Syria offers to help Armenia-Turkey rapprochement



DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad on Monday offered Syria's help in establishing cordial relations between Armenia and Turkey for the sake of regional security and stability.
"Syria is ready to play a role... for the establishment of Turkish-Armenian relations that can ensure normal stability and security in the region," Assad told a joint news conference with Armenian counterpart Serge Sarkissian.



Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
"I think... officials in Armenia have given us their full confidence, which is why we are starting immediate steps, especially since President Sarkissian encouraged us" to do so, he said.
Assad praised Yerevan's decision to normalise its relations with Turkey despite "many difficulties."
Sarkissian, who is in Syria until Wednesday, said his country supported "peaceful solutions and dialogue to resolve the dispute... without questioning and forgeting its history."
Long divided over the issue of mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman empire in World War I, Ankara and Yerevan signed an accord in October to establish diplomatic ties and open their border.
The process has hit snags however, with both countries accusing each other of lacking commitment to the deal.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin perished in a systematic extermination campaign during World War I as the Ottoman empire fell apart.
Turkey counters between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks were killed in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian forces.
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Tuesday, March 23rd 2010
AFP
           


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