Opening of borders between Turkey, Armenia to accelerate peace in South Caucasus: Links Executive Director

Politics Materials 1 April 2009 13:11 (UTC +04:00)
Opening of borders between Turkey, Armenia to accelerate peace in South Caucasus: Links Executive Director

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 31 / Trend , E.Rustamov/

Executive Director of LINKS Dennis Sammut belives that the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and the opening of the border between them will help the Karabakh conflict resolution process and the two sides will move to achieve this as soon as possible

A high ranking official of the European Union expressed a hope that the Turkey-Armenia borders to be opened after President Obama's visit to Turkey in April, the Turkish Sabah newspaper reported.

Obma will make a visit to Turkey on April 5-7.

"Armenia and Turkey have a number of outstanding issues in their relations that are quite separate from the Karabakh conflict. Recently relations between the two countries have improved and there is now talk that they will establish diplomatic relations and open their border. This will be an important and positive development for the whole region and sooner or later all the countries of the region will benefit from this development," Sammut wrote to Trend via e-mail.

Turkey cannot contribute fully to the peace process as long as it does not have diplomatic relations with Armenia.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

The opening of the border will give Armenia some space to manoeuvre and will make it less dependant on Russia.

Head of the LINKS called Azerbaijani political experts to be realistic and assess the situation through today's reality.   

On the other hand some Armenian commentators are also not realistic. They seem to think that Armenia can have friendly political and economic relations with Azerbaijan without at least some progress to solution of the Karabakh conflict. It is not logical to expect this to happen, Sammut said.