- - Sunday, July 4, 2010


Medvedev says ties will not be harmed

MOSCOW | Attempts to derail improvements in relations between Russia and the United States will fail, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrote in a letter to U.S. counterpart Barack Obama amid a spy scandal.

Congratulating Mr. Obama on the July 4 Independence Day, he wrote: “[Our] constructive, neighborly relations … make it futile to try to downplay the importance of our achievements.”

While Washington and Moscow have pledged that the U.S. arrests last week of 10 alleged spies working for Russia will not damage ties, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused U.S. authorities of going “out of control.”

Moscow has acknowledged that the spy suspects are Russian citizens. Prosecutors stopped short of accusing them of espionage — seeking classified information — but charged them with being unregistered agents of a foreign government.


Clinton calls on Turkey to move ahead on ties

YEREVAN | Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday called on Turkey to move forward on stalled efforts to normalize ties with neighboring Armenia and on opening the two countries’ shared border.

“We urge Turkey to take the steps that it promised to take and that both sides continue to try to find the opportunities to open doors to reconciliation and normalization,” Mrs. Clinton said at press conference with her Armenian counterpart, Eduard Nalbandian, during a visit to Yerevan.

Armenia and Turkey signed a landmark deal in October to establish diplomatic ties and reopen their border after decades of hostility stemming from World War I-era massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.

But ratification of the deal faltered amid mutual recriminations that the other side was not committed to reconciliation and Armenia in April announced it was removing the agreement from its parliament’s agenda.

Yerevan blamed Ankara for stalling ratification and linking the agreement with Armenia’s conflict with Turkish ally Azerbaijan over the breakaway Nagorno- Karabakh region.

Ankara in turn accused Yerevan of undermining the reconciliation efforts after a January ruling of Armenia’s constitutional court cleared the deal but said it could not contradict Yerevan’s official line that Armenians were victims of genocide under Ottoman Turkey.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were systematically killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, was falling apart.

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