YEREVAN, Armenia (AFP) – Armenia said Tuesday that it will designate a special envoy to work on improving relations with arch-foe Turkey, a day after Ankara made a similar declaration.

Since the 1990s, Armenia and Turkey have had no official diplomatic relations and their common border has been closed.

Their relationship has been strained by mass executions of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during WWI, which Yerevan claims are genocide.

Turkey’s support for Armenia’s Caucasus neighbour Azerbaijan, which waged a brief but deadly war with Yerevan last year for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area, has strained relations.

On Facebook, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vahan Hunanyan stated, “Armenia has always been and continues ready for the process of normalisation of ties with Turkey, without preconditions.”

“We welcome Turkey’s foreign minister’s announcement of the appointment of a special representative for ties normalisation, and we affirm that the Armenian side will similarly designate a special representative for conversation.”

“We will correspondingly select special delegates for normalisation with Armenia,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.

“We will also launch charter flights between Yerevan and Istanbul in the near future,” he told lawmakers in Ankara.

“We are conducting diplomatic efforts with loving Azerbaijan to establish regional peace and development in the Caucasus,” he continued.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ankara’s Turkic-speaking ally, waged a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh last October, which lost 6,500 lives.

Yerevan ceded swaths of land it had controlled for decades when Russia arranged a truce.

The European Council President Charles Michel will host a meeting between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday afternoon in Brussels.

On November 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin convened a meeting of world leaders to discuss ways to reduce post-war tensions.

In 2009, Armenia and Turkey agreed to normalise ties, which would have resulted in the opening of their shared border.

However, Yerevan never signed the accord and abandoned the process in 2018.

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