(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will fly to Zurich on Saturday to attend a ceremony where Armenia and Turkey are expected to sign historic accords to normalize relations, the State Department said.
The top U.S. diplomat may use the visit to discuss Iran with her counterparts from Russia, France and the European Union, who have also been invited to the ceremony, a State Department official told reporters on Thursday.
Armenia and Turkey are expected to sign agreements to establish diplomatic ties and open their border, turning the page on a century of hostility stemming from the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One. The move would bolster Turkey's standing with the European Union, which it hopes to join, while boosting Armenia's economy and improving security in the South Caucasus, a key transit corridor for oil and gas supplies to the West.
Clinton will attend the ceremony before heading off on a European tour that includes stops in Britain, Ireland and Russia. "We have long supported this process and she's going to demonstrate and underscore our support," a senior State Department official told reporters, referring to the signing ceremony.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner are also expected to attend, he said.
"There aren't going to be formal Iran talks with them but of course it will be a useful opportunity to talk about the issues of the day, including Iran," the official said.