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Armenian President Warns Turkey, Azerbaijan

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian speaks at a party congress on November 28.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian speaks at a party congress on November 28.
YEREVAN -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has again warned Turkey against delaying the implementation of its agreements with Armenia and vowed a "tough" response to any Azerbaijani attempt to use force to take back Nagorno-Karabakh, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Sarkisian, who was speaking at a party congress on November 28, also said the agreements signed with Turkey on October 10 will not hinder greater international recognition of the mass killings of ethnic Armenians as genocide.

Critics say Ankara will exploit the formation of a Turkish-Armenian commission of historians -- which would be established as part of the protocols -- to keep more countries from officially recognizing the 1915-18 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Sarkisian dismissed such fears during his address to a congress of his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).

But in what appeared to be another implicit threat to walk away from the agreements, Sarkisian reiterated that he expects the Turkish parliament to ratify them within a "reasonable time frame."

Turkish leaders have suggested that parliament will not ratify the protocols without a breakthrough in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reportedly made some progress on that issue during recent talks held in Munich.

Sarkisian again cautioned that the conflict's resolution "may take years."

He also issued a stern warning to Aliyev, who publicly threatened the Armenians before the Munich meeting with the use of force by Azerbaijan.

Sarkisian said that Armenia wants a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict "but we will not allow any [use of force] against Nagorno-Karabakh and are ready to counter [such actions] with the toughest means."