Genocide Recognition Won’t Affect Normalization, Says Nalbandian

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Speaking at the French Diplomacy Academy on Tuesday, March 10, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian dismissed Turkish claims that a US recognition of the Armenian Genocide would torpedo reconciliation efforts between Yerevan and Ankara.

Citing “constructive and promising” meetings between himself and Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, Nalbandian said he was optimistic that relations between the two countries would be normalized soon.

But the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations cannot question the fact of the Armenian genocide, Nalbandian stressed. "If Armenia and Turkey have a political will and sincere intentions to normalize the relations, no factor can prevent it," he said.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan warned on Sunday, March 8, that there was a "risk" that US President Barack Obama’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide would negatively affect the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. Obama is set to visit Turkey on April 5.

Nalbandian said the "crucial" meeting between Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Abdullah Gul in September gave new momentum to the negotiations between the countries. These negotiations, he added, are in the interests of the two states and nations.

He said the negotiations will no only normalize relations between the two but also provide a “serious” contribution to regional security and stability.

Nalbandian’s remarks came during a two-day visit to France, where he met French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the foreign policy advisor to President Nicolas Sarkozy, and members of the France-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship group. Nalbandian also spoke to the Foreign Relations Commission of the French Parliament.

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