Oskanian Shrugs Off Turkeys Concerns over Visa

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian Wednesday shrugged off concerns of the OSCE regarding Yerevan’s refusal to grant visas to Turkish observers who were assigned by the international body to monitor the May 12 parliamentary elections. Oskanian explained that the refusal did not refer to concrete Turkish nationals, but was a manifestation of protest against a country that refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia." Oskanian said Turkey’s decision to assign observers for monitoring Armenian elections while it refuses to open borders with Armenia and establish diplomatic relations was incongruous. However, he added that one Turkish observer would be allowed to enter Armenia as part of a mission of a pan-European parliamentary organization. Originally eight short-term Turkish observers were to visit Armenia as part of the OSCE mission. Christian Strohal, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said he was concerned about the visa problem. "Preventing some observers from participating contradicts the principles of transparency and objectivity which are an indispensable aspect of democratic elections," he had said. In related news Vladimir Karapetian, Armenian foreign ministry’s acting spokesperson was asked by Armenpress to explain why Armenia refused to accept Turkish representatives in the election observation mission. He said," Turkey maintains a closed border with Armenia and refuses to establish diplomatic relations. Under these circumstances, to expect to send observers is a bit disingenuous. Armenia regrets that Turkey did not demonstrate sensitivity in relation to its citizens-representatives participating in the OSCE observer mission to Armenia, given the absence of relations between the two countries. Turkey cannot choose and select what kind of political relations it wishes to have with Armenia. Political and diplomatic relations are not entered into selectively, said Karapetian. Armenia understands the concern of OSCE members regarding Armenia’s OSCE commitmen’s, and reaffirms that we remain faithful to those commitmen’s. But we expect that participating states will also expect Turkey to adhere to its commitmen’s to engage in normal, neighborly relations with Armenia, added Karapetian

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