Armenia Drops Opposition to Istanbul As OSCE Summit Venue

Armenia no longer objects to the Turkish city of Istanbul being the venue for the next summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on Thursday. The announcement came several hours before the expiration of a deadline set for OSCE states to decide whether they support choosing Istanbul.

Armenia and Turkey have strained relations stemming from troubled past marred with the 1915 genocide of Armenia’s in the Ottoman Turkey and the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey refuses to establish diplomatic relations and open its land border with Armenia until Yerevan recognizes Azeri sovereignty over the disputed enclave.

Earlier–Armenia insisted that the summit–due in 2000 or 2001 to adopt a charter for the "European security in the 21st century," can not take place in Turkey–accusing it of imposing an "economic blockade" on Armenia and having "poor human rights record."

Explaining the reversal of position–Oskanian said it was made in accordance with Armenia’s "national interests" and aims to promote "regional cooperation."

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