Clinton in Zurich for Turkey-Armenia deal

9th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Turkey and Armenia will sign a Swiss-brokered agreement Saturday to restore diplomatic relations.

Washington -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Switzerland on Saturday to watch Turkey and Armenia sign a Swiss-brokered deal to restore diplomatic relations, officials said Thursday.

The ceremony will see the two neighbours, in opposition over the World War I massacres of Armenians under Ottoman rule, sign two agreements to establish diplomatic ties for the first time and open their border for the first time in over a decade.

"The secretary is going to start off (her European tour) by going to Zurich where she will attend the signing of two protocols between the governments of Turkey and Armenia," senior diplomat Philip Gordon told reporters.

The documents are due to be signed by foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey and Eduard Nalbandian of Armenia, according to Turkish officials.

"She's going there to show our support for what we believe is a historic step for both Turkey and Armenia toward normalisation of their relations," said Gordon, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs.

Officials at the State Department said the trip was on Saturday.

A senior State Department official told reporters on the condition of anonymity that the Swiss government invited the parties to the ceremony, "and the parties, including Secretary Clinton, have agreed to attend."

Clinton's counterparts Sergei Lavrov of Russia, Bernard Kouchner of France and Javier Solana of the European Union were also invited to the ceremony and will attend, the official added.

The official did not expect the Swiss to formally announce the signing ceremony.

Russian and Turkish officials have already that the accords would be signed on Saturday in Zurich.

After Zurich, Clinton will travel to London, then Dublin, Belfast, Moscow and the ancient Russian city of Kazan, the official said.

AFP / Expatica

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