Armenia Again Ready to Normalize Turkish Relations without Preconditions

ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian released details of his June 28 meeting with Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul–noting that during the frank discussion–Turkey expressed its interest in improving relations with Armenia–but added that the timing for such action is not politically conducive for Turkey.

Oskanian–who met with Gul on the sidelines of the NATO summit–confirmed that Armenia is ready to normalize trade and diplomatic relations with Turkey without pre-conditions. The two ministers also discussed the Mountainous Karabagh conflict. Although no details regarding the situation in Karabagh were released–Oskanian did say that he briefed Gul about his meeting in Prague with Azeri foreign minister Elmar Mamedyarov.

Later in the day–the Armenian–Azeri–and Turkish foreign ministers met to discuss regional and international issues–including NATO priorities in the area. The NATO summit later adopted the document Euro-Atlantic Cooperation: Review and Reassessment that shifts the body’s attention from the Balkans and countries of Central and Eastern Europe–to the South Caucasus and Central Asia. The three also discussed the future of the region in light of the European Union’s (EU) outreach to the South Caucasus. Oskanian stressed that the realities in the region are sure to change considering Turkey’s aspirations to join the European body–as well as the inclusion of Armenian–Azerbaijan–and Georgia in the EU Wider Europe: New Neighbors program. They addressed cooperation within the framework of that program.

Though the Mountainous Karabagh conflict was not discussed in detail–the Turkish press reported on Tuesday that Turkey seeks to assume the role of mediator between Armenia and Azerbaijan in an effort to resolve the dispute.

The Azeri newspaper 525 Gazet quoted a Turkish diplomatic source as saying that a new formula to regulate the Karabagh conflict was put forth–similar to that used in regulating the Cyprus issue–that "maximally considers the rights and interests of Armenian and Azeri population of Karabagh."

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