YEREVAN — Turkey has no place in and should be kept away from the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiation process, Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian said on Monday in response to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov statement about Turkey’s role in the settlement of Karabakh conflict.

“The only positive impact Ankara could have on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement is the opening of the border with Armenia and ceasing of encouraging Azerbaijan’s provocative and destructive steps,” Kocharian said in comments to News.am.

Visiting Yerevan on Friday, Lavrov said Moscow continues to stand for an unconditional implementation of the 2009 Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements. “But we have a sense that progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement will be key to the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations,” the TASS news agency quoted him as telling Russian reporters.

Lavrov also said that Turkey could play a “positive role” in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process by “unblocking Nagorno-Karabakh” and “ensuring normal economic contacts in the region.” He did not elaborate.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Eduard Sharmazanov also responded to Lavrov’s announcement, saying that Turkey has no business in the Nagorno Karabakh settlement process for several reasons.

“Turkey is not a co-chairing country, and the co-chair can be substituted only through consensus, and we oppose this. Why? Because during these years, Turkey had a one-sided, pro-Azerbaijani stance, and sometimes even a criminal stance”, Sharmazanov said.

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