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Europe

Turkey and Armenia agree on roadmap to normalize relations

Ankara says the two sides will work towards peace, security and stability. Tensions between the countries are rooted in Ottoman-era massacres of Armenians by Turks which Yerevan says were genocide.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul stepping of a plane, waving

Abdullah Gul's attendance at a football match between the two countries was seen by many as a positive first step.

The statement says that "Turkey and Armenia with the mediation of Switzerland have been engaged in intensive efforts to normalize their bilateral ties, develop good neighbourly relations in mutual respect and progress peace, security and stability in the entire region." Both countries had asked Switzerland to mediated the talks.

The announcement comes just ahead of Armenia's day for commemorating the mass killings of Armenians by Turks during World War One in 1915. Yerevan urges the international community to recognize the killings as genocide and says as many as 1.5 million people were killed. Turkey however rejects the claim of genocide arguing that it was merely a phase of unrest in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.

The development comes just weeks after US President Barack Obama, during his visit to Turkey, called on Ankara to reckon with its past, resolve its dispute with Armenia and reopen their shared border.

Efforts to resolve the tensions began last September when Turkish President Abdulla Gul flew to the Armenian capital Yerevan to watch the qualifier between the two countries for the 2010 World Cup.

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