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Signing Of Turkish-Armenian Deal ‘Set For October 13’


Armenia -- Turkish President Gul (C) with Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian (L) after Gul's arrival in Yerevan on 06sep2008

Armenia -- Turkish President Gul (C) with Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian (L) after Gul's arrival in Yerevan on 06sep2008

Official Ankara and Yerevan have pointedly declined to refute media reports that the signing of landmark agreements on the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations has been scheduled for October 13.

Citing unnamed Turkish diplomats, the “Milliyet” daily reported on Thursday that the foreign ministers of the two neighboring states will sign the two protocols the day before the return match of Armenia’s and Turkey’s national football teams. Turkish President Abdullah Gul and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian are expected to attend the World Cup qualification game to be played in the Turkish city of Bursa.

Commenting on the “Milliyet” report, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin was quoted by AFP news agency as saying, “We have a month.... I think the signing will be sometime around this time.”

The Foreign Ministry in Yerevan also did not deny the information. “We will inform the public about all actions stemming from the Turkish-Armenian protocols, including the signing dates, in due time,” the ministry spokesman, Tigran Balayan, told RFE/RL.

Another Armenian diplomatic source said earlier this week that the deal is unlikely to be signed during Sarkisian's visit to Turkey. The source said the signing ceremony will most probably take place in a third country.

The protocols envisage the normalization of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and reopening of their open. In a joint statement issued on August 31, the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministries said they will be signed within the next six weeks. The documents have to be ratified by the parliaments of both countries in order to take effect.
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