Armenia-Turkey Normalization ‘Continues,’ Says Swiss Foreign Minister

BERN (ArmRadio)—Active negotiations between Turkey and Armenia to normalize their strained relations are ongoing and the process cannot be stopped, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said Wednesday after a meeting in Bern with the Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly.

“Switzerland is resolute in advancing the process,” Calmy-Rey said, noting that Armenia “cannot stop [the process] half-way.”

In her talks with Abrahamyan, the Swiss Foreign Minister said the sides need to work harder to create “favorable conditions for the continuation of the process,” which was ostensibly frozen by Armenia this April.

The dramatic normalization process, which culminated in the signing of protocols in Zurich in October 2009, fizzled out after Ankara began linking the resolution of the Karabakh conflict to the normalization of its ties with Armenia. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian accused Ankara on reneging on its agreements and froze the protocols’ ratification process in the Armenian Parliament.

Calmy-Rey praised the Armenian President for taking the “step to normalize relations with Turkey,” describing his decision to pursue talks as “politically courageous.”

Abrahamyan, for his part, told Calmy-Rey that his government considered the development of relations with Switzerland a priority, especially in terms of its mediating role in the Armenia-Turkey normalization process.

An Armenian Embassy in Switzerland, Abrahamian said, could “give new impetus to the development of relations and cooperation between the two countries.” He also noted Armenia’s appreciation for Switzerland’s help in implementing socio-economic reforms in Armenia.

Abrahamyan was in Switzerland at the head of an Armenian parliamentary delegation, consisting of the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committees on Healthcare, Maternity and Childhood, the Chairman of the Armenia-Switzerland Friendship Group, and the Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs. Armenia’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Charles Aznavour also joined the delegation.

During the visit, the Armenian Parliamentary leader also met with his counterpart, Pascale Bruderer Wyss, the President of the Swiss National Council. The two discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and Turkish-Armenian relations.

Bruderer said Switzerland supports the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict within the format of the OSCE Minsk Group and expressed hope that “the Armenia-Turkey dialogue will continue.”

“We’ll do our best to ensure the normalisation process continues,” she said.

Abrahamyan, however, warned Bruderer that Azerbaijan’s heightening military rhetoric and increasing ceasefire violations will prevent “any progress in the peace process.”

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