over power to Sarkisian in April 2008, already visited Tehran in late January for talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Both his office and the Armenian Foreign Ministry insisted that the ex-president met them in his private capacity.