Armenia-Switzerland relations actively developparticularly in the financial econo, mic and mutual investment sectors. Although Switzerland was the number one investor in Armenia with $ 90 million investment according to the official data in 2015 but Armenia has a problem of becoming well-known in the foreign world. Lukas Gasser, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Swiss Confederation in Armenia, told a press conference at the Media Center today.
According to the Ambassador, Armenia and Switzerland efficiently collaborate in the financial-economic realm. “Switzerland makes significant investments in Armenia’s economy. Due to the official data, Swiss companies invested 90 million dollars only in 2015,” he said, expressing confidence that Armenia would continue to remain at the core of Swiss companies’ attention as an investment country.
The Ambassador considers that during twenty-five years of independence, Armenia has achieved a reasonable level of stability. “The problem is not only to be a stable country but to be perceived as such in the foreign world. In this regard, the unsolved conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh is a challenge,” he said. At the same time, the diplomat recalled that certain Armenian companies make investments in Switzerland.
The Ambassador said, “Switzerland encourages Armenia-Iran relations.” “Switzerland has good relations with Iran and is very interested in developing them. In addition, Switzerland represents the US interests in Iran by its diplomatic mission,” the diplomat said, adding that Armenia, being a neighbor of Iran, is of great interest. “It is important that Armenia is not only geographically neighboring Iran but also has good relations with Tehran,” he said.
The Ambassador also touched upon the issues of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. According to Lukas Gasser, the maintenance of the ceasefire agreement of 1994-1995 is important for Karabakh conflict settlement. “The Karabakh conflict has no solution other than a peaceful settlement,” he said.
The Ambassador said that the conflict resolution stems from Armenia’s economic and political interests. He noted that all the parties to the conflict should be supported, which would require a fairly extensive diplomatic activity, especially in the framework of the OSCE. “We want to support all the parties involved to reach a peaceful settlement of the conflict. This requires serious diplomatic work within the framework of the OSCE,” the Swiss ambassador said.
Referring to the process of normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations, the Ambassador said that Switzerland is now ready to assist the parties in establishing contacts and relations.
“The problem is that these relationships do not exist in fact but we are ready to provide assistance to the sides when the parties are ready,” he said. According to the diplomat, it is not a natural situation when two countries have a long common history and a common border but relations are absent. He reminded that Switzerland played a big role in the initiation of Zurich Protocols in 2009, regretting that “these documents were not ratified”.
It is noteworthy that Switzerland is among the unique countries where the Armenian Genocide denial is criminalized. As a reply to the question “Did the ECHR decision about “Doğu Perinçek against Switzerland” case have an impact on Swiss legislation?” the Ambassador said. “After the Court’s verdict, Switzerland is not obliged to modify its anti-racism legislation, particularly Article 261 of the Criminal Code. Doğu Perinçek’s case is a special one and the Court’s decision refers to this case.”