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ANKARA: Turkish president to attend football match in Armenia

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  • ANKARA: Turkish president to attend football match in Armenia

    Turkish Press
    Aug 30 2008

    Turkish president to attend football match in Armenia: report
    Published: 8/30/2008

    ANKARA - President Abdullah Gul will travel to Armenia next week to
    attend World Cup qualifiers between Armenia and Turkey, in a landmark
    visit expected to ease relations between the two foes, a press report
    said Saturday.

    Gul's office would not confirm the report by the daily newspaper Vatan
    but if the visit takes place on September 6 it could help improve
    relations between the neighbours.

    Vatan said Gul would travel to Yerevan for the match and return to
    Turkey the same evening. The president's office will announce the trip
    within the next few days, it added.

    Gul said on Tuesday that he had not taken a decision on whether to go
    to Yerevan.

    He sent a reconciliatory message to Armenia earlier this month, saying
    Turkey was "no enemy" to any country in its region.

    The conflict between Georgia and Russia shows the need for "early
    measures to resolve frozen problems in the region and... prevent
    instability in the future," said Gul in televised remarks.

    In 1993 Turkey shut its border with its eastern neighbour in a show of
    solidarity with its close ally Azerbaijan, then at war with Armenia,
    dealing a heavy economic blow to the impoverished nation in the
    strategic Caucasus region.

    Diplomats from Armenia and Turkey met secretly in Switzerland in July
    in a fresh effort to normalise ties following three rounds of talks in
    2005 and 2006. No progress is so far publicly known.

    Armenian and Turkish leaders have meanwhile met on the sidelines of
    international gatherings, including a Black Sea regional summit in
    Istanbul last year.