Today’s meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton started with about two hours’ delay.
The Armenian official spoke about the relations between the two countries, noting that Armenia marked this year the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Hillary Clinton found it symbolic, saying that 20 years ago Armenia made a decisive step by choosing the democratic way of development. In this context, she hailed the efforts of Armenia’s authorities. The U.S. official also expressed satisfaction with the assessment of international observation missions connected with the results of the May 6 parliamentary elections in Armenia.
“All candidates were given equal opportunities to make their programs heard to the public,” she said.
Despite certain shortcomings, the elections were complaint with international standards, said the U.S. Secretary of State. At the same time, she expressed hope that the upcoming presidential elections would be even better.
Further, Hillary Clinton referred to the relations between Armenia and Turkey, the controversial Armenian-Turkish Protocols, as well as the strained relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
While commenting on Azeri sabotage in Armenia’s Tavush province which coincided with her visit to the South Caucasus region, the U.S. Secretary of State said, “The USA is interested in establishing peace in this region.”
Then she reiterated her words which she had said two years before at the RA President’s residence: “The ball is still in Turkey’s court.”
The U.S. official stressed that Armenia-Turkey relations must be normalized without preconditions and stressed that the normalization of Ankara-Yerevan ties cannot be linked to Karabakh conflict settlement.
“These two issues should not be interrelated. It is in the interests of both countries to have open borders,” she said.
In his turn, Edward Nalbandian noted that the talks with Turkey ended long ago and the Armenian-Turkish Protocols were the result of those talks.
“Turkey does not respect the documents it signed and has no right to set preconditions,” he stressed.