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YEREVAN -- NATO says that Turkish-Armenian rapprochement not only helps to reconcile the two nations, but also fosters closer cooperation with Armenia and improves the country's image, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Zbigniew Rybacki, a NATO liaison officer in the Caucasus, said during a news conference in Yerevan on October 14 that Armenia's policy of normalizing relations with Turkey will increase the alliance's cooperation opportunities in the country.

He added that a negative perception of NATO by Armenian society was affected by the lack of relations between Armenia and Turkey.

Rybacki said he believes that as soon as Armenia establishes diplomatic relations with Ankara and the countries' border reopens it will allow Armenians' perception of the alliance to improve.

He said a perceived security threat from Turkey was the main reason for Armenia's reliance on Moscow for defense, and the Russian military presence there has been a major element of Yerevan's national security strategy.