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05.11.2012 - Press release
Switzerland to open an embassy in Kyrgyzstan

The Swiss Cooperation Office in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, which has been in existence since 1995, has been upgraded to the status of embassy. In the presence of the President of the Council of States, Hans Altherr, SDC Assistant Director-General Kurt Kunz, Head of Department Cooperation with Eastern Europe, inaugurated the new embassy on 5 November 2012. This step represents further acknowledgement by Switzerland of the increasing political and economic importance it attaches to Central Asia, which has been one of the priority regions for Swiss development cooperation since the 1990s.

The new Swiss embassy is headed by Laurent Guye, who until now has been head of the Cooperation Office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO in Bishkek. In future the embassy will not only be responsible for matters related to transition assistance, but will represent the political and economic interests of Switzerland in Kyrgyzstan, and manage bilateral relations between the two countries.

The new embassy in Bishkek will further strengthen Switzerland‘s network of representations in Central Asia. The political and economic significance of this region has steadily increased for Switzerland over the last two decades, as is illustrated by joint membership of the voting constituencies of leading international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund IMF and the World Bank. In addition to this, cooperation between Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan is also being extended in both the energy sector and with regard to development.

In the area of transition assistance Switzerland has been supporting Kyrgyzstan since 1994 as one of the first countries in Central Asia to receive Swiss transition support. Central Asia has subsequently become one of the priority regions for Swiss development cooperation. In 1995, an SDC liaison office was opened in Bishkek. At present, in Kyrgyzstan the SDC and SECO are focusing primarily on the areas of healthcare reform, infrastructure, improving the administration of public finances, development of the private sector and water management. In 2011 the Swiss commitment to Kyrgyzstan amounted to CHF 19.8 million (incl. contributions from the cantons and municipalities).

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