BAKU (APA)–The Swiss Confederation is encouraging Armenia and Turkey not to “lose the momentum and proceed diligently with the ratification” of agreements that will normalize relations and open borders between the two countries, Switzerland’s foreign minister, Michelin Calmy Rey, said Tuesday in an interview with the Azeri Press Agency.
The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Turkey signed in Zurich on October 10 a set of protocols calling for the normalization of relations and the opening of their shared border closed by Turkey since 1993. The parliaments of both countries have to ratify the agreements before they go into effect.
Describing the recent fence-mending agreements between Armenia and Turkey as “positive developments, Calmy Rey reiterated his government’s support for the rapprochement process, saying Switzerland was convinced the process would “greatly benefit both countries, both peoples and eventually the whole region.”
The process has hit somewhat of a deadlock since the agreements have been signed, with Turkey demanding that Armenia make heavy handed concessions to Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks before its parliament can ratify the protocols.
“Needless to say, we fully support this process which, we are convinced, will greatly benefit both countries, both peoples and eventually the whole region,” Calmy Rey said, describing the political situation in the region as “complex and delicate.”
Despite the complexities, the Swiss Foreign Minister alluded to what he believed would be positive developments in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict if Armenia-Turkey relations were normalized. .
“The normalization process between Turkey and Armenia showed that political courage, genuine commitment and the wisdom to compromise can bring about remarkable results,” he said. “The situation in the region is complex and delicate, but I am convinced that the positive developments between Turkey and Armenia can and will have a positive influence.”
Calmy Rey said Switzerland supports international efforts through the OSCE Minsk Group to mediate a peace in the Karabakh conflict and commended the heightened intensity of meetings between Armenian and Azeri leaders during in the last year.
She also expressed hope that an upcoming meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan would further strengthen “this positive momentum” and lead to a quick agreement on key principles for peace.
“The two processes are running in parallel and they should both go forward as rapidly as their own respective dynamics make it possible,” he said referring to the Karabakh peace talks and the Armenia-Turkey rapprochement.
“The mandate that we received from the parties was to assist them in coming to an agreement which would allow them to normalize their relations. This was achieved with the conclusion and then the signing of the two protocols. Beyond that, Switzerland remains of course in contact with the parties,” Calmy Ray said. “We are of course ready, if so requested by the parties, to continue to be of assistance in this context.”