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Senior Lawmaker Says Setting Deadline for Turkey Deal Wrong


Armenia -- Samvel Nikoyan, the deputy speaker of Armenia's National Assembly, 18May2009

Armenia -- Samvel Nikoyan, the deputy speaker of Armenia's National Assembly, 18May2009

A senior Armenian lawmaker representing the ruling party has cautioned against setting deadlines for the ratification of normalization agreements with Turkey despite what now appears a stalling process.

The two diplomatic protocols signed by Yerevan and Ankara in October do not contain a provision on the timeframe for their ratifications in parliaments. Armenia has all along insisted on the ratification of the deal within “a reasonable timeframe”, a position repeatedly backed by senior officials of the international supporters of the process, including the United States. Leaders in Yerevan, however, have also indicated that they expect Turkey, which has repeatedly linked its actions to progress in the resolution of an Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, to take the step first.

Samvel Nikoyan, a senior member of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party and a deputy speaker of the National Assembly, finds that Armenia should continue its “policy of initiative” even in the matter of ratifying the protocols, which were submitted to the legislative body late last week and were formally put ‘into circulation’ within it on Monday.

“Three variants of the ratification process are possible. The first is if the ratification [in both parliaments] proceeds simultaneously, the second is if wait until the protocols are ratified in the Turkish parliament and the third is if we try to continue our policy of initiative also at the stage of ratification,” said Nikoyan at a press conference on Tuesday. “I think it will be more correct if Armenia continues its policy of initiative.”

The senior Armenian lawmaker called it unacceptable and wrong to set a specific period for the ratification of the normalization agreements.

“Some set March or April as deadlines. Should we give up the ratification if we are positive that it will take place in May? We should closely follow the processes to see if they are going in the positive direction, stalling or rolling back,” said Nikoyan.
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