Swiss try to unblock Armenia–Turkey deal

President Micheline Calmy-Rey has held talks with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan over a Swiss-mediated deal aimed at normalising relations with Turkey.

This content was published on May 3, 2011 - 17:36 and agencies

Sargsyan thanked Switzerland for its efforts but accused Turkey of blocking implementation of the 2009 landmark treaty.

He said he had “interesting discussions” with Calmy-Rey to try to end the deadlock.

The meeting in Bern also focused on boosting economic and development cooperation between Armenia and Switzerland, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

It was the first official visit by an Armenian President to Switzerland and comes a month after Calmy-Rey opened a Swiss embassy to the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

The trade volume between the two countries has been modest – less than SFr10 million ($11.6 million) - but Switzerland has contributed about SFr5 million annually to development aid for Armenia, according to the foreign ministry.

In October 2009 Armenia and Turkey signed a deal in Zurich to normalise relations strained over a historic conflict at the beginning of the 20th century, notably the issue of mass deportations and genocide of ethnic Armenians during the Ottoman empire.

However, the agreement has been put on hold as a result of a regional conflict.

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