Armenia & Turkey sign Agreement

With US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton standing nearby, Turkey and Armenia signed a landmark agreement Saturday.

The accord establishes diplomatic relations and marks the first step to opening up the border between the two nations which has been closed for sixteen years.

"It would be as if Mexico and the United States had their border closed, and economically there would be no traffic between them. So, on one hand, it's positive to open those borders, but not if it has pre-conditions which deal with the genocide and the whatever, so that's where the problems are."

Barlow Der Mugrdechian is the director of Armenian studies at Fresno state. He said some Armenians aren't completely satisfied with Saturday's agreement.

That's because it doesn't directly address the contentious issue of whether the killing of up to one-and-a-half million Armenians during the final days of the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide.

"Turkey says that as a pre-condition to normalizing relations, the Armenians must agree to establish a commission to relook at the genocide and see what happened. It would be as if Germany were to say today well we need to have a commission to really see if there was a holocaust."

But Turkey's Prime Minister said his country was showing goodwill to restore ties with Armenia. Meanwhile, other world leaders, who served as mediators, expressed their support.

Switzerland's prime minister credited both nations and the group of other world leaders who helped broker the agreement.

"If an agreement could be reached, it is due to the merit of both foreign ministers and teams of negotiators with the help of Switzerland."

Before the border can be reopened, the accord has to be ratified by both nations' parliaments, which could happen in the next 2 months.

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