BRUSSELS—Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Wednesday reiterated Yerevan’s decision to declare the dangerous Armenia-Turkey Protocols null and void, a pledge made by President Serzh Sarkisian at the United Nations last fall.
Speaking to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Nalbandian said that the “normalization process with Turkey could have created new opportunities for both of our nations and the region at large.”
“Armenia spared no effort to see it succeed.” “Turkey has missed historic chance of reconciliation. Armenia does not resort to the language of preconditions, but equally, we shall never accept preconditions put forth by anyone,” said Nalbandian.
In his remarks, which also included a detailed assessment of the the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, Nalbandian delineated Armenia’s vision to advance relations with the European Union.
Armenia’s top diplomat, however, lamented Ankara’s continued policy to fuel conflict in the region.
“Almost 30 years have passed since the fall of the Berlin wall yet Turkey continues to keep its borders with Armenia closed,” said Nalbandian.
He added that not only Ankara has refrained from keeping its end of the bargain with the protocols it has “returned to the language of preconditions that it had used before the beginning of the process. Turkey has attempted to link the Armenian-Turkish normalization process to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on ungrounded claims of the Azerbaijani side. Any Turkish attempts to interfere in the Karabakh process or to link the normalization of relations with the Nagorno-Karabakh talks, harms both processes. This is a position that the whole international community have emphasized several times.”
“From the beginning of the process we made it clear in our contacts with the Turkish side as well as publicly that Armenia will never put under question the fact of the Armenian Genocide or the importance of its international recognition. True reconciliation does not consist of forgetting the past or feeding young generations with tales of denial. Armenia did not require the recognition of Genocide by Turkey as a precondition for the normalization of the relations. Paradoxically it is Turkey, that for 100 years has continuously denied the Genocide, has attempted to manipulate that issue, using it as another precondition,” explained Nalbandian.
The foreign minister also addressed the issue of the Karabakh conflict resolution process, pointing out Azerbaijan’s continued use of threats and belligerent language toward Armenia.
“On February 8th the President of this country [Azerbaijan] declared that different regions of Armenia, including its capital Yerevan are historic lands of Azerbaijan, where Azerbaijanis must return and that it is Baku’s political and strategic goal. I will leave to your consideration if this is a territorial claim towards a neighboring country, saber-rattling, or something else. But, it is well known that Baku’s belligerence on use of force and threat of force have many times turned into real actions,” said Nalbandian.
Nalbandian said that Azerbaijan does not do its part in honoring agreements reached at various summits since the April 2016 War.
“The recent most illustrative case was the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Krakow in January, where it was agreed in principle to implement the expansion of the Office of the Personal Representative. Armenia and the Co-Chairs issued almost identical statements reflecting this agreement while Azerbaijan has not made any reference to it either after the meeting or up to now. When the Co-Chairs returned to the region a few days ago, Azerbaijan again failed to honor the implementation of the agreement on the expansion,” said Nalbandian.