ARMENIAN PM DOWNPLAYS PURPORTED DAMAGE OF OPEN BORDER WITH TURKEY

Armenpress
May 1 2006

YEREVAN, MAY 1, ARMENPRESS: Armenian prime minister Andranik Margarian
has endorsed efforts seeking reopening of Turkish-Armenian border
saying open border is instrumental in boosting regional cooperation.

"Relations with Turkey will not damage Armenia," Margarian said in an
interview posted on his Republican Party's official website. Margarian
said Armenia had been saying repeatedly that it is ready to establish
unconditional diplomatic relations with Turkey.

"Unfortunately, Turkey makes opening of border contingent on a set
of conditions which Armenia cannot accept," he said. Margarian also
downplayed apprehensions that open border would result in a flow
of cheap Turkish goods and hit Armenian economy saying Armenian
businessmen would have to revise some of their priorities.

"It is not clear what kind of goods would be imported, should Turkey
open the border, and in what volumes, but concerning the currently
imported Turkish goods we can say that the economy would not damage,"
he said.