Armenia Passes Bill To Allow Voiding Of Turkish-Armenian Protocols
February 25, 2010
YEREVAN -- Armenia's National Assembly has passed a bill that will make it easier for Yerevan to abandon two protocols on establishing diplomatic relations with Turkey, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.
The parliament passed on the third and final reading amendments to an existing law on interstate treaties that would allow the suspension or termination of international agreements that have been signed by Armenia before they go into force.
The vote was 70 in favor and four against.
The nationalist Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) party boycotted the vote.
The amendments now await President Serzh Sarkisian's signature to become law.
Sarkisian announced in December his intention to enact these amendments in response to Turkish leaders' repeated statements pegging Ankara's ratification of the two protocols to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
But Sarkisian has made it clear that Yerevan will walk away from the deal if Ankara fails to ratify it within a "reasonable" time frame.
The parliament overwhelmingly passed the amendments on the first and second readings on February 23 and 24, respectively.
Opposition Zharangutyun lawmakers said Armenian law and international conventions signed by Yerevan already allow for the abrogation of international treaties, and voted against the amendments.
Dashnaktsutyun deputies criticized the amendments during the first reading.
Dashnaktsutyun deputy Artsvik Minasian argued that not only the president of the republic, but also the parliament should be empowered to invalidate international agreements.
Armen Rustamian, another Dashnaktsutyun lawmaker who chairs the parliament committee on foreign affairs, said on February 23 that the National Assembly should also be given the right to ratify them with "reservations."
He denied any contradiction between the Dashnaktsutyun criticism of the amendments and its deputies' decision to vote for them.
Sarkisian formally submitted the two Turkish-Armenian protocols to the parliament for ratification on February 15.
Leaders of the parliament's pro-presidential majority have repeatedly stated that the protocols will not be put to a vote before they have been ratified by the Turkish Parliament.
Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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