The President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, received the President of Myanmar, U Thein Sein, for an official visit to Switzerland. The development of good bilateral relations with Myanmar is part of Switzerland's foreign policy strategy 2012–2015.
Visit by Myanmar's president U Thein Sein
Friday, 05.09.2014 Friday, 05.09.2014
Official visit; Public event
The Swiss Confederation actively supports the democratic transition in Myanmar. The official visit of the President of Myanmar, U Thein Sein, was part of this. Discussions between the President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, and his counterpart from Myanmar covered Switzerland's engagement in this field and will aim to intensify bilateral relations. Various topics were covered, notably the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2015, peacebuilding on Myanmar's borders and respect for human rights.
On the European level, the President of the Swiss Confederation presented the relationship between Switzerland and the European Union as well as Switzerland's priorities within the framework of its Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Press release, 5 September 2014
Moving forward since 2012
President U Thein Sein was elected as head of state of Myanmar on 4 February 2011 after half a century of military dictatorship. His election was followed by a democratic process. 2012 therefore marked a turning point in bilateral relations between Myanmar and Switzerland.
In May 2012, the Swiss Federal Council lifted the sanctions that were in place, to encourage the country's democratic transition. In June of the same year, Switzerland opened an embassy in Yangon and tripled its annual development cooperation contribution. Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to Switzerland in June 2012 underscored the closer relationship between the two countries.
Press release, 1 June 2012
Press release, 9 May 2012
A strategic partner in a booming region
The development of good bilateral relations with Myanmar is part of Switzerland's foreign policy strategy 2012–2015. This strategy emphasises the importance of participating in the development of the Asia-Pacific region.
This region currently accounts for half of global economic growth and over half of the world's population. Its political and economic significance increases every year. Myanmar is a choice partner in this context, notably because of its location between China and India. Its significant natural resources and large labour force give it strong economic potential.
The SDC’s engagement
Despite this potential, Myanmar faces major challenges. It needs to address its internal conflicts and join the global market economy quickly to ensure sustainable growth.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Human Security Division (HSD) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) are working together with this aim in mind. Swiss development cooperation contributes to four main areas:
- employment and the development of professional skills
- agriculture and food security
- health, social services
- the promotion of local governance and peace
Swiss development cooperation also takes account of good governance, climate change, gender issues, gender equality and disaster risk reduction in its assistance. In all its activities, it pays particular attention to vulnerable groups such as internally displaced persons, refugees, returnees, children and land mine victims. The budget for Swiss development cooperation in Myanmar in 2014 (SDC and HSD) is CHF 21.75 million.