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Westerwelle meets Burkhalter

On 7 March, Foreign Minister Westerwelle met Didier Burkhalter, the Swiss Foreign Minister, in Berlin. “Germany and Switzerland have for many years been united by a solid, close and fair partnership,” Foreign Minister Westerwelle stressed. There was a strong interest on both sides to further develop this partnership, he went on to say.

Didier Burkhalter has been Swiss Foreign Minister since 1 January. This visit was his first to Berlin in this capacity. After his talks with Foreign Minister Westerwelle, he said that Switzerland intended to further intensify relations with its neighbours in particular. This was one of the priorities of Swiss foreign policy, he said. “Switzerland is not an island,” Burkhalter emphasized. Relations with the EU, he continued, were to be enhanced through bilateral channels. Both Ministers stressed that the German-Swiss taxation agreement should be swiftly implemented.

In 2014, Switzerland will be Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE). Burkhalter announced that Switzerland would liaise closely with Germany in this context. Moreover, Switzerland intends, together with Germany, to move forward the discussion on UN development and on the reform of individual UN bodies.

The two Foreign Ministers also spoke about the international situation. They expressed their concern over the Iranian nuclear programme. Foreign Minister Westerwelle stressed, “We are committed to sending a strong message to the effect that Iran needs to end its confrontational approach and to finally show the transparency and cooperation that both international law and political reason require.” It was up to Iran to end its international isolation, the Minister said. Federal Councillor Burkhalter hinted at the possibility of hosting an international conference on this issue on Swiss soil.


Last updated 07.03.2012

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