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Turkey-Armenia Joint Declaration Sets New Course

Monday, Sept. 7, 2009

In a major diplomatic breakthrough, Turkey and Armenia declared their intent to restore relations and open their sealed border in a joint statement issued last week. Under Swiss auspices, the two countries outlined their collective plan to sign into action two protocols, one restoring diplomatic relations and the other to establish bilateral ties within six weeks. According to the joint statement, the protocols will enter into force only after they have been ratified by both countries' parliaments.

The joint declaration marks the culmination of rapprochement efforts that began with Turkish President Abdullah Gül's "football diplomacy" visit to Yerevan in September 2008. Those efforts were soon stalled by the chronic political contentions surrounding historic Ottoman-Armenian genocide claims and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-supported breakaway province of Azerbaijan. Turkey's demonstrated persistence on engaging Armenia reveals its commitment to enhancing its image as a regional statesman, as well as its abiding strategic security concerns and economic interests in resolving the conflicts of the Caucasus. ...

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