SARGSYAN WILL WATCH FOOTBALL IN TURKEY IF ANKARA OPENS BORDER

Interfax
Aug 31 2009
Russia

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said his trip to Turkey to watch
a football match should not be associated with an improvement in
Armenian-Turkish relations.

Sargsyan said he would travel to Turkey to watch football, if the
border is open by this time, or if the sides come near to this
decision.

"It is one thing if Turkey fulfils our agreements, and another if it
does not. We are bound with agreements. I think it would be normal
and correct for the sides to honor their agreements," Sargsyan said
in an interview with the BBC's Russian service.

"Unfortunately, I have not witnessed to date any strong desire or
drive to fulfill these agreements. Our wish remains the same: to
establish relations without prior terms," the Armenian president said.

Armenia does not see the recognition of the genocide of the Armenians
in 1915 as a preliminary term for establishing relations with Turkey,
but, at the same time, does not view its own position as a compromise,
either, he said.

A second leg between the Armenian and Turkish football teams will
take place in Turkey on October 14. The Armenian president has been
invited to watch. In September 2008, Turkish President Abdullah Gul
visited Yerevan for the first time, and the two presidents watched
a match between the two national football teams.

The Armenian-Turkish border was closed on Ankara's initiative in
1993. Turkey wants Armenia to pull out troops from Nagorno-Karabakh
and to recognize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.