Turkey, Armenia ink historic accord

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Turkey and Armenia have adopted a roadmap to normalise ties afteryears of hostility which saw the two countries closing their borders in1993.

The two nations, which share a bitter history since the killings ofArmenians by Ottoman forces in 1915, took the step following intensivemediation by Switzerland.

Analysts say the move is likely to have major geopolitical implications at atime when Armenia, Turkey, Russia and Iran are engaged in efforts to drawnew energy corridors towards Europe.

The agreement is expected to upset pro-west Azerbaijan, which is alsocompeting for a share of the western energy markets. In a joint statement,Foreign Ministries of Turkey, Armenia and Switzerland hoped that the dealwould strengthen peace, stability and security in the whole region.Turkey has also advocated discussions between rivals Armenia and Azerbaijanon the status of the region.

Envoys from Turkey and Armenia have been holding closed door talks inSwitzerland for the last two years. The thaw between the two became visiblewhen Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited the Armenian capital Yerevan, toattend a 2010 World Cup qualifier between the two countries. His host, theArmenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, was also present. Mr. Sargsyan now plansto visit Turkey in October.

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