YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Swiss parliament today rejected a non-binding resolution which if passed would have called on government to recognize the massacre of 1915 of Armenia’s in Ottoman Empire as a genocide. The resolution was defeated by a narrow margin. According to Swiss Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Daniela Stoffel –the Swiss National Council turned down the resolution by a vote of 73 to 70.
Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service–Stoeffel said that the government was against the pro-Armenian resolution and had urged lawmakers to reject it. She said the position of the Swiss government is not to make a unilateral–absolute declaration on the Armenian issue but rather to start a discussion with Turkey on an equal basis on human rights issues. She said that even if the Swiss parliament passed the resolution–the government would have refused to recognize the massacre of Armenia’s in Ottoman Empire as a genocide.
In a separate move–a Turkish group from Germany petitioned the Swiss parliament to call on the government to recognize the genocide. That petition was signed by some 11,000 German citizens of Turkish origin.