British Envoy to Armenia Calls for Revival of Turkey-Armenia Protocols

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Britain’s ambassador to Armenia called for the unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations on Thursday, saying that is also important for the success of Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.

“Turkey’s own accession process and its discussions with the EU does certainly envisage resolution, improvement of its relations with its neighbors, including Armenia,” Charles Lonsdale told a news conference in Yerevan.

Lonsdale, whose government strongly backs Turkish membership in the EU, reaffirmed Britain’s support for the implementation of Turkish-Armenian agreements to establish diplomatic relations and open the border between the two neighboring states.

“Relations between Armenia and Turkey should be normalized on the basis of the agreements that were reached a year or so ago and without preconditions,” he said. “And clearly, a closed border in Europe is an anomalous situation in the 21st century.”

“So we continue to work towards resolving that in every way we can, both bilaterally and with partners,” added the ambassador.

The Turkish government makes parliamentary ratification of those agreements, signed in October 2009, conditional on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favoring Azerbaijan.

This stance led Armenia to freeze the process of their ratification by its parliament in April. President Serzh Sarkisian said this week that the Turkish preconditions have “destroyed” the normalization process that began in 2008.

According to Lonsdale, Britain still hopes that the agreements may be put into practice at some point in the future. “We continue to encourage both sides, including Turkey, to move forward to normalize without preconditions,” he said.

Lonsdale also stressed the importance of growing contacts between Armenian and Turkish civil society figures. He said they will foster better relations between the two governments.

The British government has financed some of those contacts.

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5 Comments

  1. Hye-phenated said:

    His eyes are very telling – they say “Give me that O-I-L pipeline now!!”

    This Nabbucoid has a sneaky plan to re-start the protocols before April 24th, tell everybody that nothing can be done to recognize the Genocide at this moment because Turkey and Armenia are still negotiating and then forget all about it till next April 24th.

    Such an old trick – do they think Armenians are that stupid?

    I think he should be expelled from Armenia as a Persona Non Grata for saying this!

  2. John K. said:

    How about the UK recognizing the GENOCIDE of Armenians by turks in 1915-1922, pushing for return of the lands occupied by turkey to Armenia, and then signing protocols. Is it so complicated, that this diplomats can’t work for it , instead of talking BS…

  3. manooshag said:

    Armenians, trust not other nations, who have their own agendas/whatever…
    Especially the British whose history over the centuries leave much to be
    desired – and into today against Armenians! Manooshag

  4. Raffi said:

    Opening Armenia’s border won’t help Armenia, we survived without Turkey untill now and we can continue surviving without Turkey. We can wait…. and wait………… the question is if Turkey and OIL companies can wait. Britain is the last country that Armenia can trust. Chinese proverb says; sit patiently and you will see the coffin of your enemy pass in front of your door.

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