Following two hours of talks on Friday in Moscow between Turkish and Armenian special envoys, Yerevan and Ankara have agreed to continue talks on normalization of relations between two countries “without precondition,” according to Armenia’s Foreign Ministry.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, which hosted the first meeting between Turkey’s Serdar Kilic and Armenia’s Ruben Rubinyan was hailed as positive.
”The parties showed readiness to conduct a dialogue on a constructive, apolitical manner, with an open spirit and aimed at practical results, moving in small steps, passing from simple to complex. An agreement has been reached to continue finding common ground for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries, for the benefit of regional stability and economic prosperity,” the Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko mediated the talks. According to Armenia’s Foreign Ministry he held a separate meeting Rubinyan ahead of the talks.
“During their first meeting, conducted in a positive and constructive atmosphere, the Special Representatives exchanged their preliminary views regarding the normalization process through dialogue between Armenia and Turkey. Parties agreed to continue negotiations without preconditions aiming at full normalization,” said Armenia’s Foreign Ministry, which added that a “date and venue of their second meeting will be decided in due time through diplomatic channels.”
An identical statement was issued by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry.
However, Turkish leaders from the country’s president on down have often preconditioned normalization of relations on Armenia’s recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, which includes Artsakh as part of that country. More recently, Turkish officials have also hinted that Armenia must accept a land corridor connecting mainland Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan—a scheme being advanced by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, who has been calling it the “Zangezur Corridor.”
Russia reiterated its support for the Armenia-Turkey normalization process with the country’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov telling reporters on Friday that Moscow hopes that the talks will be successful.
“Armenia and Turkey have appointed their special representatives. Russia helped to coming to that agreement, and we are very happy that today that first meeting is taking place in Moscow. Our role helped to establish a direct dialogue,” Lavrov said.
The European Union also welcomed “the willingness of both Turkey and Armenia to work on the normalization of relations between the two countries and the appointment of Special Envoys for this purpose,” lead spokesperson for the EU’s external affairs Peter Stano announced.
“The first meeting of the Special Envoys this Friday was an important step forward and the European Union encourages both Turkey and Armenia to make further efforts in this regard,” Stano said. “Any further concrete steps towards the normalization of relations would be good news for regional stability and prospects for reconciliation and economic development.”
“The normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey is of key importance for the EU in its engagement with both countries. Since 2014, the EU has provided more than 4.5 million euros to projects aiming to prepare the ground for the normalization of relations in a number of areas such as economy, culture, education, and communication exchange. The EU stands ready to provide further support to possible additional steps towards normalization of relations,” added Stano.
Ahead of the meeting, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vahan Hunanyan told Armenpress that Armenia anticipates that the talks will result in the establishment of diplomatic relations with Ankara.
“Armenia’s expectations from this dialogue are essentially the same they were since the 1990s. We expect that as a result of the process diplomatic relations will be established between Armenia and Turkey and the border between the two countries which was unilaterally closed by Turkey itself in the early 90s will be re-opened,” Hunanyan told Armenpress.