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U.S. Praises Armenian High Court Ruling On Turkish Protocols

The praise follows a conversation between Turkey Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (in file photo) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
YEREVAN -- The United States says it welcomes a controversial ruling by Armenia's Constitutional Court that Turkey has criticized as running counter to Turkish-Armenian protocols aimed at rapprochement, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said in a statement sent to RFE/RL that Washington views "the court decision as a positive step forward in the ratification process of the normalization protocols between Turkey and Armenia."

He added in the January 22 statement that the court decision "permits the protocols, as they were negotiated and signed, to move forward towards parliamentary ratification, and does not appear to limit or qualify them in any way."

Gordon said, "We are confident that both Turkey and Armenia take their commitment to the protocols seriously, and we urge timely ratification of the protocols by both countries."

The comments follow a reported phone conversation between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The Anatolia news agency quoted an unnamed Turkish Foreign Ministry official as saying that Davutoglu reiterated to Clinton Ankara's claims that the Armenian court's interpretation of the protocols' implications contradicts their "essence and substance."

Davutoglu said earlier on January 22 that he will urge his U.S. and Swiss counterparts to put pressure on the Armenian leadership.

Washington's reaction to the Turkish claims will boost Yerevan's position in the row, which has raised more questions about the success of the U.S.-backed normalization process. U.S. officials have repeatedly urged Armenia and Turkey to implement the landmark agreements without preconditions and within a "reasonable" period of time.

Gordon said that Washington's position is unchanged. "We support the normalization process, which we believe contributes to peace and stability in the Caucasus. What is critical is to keep the parties focused on the vital importance of moving ahead."