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Armenia: Yerevan Rejects Turkish Mediation

Yerevan, 19 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Armenia today officially rejected Turkey's offer to mediate a solution to its conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ismail Cem suggested on Saturday that Ankara could arrange trilateral talks with Armenia and Azerbaijan on ways to resolve the 13-year territorial dispute.

But a spokeswoman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Dziunik Aghajanian, told RFE/RL that Turkey can not act as a mediator because it has an "explicitly one-sided position" in favor of Azerbaijan.

Turkey, which has close ethnic and cultural affinity with Azerbaijan, has refused to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia until Yerevan recognizes Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.

Relations between Turkey and Armenia have deteriorated further since a recent decision by the French parliament to recognize as genocide the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in what was then the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish government denies there was a state policy of genocide.