Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Travel: Hillary Clinton gets in done in Switzerland!

Secretary Clinton landed in Zurich Switzerland with a heavy schedule laid out before her. First, the Secretary attended a working lunch with His Excellency Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the French Republic, in Zurich.

Over the next few hours, the Secretary held important meetings with Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey hours before attending a Signing Ceremony for Two Protocols between Turkey and Armenia, in Zurich.

The Secretary was welcomed by Swiss Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey before the signing ceremony of Turkey and Armenia peace deal in Zurich.

The peace deal that was signed into accord on Saturday October 10th, was to restore ties and open the two countries shared border after nearly a century of hostility stemming from the World War One mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces.

Just to show how incredibly touchy this peace deal is, the ceremony was put into a three-hour delay due to last-minute disagreements on statements between the two countries. This forced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to engage in intense discussions to salvage a deal, which of course, she did.

However, news reports confirm that before she signed the deal at University of Zurich, Secretary Clinton returned to her hotel to help smooth over objections with Nalbandian over statements to be read at the ceremony. She then held a long telephone call with Davutoglu before meeting Nalbandian, with whom she returned to the venue in her motorcade hours later.

Clinton later promised the United States would do everything it could to build on the "milestone" that Turkey and Armenia had achieved

Watch this video below for a bit more background info on the Turkish-Armenian issue:

Watch the clips below for a viewing of the signing:

After all the drama of the evening Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally boarded her plane destined to arrive at London's Heathrow Airport from Zurich. On the plane she spoke to reporters about the events that occurred that night.

Well, we had a good night in Zurich, watching the signing of the protocols between Turkey and Armenia. And now the process continues. We, obviously, are committed to doing everything we can to build on the milestone that was reached today, but it's challenging. And there is a lot of very difficult, complex issues that have to continually be discussed and worked out. But I am very pleased that we were able to get the protocols signed, and now we move on to the next phase of this.
Read her full remarks to the press while aboard her plane here!

After her short flight, she arrived in London where she was met by Louis Susman the US Ambassador to Britain on the tarmac.

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