Germany hopes for Armenian-Turkish reconciliation: Foreign Minister

Anna Nazaryan
Public Radio of Armenia

“We respect Armenia’s decision to join the Eurasian Economic Union and hope that it will not hinder the development of relations with the EU,” German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said at a joint press conference with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.

Touching upon the forthcoming Sargyan-Aliyev meeting scheduled for October 27 the German FM voiced hope it would mark progress in the process of settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

Edward Nalbndian said, in turn, Armenia is doing its best to achieve a peaceful resolution of the issue, and I ready to move forward on the basis of the statements adopted by the leaders of the co-chairing countries. He added, however, that Azerbaijan has not demonstrated such willingness so far.

As for the Armenian Turkish relations, Minister Steinmeier said Germany hopes for certain signs of reconciliation.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany’s long road to partnership with France after two world wars could serve as an example following the 1915 slaughter and exile of Armenians during World War I.

“When it comes to the bloody history of the 20th century, in which Germany started two world wars, we should not present ourselves as the schoolmasters,” he told reporters after talks with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian in Yerevan. “But we can offer our experience.”

He noted that he had also told Turkish leaders earlier this year that Germany and France had worked hard to overcome the hatred of previous generations.

“After a difficult century, we have reconciled by not keeping silent about our historical responsibility” but by “working through the horrific things that happened,” he said.

“If our experience can be helpful, we are ready to offer it,” he said, citing youth exchange programs as one initiative that had helped to build bridges. “But that must be decided here.”

Nalbandian said Armenia was ready to reduce tensions with Turkey but insisted the ball was in Ankara’s court.

“Five years ago, on Armenia’s initiative, we started a process that led to the signature of the Zurich protocols — to make the normalization of our relations possible,” he said. “But Turkey is not respecting these agreements.”

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