In a cable released by the whistle blower web site WikiLeaks on Sept. 1, Oskanian restated his concerns about the future of Armenian-Turkish rapprochement during his meeting with US Ambassador to Armenia, Marie Yovanovitch on Febr. 10 last year. US ambassador and Oskanian met to discuss the current state of Armenia-Turkey relations, prospects for ratification of protocols on normalization of relations and establishment of diplomatic ties, and efforts to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
The cable said Oskanian criticized the manner in which Sarksyan has handled the entire reconciliation process and that in his view, the president "put the cart before the horse." Oskanian did not understand why Sarksyan began the process with Turkey so publicly, and how unprepared he was for the negative public reaction.
According to Oskanian, prior to embarking upon normalization with Turkey, the Armenian government had a document for solving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict -- the Madrid Principles -- that was promising to both sides. He said the president should have expended his political capital with Armenian citizens and the diaspora to persuade them that some of the Nagorno-Karabakh territories must be returned to Azerbaijan, adding that with Nagorno-Karabakh settled, he could have then turned to the issues with Turkey.
Oskanian said this had been his plan as foreign minister: first reach agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh, and then bring in Turkey.
Turkey and Armenia signed twin protocols in 2009 to bury a century of hostilities but the two countries did not have enough political will to move forward with the protocols. Turkey insisted after the signing of the protocols that there should be a meaningful breakthrough in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a condition for Turkey to ratify the protocols. Armenia suspend the ratification process on April 22 last year, accusing Turkey of hampering the normalization.
When asked by the ambassador on how to move the process forward, Oskanian responded that there must be some movement from Turkey, and that the protocols cannot be left in abeyance while the parties shift their attention to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. He believes the Turkish government must be the first to take action, perhaps opening the border for limited movement of pedestrian traffic or third-country nationals.
The cable revealed that based on Oskanian's conversations with his Turkish contacts, the Turkish government is not offering room to maneuver and they are not interested in moving the process forward.
Oskanian suggested that communication between Turkey and Armenia should not be occurring through the media or third parties and that a reset to this process is needed, with additional high-level meetings between the presidents that would be kept confidential and focused on reaching an oral agreement.
According to the cable, while Oskanian believes that the Armenian government will not ratify the protocols unless it is assured that Turkey will follow suit, he believed it would be best for Sarksyan to use his majority in the Armenian Parliament to ratify the protocols now, while there is still some support and there are no explicit links between the protocols and Nagorno Karabakh.
Oskanian: Military balance in favor of Azerbaijan
The cable revealed that Oskanian thought the increasingly bellicose rhetoric from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is not helping matters with Turkey. Oskanian said Turkey and Azerbaijan are "tightening the screws" on Armenia from both sides.
The ambassador wrote while a new war over Nagorno-Karabakh would be a risky proposition for Azerbaijan, Oskanian sees two elements that indicate the situation there is worsening: 1) people are losing hope in the diplomatic process to settle the issue; and 2) the military balance in the area is shifting in favor of Azerbaijan.
Oskanian claimed in the cable that the Turkish-Armenian protocols are preventing any resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and if not for the protocols, Oskanian said he could see Sarksyan pushing for the return of five of the seven Nagorno-Karabakh regions to Azerbaijan while keeping the remaining two for future discussions.
Oskanian said yet now it would be "political suicide" to do so because such a move would be seen as giving credence to the conspiracy theories that claim there is a hidden provision in the protocols that link them to concessions on NK.
American ambassador: Armenia not moving forward on Madrid Principles
The ambassador wrote that she reiterated the position of the American administration that it is more beneficial to continue to move forward than to stop completely, which is what it appears Armenia is doing.
Oskanian said if the Armenian government does not like the revised wording of the Madrid Principles, then it should propose its own revisions and not simply reject the principles out of hand. In Oskanian's view, the Armenian government should write its own proposal in such a way that is "logical," and so the Minsk Group Co-Chairs will understand that Armenia is committed to the process even if the proposed revisions would be unacceptable to Azerbaijan.
He said he sees pressure growing on Aliyev to take action on Nagorno-Karabakh. In his view, Azerbaijan will not accept indefinitely what it sees as an occupation of its territory. As for the original Madrid Principles, Oskanian said Armenia had been satisfied with the wording, and it would not have been the end of the world if Armenia had been forced to accept it.