IT IS IN AMERICA'S INTERESTS TO KEEP PROCESS MOVING FORWARD: U.S. EXPERT

news.am
Feb 5 2010
Armenia

Obama administration presses Ankara at the highest level and if
Armenia-Turkey Protocols' ratification fails, it might seriously impact
U.S.-Turkey relations, U.S. scholar David Phillips told RFE/RL. "It
is also in America's interests to keep the process moving forward so
that U.S.-Turkish cooperation is in effect," Phillips said.

According to Phillips, who coordinated the work of the U.S.-sponsored
Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) in 2001-2004,
pressure on Ankara will decrease only after Turkey ratifies the
Protocols.

"And its efforts to use its leverage should intensify in the near
future," he told RFE/RL. "The U.S. needs to be actively engaged in
this process if it is going to work." Phillips underlined that James
Steinberg's visit to Yerevan is "a clear indication that the Obama
administration understands the importance of this matter and the need
to raise the profile of its involvement."

Phillips suggests President Sargsyan to formally submit the protocols
to Armenia's parliament "without necessarily calling for a vote",
thus the onus of responsibility for a potential diplomatic breakdown
would rest with Ankara."

The expert reckons that Armenia cannot wait for Turkish ratification
for much longer. "I know that for domestic political reasons, this
can't be an open-ended process, and April 24, as the anniversary of
the Armenian genocide, has been put forward as a deadline," Phillips
stated. "Whether or not April 24 is a deadline is something for
the Armenian government to decide. But there clearly needs to be an
end point."

As to Karabakh conflict settlement, Phillips pointed out that
Nagorno-Karabakh is not mentioned in the documents.