Turkey-Armenia accord concerns Europe

April 27, 2010 at 12:06 PM

BRUSSELS, April 27 (UPI) -- A decision by Armenia to suspend ratification of a treaty aimed at normalizing relations with Turkey is cause for concern, the European Union said.

The ruling coalition in Armenia issued a statement Monday saying it halted ratification of an accord signed in October because of a refusal by Turkey to move ahead with the deal without preconditions.

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs in the European Union, said through her office that the EU was "pleased" that Armenia remains committed to normalization. "But at the same time expresses concern about the loss of momentum in this process."

Ashton said the European Union calls on both countries to remain steadfast in the normalization process "without preconditions and in a reasonable time frame."

Armenia accuses Turkey of committing genocide against its population during the Ottoman Empire. Recent ties are strained further over issues regarding the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Armenia is upset that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is linking the normalization process to Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The EU will continue to provide its political and technical support to this process and stands ready to help implementing the steps agreed between the two countries," Ashton added.

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