Turkey, Armenia to take historic step to normalise ties

ZURICH: Turkey and Armenia were set to take a historic step towards reconciliation here today, by signing pacts to normalise ties after nearly a century of bitterness over their blood-soaked past.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edouard Nalbandian and Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu

will sign the two protocols in a

ceremony at the University of Zurich at 5.00 pm (1500 GMT), the Swiss Foreign Ministry confirmed. Relations between NATO member Turkey and Russian-backed Armenia have been soured since the World War I massacres of Armenians under Ottoman rule.

The bridge-building by the two governments after more than a year of discrete Swiss-mediated talks is still hampered by fierce opposition at home, as well as within the influential Armenian community abroad. But the countries’ powerful allies, the United States, France and Russia, as well as the European Union, put on a united and public display of support for the deal by sending their foreign ministers to attend the ceremony.