• Switzerland's news in English

Armenia-Azerbaijan meet set for Bern

AFP · 18 Dec 2015, 14:35

Published: 18 Dec 2015 14:35 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Swiss department of foreign affairs confirmed on Friday that Armenian President Serzh
Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had been invited by Switzerland to meet in Bern on Saturday.
The meeting comes amid heightened tensions between the two states, and follows a recent warning from Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mediators that "the status quo has become unsustainable."
Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bloody conflict over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh territory in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.
They reached a tenuous ceasefire in 1994 over the ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, but they have not signed a peace deal.
Clashes still erupt regularly along the border shared by the two ex-Soviet states and across Karabakh's volatile frontline.
Raising the spectre of a return to all-out war, both sides reportedly used heavy artillery in tit-for-tat attacks in September.
Hiking tensions further, Azerbaijani tanks earlier this month shelled positions in the breakaway region, marking the first time it had done so since the ceasefire was agreed more than 20 years ago.
Azerbaijan maintained Armenia had first fired mortar rounds at settlements in Azerbaijan.
On Saturday, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter will welcome the two presidents on behalf of the government, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
It stressed though that although Switzerland was acting as host of the summit, it "will not be taking part in the discussions, which will be between Armenia and Azerbaijan only."
Explaining the invitation to host the talks in Bern, the ministry pointed out that "the South Caucasus is a priority in Swiss peace policy," pointing out that the wealthy Alpine nation had provided the OSCE with a special representative for the region since 2014.
Efforts to resolve the Nagorny Karabakh conflict are coordinated by the OSCE's Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France.
In addition to Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Minsk Group includes Turkey, Italy, Germany, Belarus, Sweden, Finland and the OSCE's rotating Troika, currently made up of Serbia, Germany and Switzerland.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available