Karabakh, Turkey Deal ‘Different Issues,’ Says EU Caucasus Envoy

EU Envoy to the South Caucasus Peter Semneby Shakes hands with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian.

EU Envoy to the South Caucasus Peter Semneby Shakes hands with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian.

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—Any attempt to condition the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process will bring an end to the entire rapprochement process, according to the European Union’s Special Representative to the South Caucasus.

In an interview to the Russian Vremya Novostey Newspaper on Monday, Peter Semneby, stressed that Armenia’s negotiations with Turkey and the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process are “two different issues, which should never be tied; otherwise the process of normalization may stop.”

Although the two processes are different issues, Semneby said he believes “that Armenian-Turkish reconciliation provides new visions for settlement of Karabakh issue.”

“It is obvious that the development of any of the issues affects the overall atmosphere,” he said. “So it’s necessary to provide a basis for their positive influence on each other.”

According to the EU envoy, the current situation between Armenia and Turkey “cannot last forever” and that everyone in the region must “adapt to the perspective of normalization and opening of the border.”

In explaining the impetus behind the negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, Semneby cited the August war between Georgia and Russia, saying that the threat of territorial conflicts in the region “gave a new dynamism to the [normalization] Armenian-Turkish relations.”

The EU diplomat credited Armenia for kick starting this process, which he said would give Turkey an opportunity to “play a greater role in the region.”

“Turkey’s conflict with Armenia limited its opportunities and influence in the South Caucasus.” “This process started moving thanks to Armenia,” Semneby added, noting that normal relations with Turkey is in Armenia’s interests.

According to Semneby, the opening of the border between Armenia and Turkey is also in Russia’s interests. “As long as Russia invests in Armenia’s infrastructure and builds railways it can only benefit from open borders.”

“It’s necessary to consider how to protect and develop everyone’s interests in the region under this new situation,” Semneby said.

 

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