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18.12.2012 - Press release
Official meeting between the Head of FDFA, Didier Burkhalter, and ICRC President, Peter Maurer

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, Head of the FDFA, received the visit of Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC, on 18 December 2012 in Bern, within the scope of the high-level meetings held each year between the ICRC and the directors of this Organization. These meetings bear witness to the degree of confidence existing between the two parties and allow for an in-depth exchange on the major humanitarian challenges of the day.

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter receives the ICRC President Peter Maurer in Bern.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter receives the ICRC President Peter Maurer in Bern. (© FDFA)

At the top of the agenda were the priority issues for both the Confederation and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The meeting allowed Federal Councillor Burkhalter and Mr. Maurer to discuss ICRC interventions in Syria and the Sahel region in detail. Both men pointed out that the presence of the ICRC on the ground and its provision of neutral and impartial humanitarian assistance are critical to the effective protection of civilians.

The high-level meeting in Bern also provided an opportunity for Switzerland and the ICRC to reaffirm their mutual commitment to international humanitarian law and to exchange views on the various initiatives and projects being conducted by Switzerland and the ICRC in this domain.

Mr. Burkhalter also used the meeting to confirm that Switzerland will support the ICRC next year with its activities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding. To mark this anniversary, Switzerland is planning to make a gesture of gratitude to the ICRC and in recognition of the work performed by its members.

The Swiss Confederation makes a yearly financial contribution to the ICRC. These funds help the ICRC to take action to protect civilians caught up in armed conflict, to assist victims, to communicate with the armed forces and non-state actors, and to strengthen international humanitarian law. Switzerland is currently the second-largest donor to the ICRC after the United States. The Federal Message on International Cooperation 2013-2016 commits one-third of the Swiss humanitarian aid budget to the ICRC, or an average of some CHF 130 million annually.

Additional Information and Documents

  • ICRC - Red Cross
    Protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict, provide them with assistance and prevent...