EBRD Says Armenia Supports Turkey Bid


Agence France Presse
September 24, 2008 Wednesday 4:55 PM GMT

Armenia has voiced its support for plans within the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development to invest in Turkey, a bank spokesman
told AFP on Wednesday.

The EBRD’s board of directors voted overwhelmingly to support Ankara’s
request that its status within the bank be changed to a country of
operations from a shareholder state.

A source close to the bank, who declined to be identified, told AFP
that the sole dissenting vote was that of Armenia.

But according to an EBRD spokesman, Armenia "made clear" on Wednesday
that it backed Turkey’s bid.

Turkey has been a shareholder of the EBRD since its inception in 1991,
when it was created to encourage former Soviet countries to adopt
market economies. Ankara asked in April that its status within the
bank be changed.

Its application for the change said the EBRD could contribute to
market-promoting initiatives that would be "immensely beneficial for
the Bank as well as for Turkey."

The EBRD board, which represents the bank’s 63 governors, reached its
decision after a "strategic review of the implications of investment
in Turkey" and the issue will now go before the bank’s governors at
the end of next month.

The London-based bank has shareholders comprising 61 national
governments, including the United States and Turkey, as well as the
European Community and European Investment Bank.

The bank currently invests in 28 countries in central and eastern
Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Turkey has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Armenia because
of its international campaign for the recognition of the mass killings
of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish head of state
to visit Armenia when he travelled to Yerevan this month to watch a
World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries on an
invitation by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian.

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