Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the UN General Assembly in New York

Press release, 26.09.2018

The multilateral system protects countries which are not military powers, like Switzerland, said Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis on Wednesday at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs also drew a positive assessment of his first participation in the General Assembly: "This first visit gave me a better sense of how multilateralism works and its need for reform."

Switzerland has made a concrete commitment to support the UN reform process. On Wednesday, Mr Cassis signed an agreement with Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Switzerland pledged to support the UNDP with CHF 50 million per year over the next three years (2018–20).  This is a sign that we believe in multilateralism, said Mr Cassis, adding that Switzerland's investment should enable the UNDP to become even more effective than in the past.
 
Mr Cassis also attended the conference on Syria, where he called for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, noting that Switzerland has been strongly engaged in helping the civilian victims of the conflict and that Swiss humanitarian action in Syria is the largest humanitarian operation in Swiss history.
 
Mr Cassis also drew a positive assessment of several bilateral meetings he had on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The exchange of views with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in particular, was frank and constructive, noted Mr Cassis. 
 
European policy, which Mr Cassis will address during his speech to the National Council on Thursday and at the Federal Council's meeting on Friday, was also a topical issue during his stay in New York. Both Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, whose remit includes Switzerland, reaffirmed the EU's desire to reach an agreement with Switzerland on regulating  institutional relations between Bern and Brussels.


Further information:

Speech by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis


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