• Switzerland's news in English

Swiss may mediate in Hungary-Armenia row

AFP · 6 Sep 2012, 08:37

Published: 06 Sep 2012 08:37 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter had offered support when he met his Hungarian counterpart Janos Martonyi in Bern on Monday, ministry spokesman Jean-Marc Crevoisier told AFP.

"Switzerland maintains friendly relations with Hungary and Armenia and ... is prepared to provide assistance if wanted. This is in line with our foreign
policy," he wrote in an email.

Crevoisier did not however mention the tensions between Budapest and Yerevan over the case of Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani officer who axed an Armenian soldier to death in Budapest in 2004.

He had been serving a life sentence in Hungary for the killing, but after Budapest extradited him to Baku last week he immediately received a pardon from Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.

On Wednesday, the Hungarian foreign minister hinted that Switzerland had agreed to help calm his country's tensions with Armenia over the Safarov case.

"During my visit to Bern on Monday, Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter offered his assistance to smoothe Hungarian-Armenian relations," Martonyi told Hungarian public radio MR1.

"All means must be used to fix the situation and improve relations between Hungary and Armenia," he added, pointing out that Switzerland was
traditionally a neutral country with broad mediation experience.

Hungary says it was assured by Azerbaijan that Safarov would serve out his sentence in his home country, and the pardon, coupled with promotion to the rank of major, the award of a house and eight years' back-pay, enraged Armenia and brought criticism from Europe, the United States and Russia.

Story continues below…

Armenia and Azerbaijan are locked in a long-running conflict over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh, where they fought a war in the 1990s.

Armenia meanwhile appeared to reject the offer from Switzerland to assist in relations with Hungary.

"I do not think that mediation is needed. What are needed here are precise steps from the Hungarian authorities," Armenian foreign ministry spokesman Tigran Balaian told AFP.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available