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Swiss suggest Armenian monument be declined

Swiss Foreign Ministry recommends permission to erect Armenian monument in park near UN headquarters in Geneva be rejected

10.12.2014
Swiss suggest Armenian monument be declined

By Fatih Erel

GENEVA

 The Swiss Foreign Ministry has recommended that a planned Armenian monument in parkland near the UN headquarters in Geneva not be erected.

The ministry told The Anadolu Agency on Wednesday it had recommended to the cantonal authority to refuse the granting of permission to build the Armenian monument to the incidents of 1915 incidents in the park of the Ariana Museum.

Representatives of the Armenian Diaspora have been trying to erect the monument since 2008 in order to commemorate the loss of Armenian lives during the First World War.

But they also unilaterally blame Turkey for the incidents during the war.

The ministry said that it was important for federal authorities to preserve the absolute impartiality of Geneva in which the UN headquarters and various international organizations are located.

Noting that erecting the monument would have "a significant negative impact for the image and reputation of Switzerland and Geneva as a host state," the ministry recommended that the cantonal authority refuse to grant permission to build the monument in the planned area.

Latest controversy

According to Swiss media, Swiss President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter sent a letter to the canton of Geneva and recommended the rejection of the construction of the memorial.

The move is the latest controversy in Geneva over the monument, which started in 2008 when it was first suggested it be located in Geneva's Old Town.

The Geneva cantonal authorities could consider either the same, or other locations in the city, despite the recommendations from the Swiss Foreign Ministry.

The 1915 incidents took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted against the empire.

The uprisings followed a decision by the empire to relocate Armenians in eastern Anatolia.

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