ARMENIA AND TURKEY AGREE TO PRESENT TO RESPECTIVE PARLIAMENTS A PLAN TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITHIN SIX WEEKS

NowLebanon
Aug 31 2009
Lebanon

Armenia and Turkey have agreed to present to their respective
parliaments a plan to establish diplomatic relations within six weeks,
the two countries' foreign ministries said on Monday.

The ministries issued a joint statement saying that the two countries
agreed to start "internal political consultations" on two protocols:
one establishing diplomatic relations and the other developing
bilateral ties.

"The political consultations will be completed within six weeks,
following which the two protocols will be signed and submitted to
the respective parliaments for ratification," the statement said.

The Swiss-brokered agreement would provide for the normalization of
ties "within a reasonable timeframe," said the statement.

"The normalization of bilateral relations will contribute to regional
peace and stability," it added.

Armenia and Turkey said in April that they had agreed to a road map
for normalizing diplomatic ties after year of enmity.

Turkey has long refused to establish diplomatic links with Armenia
over Yerevan's efforts to have World War I-era massacres of Armenians
by Ottoman Turks recognized as genocide -- a label Turkey strongly
rejects.

Turkey also closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with
ally Azerbaijan over Yerevan's backing of ethnic Armenian separatists
in the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region.

Washington has backed the reconciliation effort, with US President
Barack Obama calling for Armenia and Turkey to build on fence-mending
efforts during a visit to Turkey earlier this year.