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Armenia Says No Talks With Turkey Until Protocols OK'd

Ratification of the protocols signed in October is no sure bet. Here, protesters in Yerevan express their disapproval on October 16.
YEREVAN -- Armenia's Foreign Ministry has declared that Yerevan and Ankara will hold no further major negotiations until their parliaments ratify bilateral agreements on closer relations, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told RFE/RL that "we are now waiting for the ratification, as each country has its own ratification procedures."

The Turkish and Armenian governments signed the two protocols envisaging the normalization of relations in Zurich last month after more than a year of intensive negotiations mediated by the United States and Switzerland.

The agreements -- which would reopen the countries' border and establish diplomatic relations --cannot enter into force until passed by both countries' parliaments.

But Turkish leaders have said that their parliament is unlikely to ratify the agreements without a breakthrough in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Meanwhile on November 18, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian again rejected any linkage between the Karabakh issue and Turkish-Armenian normalization.

Nalbandian also assured Armenian lawmakers that Turkey will not assume any mediating role in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.

"Turkey's becoming the fourth cochair [of the OSCE Minsk Group] is out of the question because at least Armenia and Karabakh would have to agree to that," he said.

Nalbandian added that the United States, Russia, and France share the same view.