YEREVAN (Combined Services)—Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said on Tuesday the agreement with Turkey to establish diplomatic relations could boost bilateral ties, as the US and EU hailed the protocols on establishing and developing relations.
“The signing of the protocols has brought Armenia closer to the possibility of settling bilateral ties with Turkey,” Sarkisian said at the opening of an annual meeting of the country’s diplomatic corps.
“We have made an attempt to settle relations with our neighbor in a decent way, as befits the civilized 21st century. I think the protocols do provide such a possibility,” the Armenian president said.
The United States late Monday welcomed the announcement of protocols by Armenia and Turkey to establish diplomatic ties, saying it was “ready to work closely” with both sides in support of improved relations.
“The United States warmly welcomes the joint statement made today by Turkey and Armenia,” said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, referring to the plans to establish diplomatic relations and re-open their border in a bid to end decades of mutual distrust and resentment.
“It has long been and remains the position of the United States that normalization should take place without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe,” Kelly was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement.
“We remain ready to work closely with both governments in support of normalization, a historic process that will contribute to peace, security and stability throughout the region.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy also welcomed the announcement, saying in a statement that “normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey would constitute an event of historic import that would contribute to regional stability.”
The United States, France and Russia co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group, which was set up in 1992 to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana hailed the agreement between Armenia and Turkey to establish diplomatic ties as a “crucial step” towards ending their decades-long dispute.
“I welcome yesterday’s agreement between Turkey and Armenia to start internal political consultations… for establishing diplomatic relations,” Solana was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement.
“This is a crucial step towards normalization of bilateral relations, which would greatly contribute to peace, security and stability throughout an important region of Europe,” he added.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, also welcomed the diplomatic progress made. “This agreement should contribute to peace and stability in the South Caucasus,” EU commissioners Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Olli Rehn said in a separate statement.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe “warmly” welcomed the deal between the two OSCE members. “The establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia will be a positive step not only for the southern Caucasus region but also for the region at-large,” said Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, whose country currently holds the OSCE presidency.