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Regional

Hillary Clinton claims Armenian Foreign Minister was balking at signing Armenian-Turkish protocols

  • Friday, June 13, 16:32

 Hillary Rodham Clinton's book "Hard Choices," which hit bookstores Tuesday, claims that Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian was balking at signing the Armenian-Turkish protocols in Zurich in 2009.  

"On October 9, I flew to Zurich to witness the accord signing alongside the Foreign Ministers of France, Russia, and Switzerland and the EU High Representative. The next afternoon I left my hotel and headed to the University of Zurich for the ceremony. But there was a problem. Nalbandian, the Armenian Minister, was balking. He was worried about what Davutoglu planned to say at the signing and suddenly was refusing to leave the hotel. It seemed as if months of careful negotiations might fall apart. My motorcade turned around and raced back to Zurich's Dolder Grand Hotel. While I waited in the car, Phil Gordon went upstairs along with the lead Swiss negotiator to find Nalbandian and take him to the signing ceremony. But he wouldn't budge. Phil came back downstairs to report and joined me in the car, which was now parked behind the hotel. I started working the phones. On one cell I dialed Nalbandian, and I got Davutoglu on a second line. We went back and forth for an hour, trying to bridge the gap and coax Nalbandian out of his room. 'This is too important, this has to be seen through, we have come too far,' I told them," Clinton recounts in her book.

"Finally I went upstairs to talk to Nalbandian in person. What if we simply canceled the speaking portionof the event? Sign the document, make no statements, and leave. Both sides agreed, and Nalbandian at last emerged. We walked downstairs, and he got in my sedan to drive to the university. It took another hour and a half of hand-holding and arm-twisting at the site to get them to actually walk onstage. We were three hours late, but at least we were there. We held the expedited signing ceremony, and then, with a huge sense of relief, everyone left as fast as they could. To date, neither country has ratified the protocols, and the process remains stalled; however, at a December 2013 conference, the Turkish and Armenian Foreign Ministers met for two hours to discuss how to move forward, and I still hope for a breakthrough," explained Clinton in "Hard Choices."

In her book, Clinton hints that she was the architect of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, elevating the US's role in the doomed process, to which both Armenia and Turkey have laid claim.

In her book, Clinton claims that Turkey's "Zero Problems With Neighbors" policy was a window through which the US could negotiate a thaw in Turkey-Armenia relations, with hopes of opening the border and initiating diplomatic relations between the two countries.

She claimed that "Hard-liners in both countries were implacably opposed to compromise and put considerable pressure on each government not to make a deal," without mentioning that her own American constituents were vocally opposed to this sham, which was concocted by her predecessors in the Bush Administration and behind which the Obama Administration rabidly threw its support.

Whatever the case, Clinton explicitly says that the aim of the protocols and other initiatives in the Caucasus was not necessarily to achieve peace but to advance US interests.

"The conflict in the Caucasus posed problems for our plans for piping Central Asian natural gas to European markets to lessen their dependence on Russian energy," Clinton writes.

Armenia and Turkey signed the "Protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations" and the "Protocol on the development of bilateral relations" in Zurich on October 10.  Following Turkey's unwillingness to ratify the protocols and attempts to link ratification with the Karabakh conflict made President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan sign a decree on suspension of the procedure of ratification of the Armenian -Turkish protocols.

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