9  04.06.14 - Welcoming ceremony for President of Switzerland, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter
7  04.06.14 - Joint press conference of Armenian and Swiss Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Didier Burkhalter

President, OSCE CiO talk Genocide, Karabakh, Ankara blockade

President, OSCE CiO talk Genocide, Karabakh, Ankara blockade

PanARMENIAN.Net - The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, President of the Swiss Confederation, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter is on an official visit to Armenia. Today (June 4) Burkhalter visited the Genocide memorial in Tsitsernakaberd to commemorate the victims of the 1915 massacres.

Later, presidential residence hosted an official meeting, followed by narrow-format talks.

As President Serzh Sargsyan told a news conference after the meeting, "we discussed a wide range of issues related to Armenian-Swiss cooperation and touched upon regional problems."

The President noted that Armenia and Switzerland have substantial relations and parliamentary and diplomatic contacts between the two countries are active, Panorama.am reported.

“Switzerland has implemented programs of major importance to Armenia. We positively assessed the current level of trade cooperation between Armenia and Switzerland. Switzerland is Armenia’s fourth biggest trade partner,” Sargsyan said.

The Armenian President said that during the meeting they also discussed the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. “Constant violations of the ceasefire hinder the negotiating process,” he said.

The President further thanked Switzerland for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and adherence to protection of human rights.

Dwelling on Armenian-Turkish normalization, the President said that Turkey refused to ratify Protocols with Armenia and Ankara's illegal blockade of Armenia should be at the focus of attention of all international organizations.

Didier Burkhalter said for his part that Armenia and Switzerland have friendly relations and Switzerland aims to expand trade and economic ties with Armenia. He also said that his country is thankful to Armenia for its support to Switzerland within the OSCE.

Burkhalter stressed that Switzerland supports the OSCE Minsk Group efforts aimed at the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

3  04.06.14 - Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan receives President of Switzerland, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter
The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan broke out as result of the ethnic cleansing launched by the Azeri authorities in the final years of the Soviet Union. The Karabakh War was fought from 1991 (when the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed) to 1994 (when a ceasefire was sealed by Armenia, NKR and Azerbaijan). Most of Nagorno Karabakh and a security zone consisting of 7 regions are now under control of NKR defense army. Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group up till now.

The Armenian-Turkish Protocols

The Protocols aimed at normalization of bilateral ties and opening of the border between Armenia and Turkey were signed in Zurich by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu on October 10, 2009, after a series of diplomatic talks held through Swiss mediation.

On January 12, 2010, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia found the protocols conformable to the country’s Organic Law.

Commenting on the CC ruling, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “it contains preconditions and restrictive provisions which impair the letter and spirit of the Protocols.” ”The decision undermines the very reason for negotiating these Protocols as well as their fundamental objective. This approach cannot be accepted on our part. Turkey, in line with its accustomed allegiance to its international commitments, maintains its adherence to the primary provisions of these Protocols. We expect the same allegiance from the Armenian government,” the Ministry said.

The OSCE Minsk Group

The OSCE Minsk Group was created in 1992 to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The Minsk Group is headed by a Co-Chairmanship consisting of France, Russia and the United States. The main objectives of the Minsk Process are as follows: Providing an appropriate framework for conflict resolution in the way of assuring the negotiation process supported by the Minsk Group; Obtaining conclusion by the Parties of an agreement on the cessation of the armed conflict in order to permit the convening of the Minsk Conference; Promoting the peace process by deploying OSCE multinational peacekeeping forces.

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