Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan said on Friday he expects his country's border with Turkey, closed since 1993, to reopen by the time he attends a football match between the two countries in October.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 after Armenian-backed separatists occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region owned by Azerbaijan.
President Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia, attending a football match between the countries last year.
Sarksyan has been invited to the return leg of the World Cup qualifying tie on Oct. 14.
"I think that I will cross an open border to attend the next football match," he told a news conference. "Or it could happen before that."
"It might be considered an optimistic approach on our side. It might happen that my optimism is proved wrong."
The thaw in relations has concerned Turkish ally Azerbaijan, which fears the reopening of the border would weaken its hand on Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan, a supplier of oil and gas to the West and crucial to European hopes of reducing dependence on Russia for energy, has said opening the border without progress on Nagrono-Karabakh would be unacceptable.
In comments aimed at allaying concerns in Baku, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday progress on the frozen conflict should come first. He urged the United Nations to step up efforts to resolve the dispute.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is expected to visit Yerevan on April 16 to attend a Black Sea conference.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Nisan 2009, 19:24