Armenia’s Foreign Minister, Eduard Nalbandian, left, and Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, shake hands after signing the Protocols in the presence of Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner and US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Yerevan Scraps Turkish-Armenian Protocols


YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenia on Thursday, March 1, formally annulled the US-backed 2009 protocols to normalize its relations with Turkey, citing Ankara’s continuing refusal to implement them unconditionally.

President Serzh Sargsyan signed a relevant decree immediately after chairing a meeting of his National Security Council which discussed and approved his long-anticipated move.

“I am asking the foreign minister [Edward Nalbandian] to notify Turkey about our decision, after which no obligation stemming from those agreements will be legally binding for us,” he said at the meeting.

The two protocols signed in Zurich in October 2009 committed Turkey and Armenia to establishing diplomatic relations and opening their border. Shortly after the signing ceremony, Ankara made clear that Turkey’s parliament will ratify the deal only if there is decisive progress towards a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.

The Armenian government has rejected preconditions. The United States, the European Union and Russia have likewise repeatedly called for their unconditional implementation.

Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York last September, the Armenian president said he will definitely withdraw Yerevan’s signature from the landmark deal by this spring unless the Turkish side stops linking its implementation to a Karabakh settlement.

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Sargsyan insisted on Thursday that signing the protocols was worth it because the international community has no doubts now that the onus is on Turkey, not Armenia, to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations.

Sargsyan also made clear that despite walking away from the deal Yerevan remains committed to unconditionally improving its ties with Ankara. “If there are [relevant] proposals tomorrow or the day after, we will be ready to discuss those proposals,” he said. “In the meantime, we will try to develop the way we have developed until now without having diplomatic relations with Turkey.”

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