YEREVAN — Three days after holding his first meeting with a Turkish diplomat, Ruben Rubinyan, deputy speaker of the National Assembly and Armenia’s top negotiator, on Monday expressed caution about the success of negotiations on normalizing Armenia’s relations with Turkey.
Rubinyan and his Turkish counterpart, Serdar Kilic, met in Moscow on Friday. In virtually identical statements, the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries described the talks as “positive and constructive.” They said the two envoys agreed to continue the dialogue “without preconditions.”
“Very substantive issues were not discussed at the first meeting,” Rubinyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service in an interview. “We discussed general approaches to the process. … It’s still too early to say what kind of approaches Turkey will take.”
“We must try to achieve peace in the region and our position is sincere,” he said. “We expect Turkey to demonstrate a similar position because it’s simply impossible for Turkey to pursue a policy in the region without having a relationship with Armenia.”
Rubinyan said that Yerevan hopes that the next round of negotiations will be more “substantive.”
“We are interested in solving real issues and those include, first of all, the opening of the [Turkish-Armenian] border and, secondly, the establishment of diplomatic relations,” he explained.
In recent months Turkish leaders have made statements making the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations conditional on Armenia agreeing to open a land corridor that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave. They have also cited Baku’s demands for a formal Armenian recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Rubinyan insisted that he did not discuss these demands with Kilic in Moscow. Yerevan continues to stand for an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian ties, he said.