The signing of an accord to normalize relations between Turkey and
Armenia was delayed Saturday due to disagreements over the statements
the two sides will make.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Zurich, Switzerland, for
the signing ceremony, but returned to her hotel just before she was to
attend the ceremony.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said U.S. officials are
helping the two sides come to an agreement on the statements they are
going to make.
The Armenian and Turkish foreign ministers (Edward Nalbandian and Ahmet Davutoglu)
are in Zurich to sign the accord, which would end a century of
bitterness over the World War One killings of Armenians under Ottoman
If ratified, the deal would restore diplomatic ties and open the countries' sealed border.
But analysts say strong domestic opposition in both Armenia and Turkey
will likely slow the ratification in their respective parliaments.
Armenians want the World War One massacres recognized as genocide -- a label Turkey strongly rejects.
The agreement calls for a joint commission of independent historians to
examine the genocide issue, which some experts say is a concession to
Turkey since the panel will reopen an issue Armenia says has already
An ongoing territorial dispute between Armenia and Turkey's ally,
Azerbaijan, could also complicate efforts to normalize Armenian-Turkish
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with
Azerbaijan, which was fighting Armenian-backed separatists in
Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh territory.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said Friday that talks with his Armenian counterpart (Serzh Sarkisyan) over the disputed enclave had failed, contradicting previous statements by Russia.
The two presidents discussed the issue Thursday in the Moldovan
capital, Chisinau, during a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent
States, a group comprised of most of the former Soviet republics.