26.07.2012 - Press release
Official visits by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter to Lebanon, Cyprus and the United Kingdom
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter is paying an official visit to Lebanon on 27 and 28 July 2012. The head of the FDFA intends to express Switzerland's support to this country, which is being directly affected by the crisis in Syria. He also seeks to obtain a picture of the humanitarian situation in the region. He will then proceed to Cyprus, which recently assumed the presidency of the EU, after which he will travel to the United Kingdom. In both these countries he will be outlining Switzerland's European policy.
In Beirut, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter will be holding talks with his Lebanese counterpart, Adnan Mansour. He will also meet with the Lebanese President, Michel Suleiman, as well as the
president of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri. During these talks, the head of the FDFA wants to express Switzerland’s support for the government and people of Lebanon in this difficult regional
context. He will also confirm Switzerland’s commitment to promoting stability in Lebanon, as a multi-confessional country and immediate neighbour of Syria.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter also seeks to obtain a picture of the humanitarian situation in the region, with Lebanon currently receiving numerous refugees from Syria. Through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Switzerland is supporting the population in Syria and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries by deploying experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), as well as via the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and various UN agencies. Through the SDC, Switzerland recently increased its humanitarian budget for the crisis in Syria by two million Swiss francs, as a result of which this budget has now surpassed ten million francs.
After visiting Lebanon, the head of the FDFA will travel to Cyprus on 30 July for an official visit. Cyprus recently assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union. Didier Burkhalter will hold talks with his Cypriot counterpart, Mrs Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis. The two foreign ministers will discuss recent developments in the Syrian crisis within the framework of an exchange of views on international political issues.
Cyprus’ priorities during its six-month presidency of the EU will also feature on the agenda. Didier Burkhalter wants to outline Switzerland's European policy and address the recent proposals by the Federal Council regarding institutional issues.
From Cyprus, Didier Burkhalter will fly to London where he will meet with UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, on 1 August 2012. Their talks will focus on a variety of international political issues, including in particular the crisis in Syria, as well as Switzerland’s policy towards Europe. This will be the first official meeting between the two ministers. Also on the agenda is a meeting with David Lidington, Minister of State responsible for European issues. In its foreign policy strategy for the period 2012 to 2015, Switzerland declared its intention to strengthen its ties with the UK in view of the economic, political and cultural proximity between the two countries.
During the evening of 1 August, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter will participate in festivities in celebration of the Swiss national holiday on the premises of the “House of Switzerland”. The House was set up by “Presence Switzerland” in the heart of London currently hosting the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He will give a speech in the presence of numerous prominent figures. During his stay in London, the head of the FDFA will pay a visit to the Olympic Village, where the athletes will be staying during the Games. He will also attend several sporting events in which Swiss athletes will be participating.
For further information, please contact:
Head of FDFA INFO
+41 79 763 84 10
Additional Information and Documents
- Near East (Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian
Crisis in Syria Switzerland’s commitment in Syria is concentrated around the following three axes. ...