YEREVAN (Arka)—Turkey’s blockade of Armenia should be in the spotlight of international organizations, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said Wednesday after he met with Swiss President, Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Didier Burkhalter in Yerevan.
In his words, it was stressed at the meeting that the Swiss-brokered protocols signed by Armenia and Turkey remain suspended now because Turkey refused to ratify them.
“In any case, we are thankful to Switzerland for its role in this complicated process, and I am sure that this illegal blockade should be in the spotlight of international organizations, including the OSCE,” Sarkisian was quoted by Novosti-Armenia as saying at a joint news conference.
The Armenian president also thanked Switzerland for its stance taken on the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
“I expressed sincere gratitude on behalf of the Armenian people to the Swiss legislative institution for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and its determination to defend human values,” he said.
Turkey and Armenia have had no diplomatic ties since Armenia became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of support for its ally, Azerbaijan, which had a dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, the ethnic Armenian enclave of Azerbaijan.
There are several sensitive issues complicating the establishment of normal relations between the two countries, particularly Ankara’s blatant support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process and Turkey’s refusal to acknowledge the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
“Today, with great pleasure and eagerness we will discuss both the agenda of our bilateral relations and various aspects of our cooperation within the OSCE framework,” Sarkisian told Burkhalter in during their joint press conference. “Of course, I am glad that today you are also meeting with the President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and it is a great opportunity for you to meet all the parties to the conflict and listen to their opinions. Welcome to Armenia.”
Burkhalter expressed his appreciation for the warm reception and underscored that he is glad to arrive in Armenia after visiting the other two countries of the region. “As you said, we have to discuss and dialogue with all parties if we want to find a solution in difficult issues and that is what we, the Swiss, would like to do – to discuss and dialogue with all parties,” Burkhalter said.
The bilateral meeting between Serzh Sarkisian and Didier Burkhalter were followed by an enlarged meeting with state officials.