YEREVAN — Armenia and Turkey will likely start “very soon” mutual cargo shipments by air in line with an interim agreement reached by them earlier this year, a senior Armenian official said on Friday.
The agreement announced in July followed four rounds of normalization talks held by Turkish and Armenian envoys. The two sides also agreed to open the Turkish-Armenian border to citizens of third countries.
“It is very likely that [the agreement on air cargo traffic] will be implemented very soon,” the Armenian negotiator, Ruben Rubinyan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. He gave no concrete dates.
Citing unnamed diplomatic sources, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported on Thursday that the cargo shipments between the two neighboring states could start before the end of this month. It said the partial opening of their border is also on the cards.
Officials from various Armenian and Turkish government agencies met at a border section in early November to discuss preparations for what will likely be modest cross-border traffic.
Turkey has for decades made the full opening of the frontier and the establishment of diplomatic relations with Armenia conditional on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal acceptable to Azerbaijan. Turkish leaders have repeatedly reaffirmed this precondition since the start of the normalization talks with Yerevan in January this year.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on October 17 that Armenia must also agree to open an extraterritorial land corridor connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave. Yerevan rejected the demand.