YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s leading business association and three local civic groups said on Wednesday that they will work together in maintaining continued contacts between Armenian and Turkish societies.
They said they hope to thereby contribute to the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations which has stalled because of serious disagreements between the governments in Ankara and Yerevan.
In a joint statement, the four organizations said they will “coordinate their projects implemented in this area” and formulate common positions on “further developments in Turkish-Armenian relations.” Gevorg Ter-Gabrielian, head of the Yerevan-based Eurasia Partnership Foundation, said the non-governmental “consortium” plans to draw up a plan of joint actions as he spoke at a joint news conferences with representatives of the other groups involved in the initiative.
Those are the Armenian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Yerevan Press Club (YPC) and the International Center for Human Development (ICHD). All four signatories to the statement have been closely involved in Turkish-Armenian civil-society and business contacts mostly financed by the U.S. government over the past decade.
Tevan Poghosian, the ICHD director, did not rule out the possibility of a similar grouping being formed in Turkey.
The initiative follows the effective collapse of the Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements that were signed last October amid an unprecedented thaw in the historically strained relations between the two nations. According to Boris Navasardian, the YPC chairman, the NGO coalition will propose ways of kick-starting the process.
“Today we are at a point of analyzing the difficulties that have prevented the parties from achieving a desirable and necessary outcome,” Navasardian told journalists. “Those analyses have started in both Turkey and Armenia.”
“One of the goals of our consortium will be to analyze the past one-and-a-half years and try to come up with certain proposals,” he said.