US Official Had No Comment on Annulling Protocols

Burns with President Serzh Sarkisian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns declined to comment on Yerevan’s threats to formally annul the Turkey-Armenia protocols if Ankara continues to make their parliamentary ratification contingent on Karabakh peace. He said only that Washington believes both sides should implement the normalization deal “as quickly as possible.”

“We appreciate Armenia’s commitment to normalization of relations with Turkey,” Burns said. “We support the Turkey-Armenia protocols [signed in 2009] and hope that they will be ratified, creating a better future for both countries.”
“We continue to encourage our partners in Turkey to move in that direction,” he added.

Burns urged a greater “sense of urgency” for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Thursday, saying that continued deadlock in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks would be fraught with serious security risks.

“It’s obvious to all of us that there is no military solution to this [Karabakh] conflict,” he told journalists. “And it’s also obvious, it seems to me, that the status quo is not sustainable.”

“Therefore it’s important to approach this challenge with a sense of urgency,” he said.

Burns gave no indications that Washington will now seek a larger role in the negotiating peace and push harder for an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal. “I would simply re-emphasize the commitment of the United States to doing everything that we can to help bring about a lasting peaceful settlement,” he said.

Russia, which co-chairs the OSCE Minsk Group with the U.S. and France, has been the most active player in the Karabakh conflict mediation in recent years. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has hosted about a dozen meetings between his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts.

But the latter have so far failed to iron out their differences on the basic principles of a peaceful settlement put forward by the three mediating powers. The impasse is fuelling growing fears of another Armenian-Azerbaijani war.

Karabakh was high on the agenda of what Burns called “excellent and productive” talks with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian held on Wednesday. The U.S. official discussed the unresolved dispute with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly pressed the Turkish leaders to drop the Karabakh linkage when she visited Istanbul in July. However, the Turkish government remains adamant in linking the two issues.

Echoing statements by other U.S. diplomats, Burns further stressed the importance of the proper conduct of Armenia’s next parliamentary and presidential elections due in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

“Since 2012 is an election year, we discussed [with Sarkisian] the importance of establishing an electoral environment conducive to free and fair elections,” he said. “This means not only what happens on election day but what happens in the wider democratic process, including encouraging vibrant and diverse media so that citizens can make well-informed independent choices.”


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  1. The Truth said:

    ‎“ implement the normalization deal “as quickly as possible.” Burns urged a greater “sense of ‎urgency” for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh – “‎

    Two out of three Turkish pre-conditions are covered widely in Armenian- Turkish protocols , ‎the third Turkish pre-condition being accepted by Yerevan in daily basis! Statements of ‎President Sarkisan regarding Annulling of protocols are regarded like threats of “ a tiger ‎without tooth”‎

    The above statements by Burns says indeed a lot: It seems that the administration of Serzh ‎Sarkisyan by agreeing to freeze the ratification protocols rather “Annulling” them , has in ‎practice accepted the third pre-condition of Turkey related to Karabakh issue There should ‎be no surprise when in so called Basic Madrid Principles we read “self governance” for ‎Karabakh , which is already the same as “wide autonomy” the rest thoughts regarding “self -‎determination” seems to be simply nice to have options … No surprise when W. Burns is ‎focusing only on Karbakh and Bryza in Baku calls, like Azerbaijani FM for “immediately ‎peace deal” ..‎

    The Republican Party of Armenia seems to be determined to keep the power after the next ‎election by any cost and by every means, therefore the same party has chosen a ‎dangerous path which allows US and OSCE Minsk group to impose the idea of “wide ‎autonomy” ( sorry “ interim status of “self governance” ) as a final solution ‎

    • Tsayt said:

      I agree. By not annulling the protocols the Sarkissian regime is assuring the Powers that he is indeed their man in Yerevan and therefore in return he wants a quid pro quo for falsifying the upcoming elections, again.

      only the blind cannot see this.

  2. Stew said:

    Armenia WILL do as they are told!! Must we Turks kick your pathetic butts yet again!!

    • The Truth said:

      Still Armenia is much independent in his foreign policy than Turkey, which use to have the ‎biggest army in NATO, well an elephant is big too‎
      Fact is; this Turkey is without NATO and Israel/Jewish lobby nothing- END of Turkey will ‎come, when its founders decide so! ! That is way Turkey has still to serve its creators long.!‎
      Let’s wait the end of ongoing Turkish-Kurdish war – Turkey is still the same widely tolerated ‎criminal state of bloody Sultans etc… Turkish an artificial “nation” , where most of them do ‎not know there real origin , stolen culture , stolen land, wit a doubtful identity “created “by ‎‎, Jews, UK and others… — ! ‎

    • Gary_S said:

      A Turk who admitted to the genocide.
      Turks can’t fight fairly. They took the guns away froim Christians during the genocide. But when Armenians had guns, the pathetic Turkic brethen got their asses kicked–the Azeris.

  3. David said:

    Truth, The Americans,Russians and many others aren’t alone. This American Armenian wants an immediate halt to hostilities with the Azeris. It will lead to a devastating war and Armenia does not need anther war and continued blockade of it’s borders. Stop with the armenian pride (I know it well from my own family) and threats, (like nullifying the Treaty) and cut a deal with the Azeris now-and I would hope that you would allow some of them to return to land they were legally entitled to. If you can’t resolve it then move it into the international court and bring the evidence and I would hope that the Azeris will bring their charges too so that this matter, which is now endangering the very survival of Armenia can finally be resolved.
    Likewise, our expectations of Freedom demand an open (and often provocative) election process-not a Russian-model oligarchy filled with intimidation and corruption. We demand, like Sec Clinton, that this be
    achieved so Armenia can benefit fully from the respect and contributions you can expect from other
    free countries. We (and the Russians), will guarantee Armenias security. We have a saying here (proven to ourselves many times)- “You can win the battle-but lose the War”. I’m telling you, you’re losing the war. We’re pushing “reconciliation” and prosperity-what are you offering to the Armenian people?

    • Tsayt said:

      Nice try David, but Armenians were not born just yesterday. Who are the we in the “we are pushing reconciliation and prosperity”, catch words of Azeri propaganda. Listen David, if you were indeed an Armenian you’d know better than to differentiate Artsakh from Armenia, they are but the same, Armenians are in fact saving Armenia, which includes and always included Artsakh. A friendly advice to you: don’t take readers for fools.

  4. Vazken said:

    I think, as long, as the protocol stays status quo, will remain as embarrassment for the US failed diplomacy of President Obama.
    In past, several occasions, US foreign diplomats including Mrs. Clinton are on record, saying that the said Protocols are without condition and nothing to do with a third party issue by referring to Nagorno-Karabakh.
    Now, US “smoothing” in Nagorno-Karabakh issue to patch up her mistake or appease Turkey.

  5. Fact said:

    Yerevan has quicken the appetite of Baku and Ankara by agreeing to painful concession without ‎getting anything!‎
    ‎ Given the amount of concession made by Yerevan to Ankara and during negation process ‎agreed with Baku, Officials in Azerbaijan are now demanding the impossible to get the ‎maximum… ‎

  6. art hagopian said:

    Reading the comments above, people do not seem to understand the strategy that Sarkissian is playing. For once , an armenian president has outfoxed the Turks in diplomatic manoeuvers and let most of the internationa pressure on them.Nobody is giving artzakh away .freezing the protocoles was the wise move to play. I am not surprised from a great chess player!!