Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Armenia in border plea to Turkey

Turkish President Abdullah Gul alongside Armenian President Serge Sarkisian
Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Armenia in September

Armenia has urged Turkey to re-open the two countries' common border, which has been closed since 1993.

Speaking in Istanbul, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said improving relations would boost regional peace and stability.

The two nations have waged a war of words over what Armenia says was the genocide of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I.

Turkey denies any genocide, saying the deaths were a part of the war.

"Relations should be improved without any preconditions," Mr Nalbandian told a news conference in Istanbul.

Armenian refugees attend a burial in a deportation camp 1915 (picture taken by German photographer Armin Wegner; reproduced here by permission of the Armenian National Institute)
The handling of the killings is still extremely sensitive

"I think re-opening the border is also among Turkey's priorities; it is important for both countries' interests," the minister added.

The two countries have had no diplomatic ties since Armenia became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Their common border has remained closed since the war between Armenia and Turkey's ally, Azerbaijan, over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Earlier this year, Turkish President Abdullah Gul made a landmark visit to Armenia - the first Turkish leader to do so.

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Country profile: Armenia
03 Jul 08 |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Nagorno-Karabakh
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