Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter to visit Ukraine to offer humanitarian support and discuss peace efforts

Media release, 03.06.2017

On 6 June, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), will travel to eastern Ukraine, where he will visit the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Mariupol and hold talks with partner organisations. In addition, he will deliver medical supplies to a hospital and see off a Swiss humanitarian aid convoy. On 7 June, Mr Burkhalter will meet Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Kyiv. He is also scheduled to meet with Vadym Chernysh, Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, and with representatives of civil society.

Mr Burkhalter’s two-day trip to Ukraine will focus on the conflict in the east of the country and on Switzerland's efforts to help improve the situation and alleviate the suffering of the people affected by it. During the first day of his visit, Mr Burkhalter will travel to Mariupol in the south-east of the country, near the contact line.

Mr Burkhalter will visit the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and meet with its deputy head, Alexander Hug, for talks. He is also scheduled to visit key partner organisations of Switzerland: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

That same day, a Swiss team and vehicles will be brought into readiness in Mariupol for another relief effort organised by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Over the next few days, staff members from Swiss Humanitarian Aid and from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) will deliver water treatment chemicals and medical equipment to facilities on both sides of the contact line. Mr Burkhalter will meet members of the SHA team, officially hand over medical equipment to a children’s hospital in Mariupol and see off an aid convoy that will be travelling to Donetsk (a region that is not under government control).

The next day, Mr Burkhalter will meet Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Kyiv for talks. The two men will discuss matters of common concern and sign two bilateral agreements. Mr Burkhalter is also scheduled to meet Vadym Chernysh, Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons. He will also hold a round-table discussion about the conflict in eastern Ukraine with representatives of civil society.