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Armenian Party Says Outsiders Cranking Up Pressure

YEREVAN -- A senior Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) official says Turkey's preconditions for normalizing relations with Armenia have increased pressure on Yerevan to make concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported.

Giro Manoyan told RFE/RL that Washington and other mediators are pressing parties to agree on the principles of a Karabakh settlement before an October 14 football match in Turkey that Ankara hopes Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian will attend.

"Their haste is, in effect, related to Turkey's precondition that it will not sign a [normalization] agreement with Armenia until there is progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue," Manoyan said.

He said such haste endangers Armenian interests regarding Karabakh "because it does not stem from the logic of the conflict's resolution."

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which quit Sarkisian's ruling coalition in April, strongly opposes the resolution framework drafted by American, French, and Russian mediators.

The party has also criticized Yerevan's rapprochement with Turkey, which was initiated by Sarkisian.

The Ankara-Yerevan dialogue gained momentum in September when Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Yerevan to watch a World Cup qualifying match between the two countries' national football teams.

Sarkisian said recently that he would not travel for the return game in Turkey in October unless Ankara takes "real steps" to open the Turkish-Armenian border.