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Medvedev Gets Armenian, Turkish Presidents To Talk

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian in Moscow
Russian President Dmitry Medvedvev had visiting Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian join a telephone call he had placed to his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to pay condolences for the hundreds of victims perished in an earthquake in Turkey on October 23.

The Kremlin said Sarkisian "joined the conversation, relaying his sincere sympathies and support to the Turkish president," adding that Gul "expressed gratitude" for Sarkisian's solidarity."

Relations between Turkey and Armenia have suffered for years over the mass killings of up to 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians during World War I and Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sarkisian was in Moscow on October 24 for a state visit expected to focus on efforts to resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Armenian-majority enclave located within Azerbaijan.

After talks with Medvedev, Sarkisian thanked the Russian president for his role in such efforts:

"With the mediation and personal participation of President Medvedev, the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have held 10 meetings and signed three declarations that have helped preserve a fragile peace," he said, adding that this has contributed to "some emerging signs of trust between the parties."

Ethnic Armenian forces backed by Yerevan won control over Nagorno-Karabakh in a war that ended with a ceasefire in 1994. But the territory's final status remains unresolved, and the situation in and around the enclave remains volatile.

Russia is also a key trading partner of Armenia, and Medvedev announced on October 24 that bilateral trade turnover between the countries would exceed $1 billion this year, compared to $860 million in 2010.

compiled from agency reports