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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed on Wednesday the importance of a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement acceptable to Azerbaijan for the normalization of his country’s relations with Armenia.

Davutoglu made an indirect mention of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement as he addressed an annual meeting of the OSCE ministerial council in Athens. He spoke instead about international efforts to broker a solution to the Karabakh dispute. Respect for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity “must constitute the bedrock” of such a solution, he said.

“Turkey is of the view that efforts aimed at the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the creation of an environment of durable peace and stability in the region are mutually reinforcing and have a direct impact on one another. The two processes cannot be seen in isolation,” Davutoglu added in a clear reference to Ankara’s warming relations with Yerevan.

Davutoglu and his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, held talks on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting late Tuesday. Official Armenian and Turkish sources said the talks focused on the implementation of the recently signed protocols envisaging the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states and the reopening of their border.

The official Turkish Anatolia news agency said the Karabakh issue was also on the agenda, a claim denied by Nalbandian. “We didn’t discuss the Karabakh issue,” he told journalists on Wednesday.

In a speech at the forum earlier in the day, Nalbandian warned Ankara against delaying the mandatory parliamentary ratification of the protocols. “Unjustified delays and preconditions, including a drive to link the issue with the Karabakh conflict, can harm both processes,” he said.

President Serzh Sarkisian issued a similar warning over the weekend. He implied that Yerevan could walk away from the agreements if Ankara fails to implement them within a “reasonable time frame.”

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