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Swiss mediate Armenia-Turkey talks

Historical foes Armenia and Turkey took a step toward reconciliation on Monday by announcing they would launch final talks aimed at establishing diplomatic ties.

This content was published on September 1, 2009 - 12:10

Both sides said in a joint statement, also signed by Switzerland as mediator, that they expected the talks to take six weeks and to end with an agreement setting up and developing diplomatic ties.

However the neighbouring countries will not discuss the deepest source of their enmity: the First World War massacres and deportation of Armenians under Ottoman rule.

However the rapprochement has to be ratified by both national parliaments.

Turkey has had no diplomatic ties with Armenia since the former Soviet state gained independence in 1991. The border between the countries has been closed since 1993 but could be open again by the end of this year.

Another bone of contention between the neighbours is the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azeri region that was occupied by Armenian troops.

With Swiss mediation, both countries agreed in April to a road map for normalisation of their relations.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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