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Armenia, Turkiye leaders hold rare phone talks

YEREVAN (AFP) – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan yesterday held a rare phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his office said, as the two countries sought to mend ties.

Armenia and Turkiye have never established formal diplomatic relations and their shared border has been closed since the 1990s.

Pashinyan’s office said that the two leaders have exchanged congratulations on Muslim and religious holidays and “discussed the process of normalisation of bilateral relations”.

In early June, Pashinyan travelled to Ankara to attend Erdogan’s inauguration. He was among the first world leaders to congratulate Erdogan on his re-election.

In December 2021, the two countries appointed special envoys to help normalise relations – a year after Armenia lost to Turkiye’s ally Azerbaijan in a war for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Last year, Turkiye and Armenia resumed their first commercial flights in two years.

In 2009, Ankara and Yerevan signed an agreement to normalise relations, which would have led to the opening up of their shared border.

But Armenia never ratified the deal and in 2018 ditched the process.