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Pausing before peace

Like the saying goes — “If it's too good to be true, then it probably is.” In the case of Turkey and Armenia, hopes for reconciliation were to be disappointed yet again today.

After six weeks of intense debate over the proposed signing of an accord to restore diplomatic ties between Turkey and Armenia both countries met in Zurich today — but they never made it to the signing ceremony.

The accord, which would establish diplomatic ties in hopes of reopening their border and ending historic enmity, was delayed at the last minute Saturday due to objections by Turkey to Armenia’s planned statement.

Ian Kelly, a U.S. state department spokesman, was quoted by AFP news agency as saying there had been a "last-minute hitch."

Al Jazeera reported that the main problem surrounded the word "holocaust" and how it was going to be used. The Armenians were told that the Turks found their language unacceptable and therefore they are staying in their hotel for the time being.

"When you've had almost a hundred years of hatred, of animosity, of distrust, people are thinking that the delay of an hour or so isn't that much to bear," said Al Jazeera's correspondent Alan Fisher, reporting from Zurich, in response to a statement by the Swiss officials that the signing would still take place.

The accord, while facing opposition from nationalists on both sides, has been strongly supported by major countries, with the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, France and the European Union in the room to watch the signing. Of the attendees none was a more influential witness than U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, who abruptly returned to her hotel just before she was to attend the ceremony.

In Armenia’s capital Friday about 10,000 protesters rallied to oppose the signing, followed by protests in Lebanon and France, with demonstrators in Paris shouting "Traitor!"