Armenian delay casts doubt on historic accord with Turkey

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A historic accord to normalise relations between Turkey and Armenia, long at odds over Armenian claims of first world war genocide, was thrown into doubt tonightwhen Turkey's foreign minister refused to say whether the signing ceremony would go ahead as planned in Zurich on Saturday.

Ahmet Davutoglu said he remained confident that the accord, which would also reopen the common border closed by Turkey in 1993, would be completed. But he added: "I am not giving any dates. Let's wait for a statement from the Swiss. As Turkey, we have no doubts the protocols will be signed."

Concern that the long-discussed pact could be delayed has grown in recent days after Armenia appeared to backpedal. The country's deputy foreign minister, Arman Kirakossian, said he hoped it would be signed "very soon" but that no decision had been made as to when and where. That led to speculation that Armenia would seek changes to the text.

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