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Armenia puts hold on ratifying Armenian-Turkish protocols

RIA Novosti


YEREVAN, April 22 (RIA Novosti) - Armenian President Serzh Sargysan on Thursday signed a decree putting a hold on ratification of Armenian-Turkish protocols, the presidential press service reported.

"After consultations with the parties of the ruling coalition and a National Security Council session, we have decided not to quit the process of normalizing relations with Turkey, but just to put on hold the ratification of the Armenian-Turkish protocols. I am sure it's right what our national interests demand," Sargysan said in his appeal to the nation.

Armenia still aims to establish full diplomatic relations with Turkey, and will return to the issue when seeing there is an "appropriate atmosphere" and corresponding readiness in Ankara to normalize relations, he said.

Sargysan said he had discussed the prospects for Armenian -Turkish relations with the French, U.S. and Russian presidents as well as with other partners.

"I won't hide that our partners called on me to continue the process, not to quit it," he said.

Long strained relations between Armenia and Turkey took a major step forward on October 10, 2009, when Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Devutoglu signed protocols on establishing diplomatic relations and developing bilateral relations.

The documents, signed in Switzerland, have to be ratified by both countries to come into force.

The Armenian-Turkish border was closed in 1993 on Ankara's initiative. Bilateral relations between the countries are complicated by Turkey's support of Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over Nagorny Karabakh and differing positions on the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, which Ankara consistently denies.

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