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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Armenian Leader to Pursue Thaw in Turkey

YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said Monday that he would visit Turkey this week despite question marks hanging over a deal to establish diplomatic relations, open borders and end a century of hostility.

Sargsyan confirmed his attendance at Wednesday’s World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia as part of efforts for a rapprochement between the neighbors.

Accords were signed Saturday, but Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that parliamentary ratification would require Armenian concessions in its conflict with Turkish ally Azerbaijan over rebel Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sargsyan will become the first president of an independent Armenia to visit Turkey when he attends the game under tight security in the town of Bursa, northwestern Turkey.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul attended the first leg last year in Yerevan.

“Providing nothing extraordinary happens in these two days, I will go to Bursa and support my favorite team,” Sargsyan told reporters before leaving for talks in Moscow with President Dmitry Medvedev. “I see no serious basis not to accept this invitation.”