WASHINGTON-YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned President Serzh Sarkisian at the weekend to again discuss Armenia’s ongoing rapprochement with Turkey facilitated by the United States.
A one-sentence statement issued by Sarkisian’s office on Sunday said the two touched upon “issues related to the current stage of the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. It gave no other details. There was no word on the conversation, the second in a month, from the U.S. State Department.
Clinton has regularly talked to Armenian and Turkish leaders this year in an effort to push forward their fence-mending negotiations. Her previous phone call with Sarkisian was reported on September 21, ten days before the publication of two draft agreements envisaging the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkish and reopening of their border.
Their latest conversation came the day after official Yerevan accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of acting against “the letter, spirit and aims” of those agreements. Erdogan reportedly stated on Friday that Turkey will not reopen the Armenian border as long as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unresolved.
In a late-night statement, Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian warned that Ankara risks “ruining” the Turkish-Armenian dialogue by again linking it to the Karabakh peace process.
Although the protocols unveiled by the two governments on August 31 makes no direct reference to the conflict, certain points within the document put Armenia on record as supporting the territorial integrity of its neighbors, preclude it from “interfering” in the internal affairs of neighboring countries such as Azerbaijan, and prohibit it from serving as the guarantor of Artsakh’s independence. The State Department was quick to welcome those documents and urge Ankara and Yerevan to “proceed expeditiously” in implementing them.