PETER SEMNEBY: ARMENIAN-TURKISH RELATIONS AND THE KARABAKH CONFLICT ARE TWO DIFFERENT ISSUES

armradio.am
02.11.2009 13:41

"The current situation between Armenia and Turkey cannot last
forever, everyone has to adapt to the perspective of normalization
and opening of the border. It's necessary to consider how to protect
and develop own interests in the region under the new situation. The
war in Georgia showed that there is a threat of proceeding of
territorial conflicts. These developments gave a new dynamism to the
Armenian-Turkish relations," EU Special Representative for the South
Caucasus Peter Semneby said in an interview with Russian "Vremya
Novostey" newspaper.

Asked whether Russian influence in the Caucasus fines down due to
normalization between Armenia and Turkey, Peter Semneby said "as far
as Russia invests in Armenia's infrastructure and builds railways it
can benefit only from open borders."

Is the Armenian-Turkish reconciliation an achievement of the Armenian
diplomacy? Has Armenia really managed to separate the issue of
normalization of relations with Turkey and the Karabakh issue?

"This process started moving not only thanks to Armenia. It's clear
that this process in Armenia's interest. The discussions are under
way in Turkey, as well. They have an impression that Turkey might play
a greater role in the region, only in case the problems with Armenia
were solved. Turkey's conflict with Armenia limited its opportunities
and influence in the South Caucasus," Semenby said.

As for the link between the Armenian-Turkish relations and the
Karabakh conflict, the EU Special Representative said "those are two
different issues, which should never be tied; otherwise the process
of normalization may stop."

"Nevertheless, it is obvious that the development of any of the
issues affects the overall atmosphere. So it's necessary to provide
basis for their positive influence on each other. We believe that
Armenian-Turkish reconciliation provides mew visions for settlement
of Karabakh issue.