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Tbilisi doesn’t want to give up Yerevan to Ankara2009-04-06 21:29
Today US President Barack Obama arrives in Turkey. This has given rise to a stormy discussion about the possibility of repairing Armenian-Turkish relations. If this happens, Georgia will incur not only economic, but also political losses. Tbilisi seems to have to decided to try and forestall this by including Yerevan in its strategic partnership plans.
Georgia's Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze declared yesterday that Georgia and Armenia would definitely formalize strategic relations soon. According to him, this will be done as part of the country's new Foreign Policy Strategy. It is telling that the Georgian minister declared the intention to work closely with Armenia in the run-up to today's visit to Ankara by US President Barack Obama.
The American president is expected to act as a catalyst to accelerate the signing of a treaty between Armenia and Turkey. According to The Wall Street Journal, an agreement could be signed as early as 16th April during the visit of Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to Armenia, where he will take part in a foreign ministers' session of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC). The media are reporting that the treaty will provide for the opening up of borders, the establishment of diplomatic relations and the creation of a commission of historians, which will study the Armenian genocide of 1915. During his election campaign Obama promised the Armenian electorate that he would recognize the mass extermination of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire . A resolution on the genocide will be examined by the US Congress on 24th April.
But on the eve of this extremely important event, Turkey has launched a political game involving a warming of relations with Yerevan. Last week, for example, it started a radio broadcast in Armenian, reports Lenta.ru. The normalization of relations with Armenia has also been stipulated as one of the conditions for Turkey to join the European Union. The Turkish authorities, while apparently demonstrating the restoration of contacts with Yerevan, are still categorically denying reports that the borders will soon be opened. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan even declared on Friday that this issue would not be solved until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is resolved, reports the Trend news agency.
This announcement has been regarded in Armenia as an attempt to put a brake on Armenian-Turkish dialogue. Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandian remarked that the Karabakh issue has never been a subject for discussion with Turkey. Erdogan's position caused the Armenian foreign minister such irritation that today he cancelled a visit to Istanbul where he was intending to take part in the "Alliance of Civilizations" forum, reports Armenia Today.