Switzerland hosts Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Bern

Bern, 19.12.2015 - Presidents Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan met in Bern today, 19 December 2015, for talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the invitation of Switzerland. As representative of the Federal Council, the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) Didier Burkhalter welcomed the two Presidents and underlined Switzerland’s willingness to continue supporting efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict through its good offices.

At the meeting with the two parties today, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter highlighted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could only be resolved by a comprehensive negotiation process. He called on the parties to reinforce dialogue and to refrain from any act of violence or provocation. He recalled Switzerland’s commitment to continue supporting the dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan in hosting meetings and offering experts also in the future. The South Caucasus is a priority region of Switzerland’s peace-policy commitment. During its year as Chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014, it advocated the OSCE’s existing mediation formats and also supported various confidence-building measures, as well as seeking close contact with civil society. As Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter had invited the two Presidents to Switzerland for talks.

Offering good offices is part of Switzerland’s extensive and long-standing commitment in the region which among other things helped Georgia and Russia reach a trade agreement in 2011 and paved the way for Russian accession to the WTO. Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter visited the region on several occasions in 2014 as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. Switzerland has provided an OSCE Special Representative for the South Caucasus since 2014 in Ambassador Angelo Gnädinger, and this office will also be held by a Swiss official in future, Ambassador Günther Bächler.

The efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which began in 1991, are coordinated by the Minsk Group of the OSCE. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, the US, France, Belarus, Germany, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Turkey and the OSCE Troika (currently Serbia, Germany and Switzerland) belong to the OSCE’s Minsk Group.

Address for enquiries

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Communication service: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
E-mail: kommunikation@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs