Kars Gumri Border to Open

JERUSALEM (RFE/RL)–During his unofficial visit to Israel Armenian President Robert Kocharian stressed the importance of normalizing Armenian-Israeli relation. He discussed Armenian-Israeli relations with journalists in his Jerusalem hotel Wednesday.

Kocharian said that Armenia cannot ignore the fact that Israel is an influential player in the International arena. He said that the improvement of bilateral ties with Israel is not directed against third countries such as Iran or Syria.

According to the Armenian President–Israel is very active in Georgia and Azerbaijan–and it has a strategic alliance with Turkey. Kocharian told journalists that the Israeli-Turkish alliance could have dangerous implications for Armenia if Azerbaijan too joins it. "The alliance itself is not dangerous if we were not in a conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh," Kocharian said–adding that to ease these fears Armenia’should strengthen its ties with Israel.

Kocharian met with the President of Israel Ezer Weizman Thursday. Before his departure from Israel later Thursday–he is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Armenian President visited Israel to participate in an annual old calendar Christmas celebration in the Armenian Church of Jerusalem.

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