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Visit to the West Balkans
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter travelled to the West Balkans to meet the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of Serbia. The talks were focus on bilateral issues and the chairmanship of the OSCE which passes to Switzerland in 2014 and to Serbia in 2015. Mr. Burkhalter visited also other projects supported by the FDFA in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter visited a demining project in the vicinity of Sarajevo. One aspect of this project, co-financed by the FDFA’s Human Security Division, is the training of mine detection dogs. An estimated 2.6% of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s land surface still contains buried anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.
The talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Zlatko Lagumdžija in Sarajevo focused on bilateral topics, cooperation among the states of the West Balkans, and the Chairmanship of the OSCE which will pass from Switzerland (2014) to Serbia (2015). This meeting between the foreign ministers of Switzerland and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first since 2008, followed Federal Councillor Burkhalter’s visit to the members of the State Presidency.
In talks with Serbia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivan Mrkić, Federal Councillor Burkhalter discussed the Chairmanship of the OSCE which Switzerland assumes in 2014 and Serbia the following year. The two countries have agreed to work closely in this context. The talks also covered bilateral topics. During his visit to Belgrade, the Swiss foreign minister also met with the Head of State Tomoslav Nikolić and with Prime Minister Ivica Dačić.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter visited a project near the Serbian capital aimed at facilitating the access of children of the Roma minority to public education. The ultimate aim of this project, which is being supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), is to promote the social integration of the Roma population.
Project description: Education for ethnic minorities in Serbia