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11 Jul, 2009 14:18

Armenia wants ties with Turkey restored – official

Armenia has reaffirmed it wants to restore ties with Turkey and open its borders without any preconditions.

The statement came from the Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan, speaking at a joint news conference with the US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.

“As it was previously said, Armenia is ready to normalize relations with Turkey without any preconditions,” he said. “Now we are waiting for a response from the Turkish side.”

Turkey closed its borders with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh war – the ethnic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Turkey is setting down several conditions for restoring relations with Armenia, including its refusal to acknowledge the death of more than one and a half million Armenians during the First World War as genocide.

The countries’ envoys have held talks behind closed doors in Switzerland, which has acted as mediator for two years.

In April both sides agreed a road map that would set them on the path to restoring relations.