http://gdb.rferl.org/426be406-b1ea-4be8-90ab-073d443d9dfe_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/426be406-b1ea-4be8-90ab-073d443d9dfe_mw800_mh600.jpg
January 14, 2007 -- Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakossian said today that it's vital for his country and Turkey -- which do not have diplomatic ties -- to communicate with each other at the government level.
Kirakossian said Turkey should have more equal policies with all countries of the region and should refrain from policies that leave Armenia in isolation and outside regional programs.
Turkey has kept the border with Armenia closed for years, due in part to Yerevan's backing of separatists in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in Azerbaijan.
The deputy minister was speaking at a conference in Yerevan on Turkish-Armenian relations.
Other delegates at the conference said that opening the border would increase Turkey's access to the Turkic-speaking countries of Central Asia, where Ankara has sought a greater role since the Soviet Union's 1991 collapse.
They said it would also increase trade and boost tourism -- Armenians visit Turkey on vacation in large numbers despite the lack of governmental ties.