Armenia and Turkey will hold no further major negotiations until the ratification of their recently signed agreements by their parliaments, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
“No Turkish-Armenian negotiations are being held right now,” ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told RFE/RL. “We are now waiting for the ratification. Each country has its own ratification procedures.”
The Turkish and Armenian governments signed the two protocols envisaging the normalization of their relations in Zurich last month after more than a year of intensive negotiations mediated by the United States and Switzerland. They can not enter into force before being endorsed by the parliaments of both countries.
“According to the timetable attached to the protocols, the next step is the ratification,” said Balayan.
The deal sets no time frames for completing the ratification process. Armenia as well as the U.S. and other major foreign powers have expressed hope that that will be done within a “reasonable” period of time.
However, Turkish leaders have made clear that Turkey’s parliament is unlikely to ratify the agreements without a breakthrough in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday again stressed the importance of a Karabakh settlement for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation.
“Official Ankara attaches huge importance to preserving Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” the Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying. Davutoglu also opined that the Turkish-Armenian protocols could “pave the way for the liberation of Azerbaijani territories.”
Davutoglu’s Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian, meanwhile, again rejected on Wednesday any linkage between Karabakh peace and the Turkish-Armenian normalization. “The Turks may make such attempts but who is going to let them link the two issues?” he said during a question-and-answer session in the Armenian parliament. “Neither Armenia, nor Karabakh or the international community.”
Nalbandian also assured Armenian lawmakers that Turkey will not assume any mediating role in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. “Turkey’s becoming the fourth co-chair [of the OSCE Minsk Group] is out of question because at least Armenia and Karabakh would have to agree to that,” he said, adding that the U.S., Russia and France are of the same opinion.