State Department Official ‘Praises’ Armenian Stance On Turkey

President Serzh Sarkisian (R) meets with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon in Kiev on February

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A top U.S. diplomat was reported to praise Armenia’s position in the stalled normalization process with Turkey at a meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday.

Sarkisian and Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon met in the Ukrainian capital Kiev after attending the inauguration of Ukraine’s newly elected president, Viktor Yanukovich.

A statement by Sarkisian’s office said the talks focused on the U.S.-backed efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey. It said the Armenian leader reaffirmed Yerevan’s commitment to an unconditional implementation of the agreements to that effect which were signed by the two governments in October.

The statement quoted Gordon as describing this position as “constructive” and saying that the Armenian and Turkish parliaments should ratify the two protocols “without linking them to other existing problems.”

It was a clear reference to Turkish leaders’ statements making Turkish ratification conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that would satisfy Azerbaijan. The Armenian government says this “precondition” contradicts the essence of the protocols, which make no reference to the Karabakh conflict.

Ankara also attributes its reluctance to ratify the protocols to the Armenian Constitutional Court’s recent interpretation of the protocols’ implications which it says ran counter to the letter and spirit of the deal. Gordon, who coordinates U.S. policy on Europe and the former Soviet Union, dismissed the Turkish claims last month.

U.S. officials have yet to publicly comment on Yerevan’s threats to wake away from the agreements if the Turks continue to drag their feet. Acting on those threats, the Armenian parliament passed on Thursday, in the second and final reading, legal amendments that facilitate such a move.

Adding a new twist to the normalization process is a decision by a U.S. congressional committee to discuss and vote on March 4 on a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. A Turkish parliamentary delegation is expected to visit Washington this week to lobby U.S. lawmakers to block it.

The U.S. State Department opposed similar resolutions drafted by pro-Armenian legislators in the past, citing Turkey’s geopolitical significance for the United States. Department officials have so far pointedly refrained from criticizing the latest genocide bill. Some observers believe Washington will use it to press Ankara to ratify the protocols.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu clearly alluded to such possibility when he condemned the bill earlier this month. He said the prospect of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide will not force his government to soften its stance on protocol ratification.

Davutoglu insisted this week that the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement has not reached an impasse. “Negotiations and the process are going on,” he said, according to the Regnum news agency.

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5 Comments

  1. Lusik said:

    Philip Gordon is not a top US diplomat. President of the Republic of Armenia should not get flattered by a diplomat praising him. (Imagine, say, Obama walking in excitement and telling everybody, including posting on his website, that he was praised by, say, Edward Nalbandian).

    Secondly, a simple courtesy requires that name of Serj Sarkissian goes before name of Philip Gordon.

    Thirdly, did Mr. Sarkissian ask Gordon, why does US news media keeps silence on what is happening in Turkey? BBC, Le Monde, any other, but US, media everyday posts news on a “complex situation” in Turkey. Does Obama prepare his April 24 speech a la “You know what I know, but we do not know what is happening in Turkey, because we do not want to harm the historic reconciliation”? It will be very inconvenient to use high spirited, fine textured rhetoric of welcoming “reconciliation” of Genocide victim with the perpetrator of the Genocide, while this perpetrator still demonstrates feudal appetite for applying “no people, no problem” formula (it sounds more sophisticated now – “zero problem with neighbors”).

    I firmly, believe, that Armenia is forced to chose path which it has all reasons not to take. The amazing thing is that, if Armenia will say “NO” to the protocols, all sides will say, “O’K”. And the life, for the nearest decade, will go neither better, nor worse. While, if Armenia ratifies protocols, Armenia in the most officially possible way puts cross on dreams of simple and great Armenians to be the guardians of their roots. Just think about this – Armenia refuses from claims on Ararat. Gordon praises the will and courage for this! I hope Mr. Serj Sarkissian still have few Artsakhian molecules in his bloodstream, and different understanding what the will and courage mean.
    How many symbols are left? Christian cross?!

  2. Lusik said:

    Philip Gordon is not a top US diplomat. President of the Republic of Armenia should not get flattered by a diplomat praising him. (Imagine, say, Obama walking in excitement and telling everybody, including posting on his website, that he was praised by, say, Edward Nalbandian’s subordinate).

    Secondly, a simple courtesy requires that name of Serj Sarkissian goes before name of Philip Gordon.

    Thirdly, did Mr. Sarkissian ask Gordon, why does US news media keep silence on what is happening in Turkey? BBC, Le Monde, any other, but US, media everyday posts news on a “complex situation” in Turkey. Does Obama prepare his April 24 speech a la “You know what I know, but we do not know what is happening in Turkey, because we do not want to harm the historic reconciliation”? It will be very inconvenient to use high spirited, fine textured rhetoric of welcoming “reconciliation” of Genocide victim with the perpetrator of the Genocide, while this perpetrator still demonstrates feudal appetite for applying “no people, no problem” formula (it sounds more sophisticated now – “zero problem with neighbors”).

    I firmly believe, that Armenia is forced to chose path which it has all reasons not to take. The amazing thing is that, if Armenia will say “NO” to the protocols, all sides will say, “O’K”. And the life, for the nearest decade, will go neither better, nor worse. While, if Armenia ratifies protocols, Armenia in the most officially possible way puts cross on dreams of simple and great Armenians to be the guardians of their roots.

    Just think about this – Armenia refuses from claims on Ararat! Gordon praises the will and courage for doing this! I hope Mr. Serj Sarkissian still have few Artsakhian molecules in his bloodstream, and different understanding what the will and courage mean.

    What next symbol is on auction? Christian cross?!

  3. Berge Jololian said:

    Lusik, you are correct, correct, and correct!

    Abriss and Cheers!

    The US State Department can keep its “praise”

    **Acknowledgment with Accountability**
    LAND * Reparation * Restitution

    Keep an eye on Ararat, Armenia

    Kars, Armenia

    Ani, Armenia

    Ardahan, Armenia

    Erzincan, Armenia

  4. Nairian said:

    Well said Lusik. I am glad though that the Armenian Assembly passed a referendum to annul the protocols when Turkey doesn’t pass the protocols soon. I just hope that that soon is right here and now and we can put the destructive and the disgraceful protocols that followed the “football diplomacey” behind us and we can start working on getting the Armenian Genocide finally after 95 years approved by the US Congress, so that we can start claiming our historical Armenian lands!

  5. grigor markaryan said:

    The Armenian Constitutional Court has said it all and there is no deviation from it.

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