BAKU: Interview w/Turkish minister on re-opening of Armenian border

Azeri TV interviews Turkish minister on re-opening of Armenian border

ANS TV, Baku
14 Apr 04

[Presenter] The visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Turkey
is continuing. In about three hours he will deliver a speech at the
Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Aliyev has already had several meetings. We will now have a link with
Turkey. ANS TV’s special correspondent seconded to Turkey, Qanira
Pasayeva, is joining us now. Qanira, who has the president met?

[Correspondent Pasayeva over telephone] Aliyev has attended the
opening ceremony of a park named after [the late Azerbaijani
President] Heydar Aliyev. In future, it will become a large recreation
area. Ilham Aliyev himself planted a tree there.

[Passage omitted: Minor details]

One of the main issues which attracted a lot of attention from the
mass media was the re-opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. The
protest staged recently by Azerbaijani journalists here in this regard
is still being discussed.

Although no statements have been made concerning this issue, Turkish
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has given an exclusive interview to ANS
TV in the wake of the talks.

He said he was informed about those protests and about Azerbaijan’s
concerns. The Turkish government’s official position in the wake of
this meeting is that the Turkish-Armenian border will not be re-opened
unless Armenia is ready to make compromises on the Nagornyy Karabakh
conflict, withdraws its troops from the occupied territories, and
unless the US-based Armenian lobby drops its false claims about the
alleged Armenian genocide, Gul said. He said he had voiced this stance
during a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Vardan Oskanyan. Gul
said he would inform the Armenian government about the final and firm
position of Turkey in this regard during their next meeting.

Following the meetings with Aliyev, the Turkish government has decided
to step up its efforts to resolve the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict.