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Armenian President Urges Turkey To Act On Historic Protocols

Turkish President Abdullah Gul (left) greets his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian, in Bursa in October 2009.
YEREVAN -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian today urged Turkey to act on its fence-mending agreements with Yerevan, warning that a continued delay could roll back the "historic" rapprochement between the two countries, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

In a message sent to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Sarkisian said, "The time has come to manifest determination to take the next major step and leave to future generations a stable and secure region."

Sarkisian was referring to the ratification by the Turkish parliament of the two protocols signed in October that commit Ankara and Yerevan to establish diplomatic relations and open the Turkish-Armenian border. The deal has the strong backing of the international community.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly made the ratification conditional on a breakthrough in the protracted international efforts to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They also cite a recent Armenian Constitutional Court ruling that invoked the term "genocide" as an obstacle to implementation.

Yerevan, in turn, has accused Turkey of seeking "artificial excuses" to avoid a normalization of bilateral ties.

In his message to Turkey's Gul, Sarkisian wrote, "We can achieve results only if there is trust, resolve, and an unfaltering stance." He continued, "A situation when words are not supported by deeds gives rise to mistrust and skepticism, providing ample opportunities to those who oppose the process to act."

Sarkisian had earlier threatened to walk away from the agreements if Turkey failed to ratify them within a "reasonable time frame."

Some Armenian officials and pro-government politicians have suggested that if Turkey doesn't endorse the protocols by the end of March, Armenia may annul the deal.