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Armenia/turkey

Plan to normalize ties advances

September 01, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Armenia and Turkey said they would complete talks in six weeks and sign an accord on reestablishing relations after almost a century of hostility.

The neighbors have a history of distrust stemming from the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I, which Turkey has long denied was genocide.

The two countries announced in April that they had agreed to a plan for normalizing relations, but gave no details. Diplomats said it included the reopening of the border and the establishment of diplomatic ties.

The new joint statement, issued by the foreign ministries of Armenia and Turkey and mediator Switzerland, said they would begin "internal political consultations" on protocols to establish diplomatic ties and develop bilateral relations.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with fellow Muslim nation Azerbaijan, which was fighting Armenian-backed separatists in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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