Middle East: Federal Councillor Cassis stresses the need for a comprehensive solution

Press releases, 24.01.2024

On January 23, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis took part in a ministerial debate on the Middle East at the UN Security Council. Under the French Presidency, the aim of the debate was to contribute to concrete progress towards a political solution to the crisis in the Middle East. The Head of the FDFA presented to the Council an analysis of the situation and presented his views on a solution to the conflict and a lasting peace in the region. In addition, the Head of the FDFA took advantage of his presence in New York to hold bilateral meetings.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis speaks at the UN Security Council.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the ministerial Middle East debate in the UN Security Council. © FDFA

Federal Councillor Cassis yesterday reiterated the Federal Council's position on the Middle East conflict during a high-level debate at the UN Security Council. He condemned the terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas. The head of the FDFA also drew attention to the precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza: "Since October 7, there seems to be no limit to the violence in Israel, in Gaza and throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.

In New York, the head of the FDFA also spoke of the UN Security Council's involvement in the Middle East conflict. The Council has recently adopted important resolutions that are very difficult to implement. Only some of the hostages have been released, civilians are the daily victims of the fighting, and international humanitarian law continues to be violated. "We cannot give in to frustration. We must not be discouraged," Ignazio Cassis told the Security Council. He stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to the solution, involving in particular the States of the region. Without a regional political consensus, there can be no lasting peace in the Middle East," said the head of the FDFA. At the diplomatic level, recent years have shown that there is room for political agreement and common interests between Israel and the states of the region. This space must be used to work towards a lasting peace, which requires a two-state solution. "This is the only solution that offers both Israelis and Palestinians the prospect of living in peace and security," Mr. Cassis emphasized.

The head of the FDFA called on the parties to the conflict, the states in the region and the members of the Security Council to act in order to lay the foundations for a lasting cessation of hostilities and a political solution to the crisis. This requires the immediate release of the hostages, a humanitarian ceasefire, unhindered access for humanitarian aid to Gaza, and full respect for international humanitarian law. Switzerland is ready to support these efforts in cooperation with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the states of the region.

In this context, the head of the FDFA met in New York with the foreign ministers of Algeria, Jordan and Lebanon to discuss the Middle East conflict and its impact on the region. In addition to his presence at the Security Council, Federal Councillor Cassis also met with UN Secretary General António Guterres and the new French Foreign Minister, Stéphane Séjourné. Finally, Mr. Cassis met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the war in Ukraine and possible paths to peace.

Further information:

Speech by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis on the situation in the Middle East, UN Security Council, 23.01.2024
Situation in the Middle East
What does Switzerland do in the UN Security Council?
Newsticker Ukraine

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