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IMF, World Bank Support Turkish-Armenian Border Reopening

YEREVAN -- International Monetary Fund and World Bank officials say the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border -- a key provision of the proposed rapproachment between the two countries -- will boost the economy of both countries, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Speaking on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank meetings in Istanbul, Indermit Gill, the World Bank's chief economist for Europe and Central Asia, told RFE/RL that "if you want to see a whole body of evidence as to why this [opening of the border] is a good thing" then "you should actually look at Western Europe, which was a very divided neighborhood not so long ago."

Ratna Sahay, deputy director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department, suggested that an open border would also benefit the large Armenian diaspora, "which is also going to be on the lookout for growing opportunities in Armenia."

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has often stressed the economic importance of the reopening of the border and reminded Armenians in a September 30 foreign policy speech that Turkey is part of the European customs union and the World Trade Organization.

Armenia took a large loan from the IMF earlier this year to keep its economy afloat after being hard hit by the global financial crisis.