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Calmy-Rey meets Obama during Turkey-Armenia talks

Micheline Calmy-Rey shares a chat with Turkish and Armenian ministers and US President Barack Obama (White House/Pete Souza) White House/Pete Souza

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has confirmed her role as a mediator between Armenia and Turkey.

This content was published on April 7, 2009 - 17:21

Calmy-Rey met with officials from the two countries along with United States President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a United Nations conference in Turkey.

It is the first time Switzerland has confirmed it is working to bring the two sides together.

Obama has called on Armenia and Turkey to normalise relations.

Calmy-Rey had been in Turkey for a meeting of the UN's Alliance of Civilizations, where she took part in a panel discussion, attended a lunch with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and had dinner with Turkish President Abdullah Gül.

The foreign minister was part of a six-person delegation that heard Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish premier and incoming Nato secretary-general, call for a deeper dialogue with the Islamic world.

Rasmussen will become the Nato head on August 1 after longstanding opposition from the Turkish government, which was angered over the publication in Danish newspapers of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

Rasmussen said an apology was out of the question. "Freedom of expression is vital. The same applies to the respect for religious feelings. We have to bring both to an exact balance," he said.

Ministers and heads of state from some 30 countries attended the meeting. The Alliance of Civilizations was founded in 2005 by Spain and Turkey months after the bloody bombings in Madrid.

swissinfo with agencies

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