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Solana Advocates Opened Borders Between Armenia, Turkey

By Hrair Tamrazian in Prague

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana received visiting Armenian President Robert Kocharian in Brussels on Thursday.

In a joint press conference following their meeting, Solana advocating the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border as far as possible.

Answering a journalist’s question whether it would not be more logical to re-operate the Kars-Gyumri railroad than spend millions of dollars to build a new Kars-Akhalkalak railroad bypassing Armenia, Solana said: “We [with President Kocharian] talked about this matter. We talked about Armenia’s border with Turkey… We will do everything possible. The more the Armenian-Turkish border is opened the better. In that case there will be no longer the need to have this new railroad.”

“If that is a case, it will require the effort of both sides to see how the border between Armenia and Turkey can be opened,” Solana added.

Speaking about his meeting with Kocharian, the EU official said they discussed two main issues, namely the relationship between the European Union and Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“I hope very much that the neighborhood policy that we have established in the European Union will be a constructive and positive help for Armenia in its relations with the European Union,” said Solana. “Still we have not completely started the negotiation, but we hope very much that it will be done in the foreseeable future.”

Speaking about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the EU official expressed a hope that “everyone will use the opening opportunity.”

“As you know, the European Union is willing to help. If we can do something in that direction in trying to help, we will do it,” Solana added.

He said that the conversation with the Armenian president was “very solid” and “very constructive”.

“I am very pleased and very happy to have the president here and have a very frank and direct exchange of views,” he said.

President Robert Kocharian, for his part, said that his meetings with Javier Solana have always been “frank and meaningful”.

“As it was already mentioned, we have discussed the possibility of settling the Karabakh problem. We think that both him and the European Union indeed can play an active role both in the negotiating process and especially during the stage of practical steps after a successful completion of talks,” Kocharian said.

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