The President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, who is the Chairman-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for 2014, has arrived in Baku on an official visit. In Azerbaijan Burkhalter is expected to meet with President Ilham Aliev and other Azerbaijani officials.
In Baku Burkhalter will focus on the current state of negotiations in efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Switzerland is engaged in intensive behind the scenes efforts to try to give a new impetus to the negotiations that are mediated on behalf of the OSCE by diplomats of the three countries that co-Chair the "Minsk Group" - Russia, France and the United States. Another issue in the focus of the Swiss Chairmanship visit to Azerbaijan will be the situation with human rights and the rule of law. The visit comes amid increasing concerns in the international community following criminal cases against a number of human rights and youth activists.
The President of the Swiss Confederation is also expected to visit Armenia and Georgia.
photo: Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation and current Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE (archive picture).
Getting the Eastern Neighbourhood right is a key necessity for the future security and prosperity of Europe. The Brussels summit offers an opportunity for important steps on this matter in the right direction – not as an end in themselves but rather as a part of a longer term and more ambitious vision.
An incident at a military facility of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic resulted in three Armenian soldiers killed and one seriously injured. It is not clear what the exact circumstances of the incident were, but for the moment it is being treated as an accident.