2443) Erdogan: Turkey & Armenia Have A Priority To Build Up Good-Neighborly Relationship / Armenian PM Welcomes Turkish Dialogue Request

28.04.2008 PanARMENIAN.Net Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent a congratulatory message to Tigran Sargsyan on appointment Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, the RA government’s press office reported. The message states, in part,

"Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

On behalf of the Turkish people and myself, I extend to Your Excellency my congratulations on your appointment as Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

I am hopeful that during your tenure in office, our bilateral relations will reach such a standard as may promote peace, tranquility, stability and prosperity in the region. . .

In our capacity of geographically next-door neighbors, we have a priority in respect of finding a definitive resolution to the problems available and building up good-neighborly relationship through dialog.

I am convinced that as favored by this new stage following Armenia’s presidential elections of February 19, 2008, as well as owing to Your Excellency’s efforts, specific steps may be taken towards the settlement of our bilateral relations. With this in mind, I would like to stress that the proposals submitted to your side and which, to our firm belief, may facilitate the progress in this process, still stand on our agenda.

I avail myself of this opportunity to wish good health and happiness to Your Excellency, as well as peace and prosperity – to the people of Armenia."

As a follow-up to Mr Erdogan’s congratulatory message, RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan signed a communication in which he has referred to Mr. Erdogan’s proposal on starting a dialog with a view to settling the bilateral relations. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia stated in particular:

"I wish to thank you for those congratulations and best wishes received on my appointment as Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

I am convinced that through personal contacts, we will be able to promote the settlement of any issue of mutual concern.

I would like to reaffirm the willingness of the Armenian Government to initiate a constructive dialog and establish normal relationship between our two countries without pre-conditions.

I strongly believe that together with you, we have a historical mission to complete by shaping an atmosphere of mutual confidence as otherwise it would be hard to enter into an open dialog and settle the existing problems. I can assure you that our endeavors will be aimed at establishing peace, tolerance and stability in the region.

I avail myself of this opportunity to extend to Your Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration."

Armenian PM Welcomes Turkish Dialogue Request
April 29, 2008, YEREVAN - Reuters
Armenia is ready to start dialogue with Turkey on improving relations if Ankara does not set preconditions to talks, Armenia's new prime minister said Sunday.

The two neighbors have no diplomatic links after Ankara severed ties in protest against Armenian occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, over which Armenia fought Turkey's ally Azerbaijan in a war in the early 1990s.

"I confirm the readiness of the government of Armenia to engage in constructive dialogue and establish relations without preconditions," the press office of the Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarksyan said he wrote in a letter to Turkey.

An Armenian-backed administration controls the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenia and Azerbaijan are still officially at war over the mountainous area.

Last week Turkey's foreign minister said he had sent a letter to Armenia calling for dialogue. Armenia is a mainly Christian state of around three million on the edge of the Caucasus which hosts a pipeline pumping oil to Europe from Asia.

Armenia also accuses Turkey of genocide during the violence at the end of World War I. Turkey denies the accusations and says that both Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in the fighting.

"I assure you that our efforts will be aimed at ensuring peace, tolerance and stability in our region," Sarksyan told Turkey in the letter.

Sarksyan took over as prime minister earlier this month. He had previously been central bank chief.