The State Secretary started his African trip on Monday with a visit to Egypt, holding talks in Cairo with the Egyptian Deputy Minister for European Affairs, Mr Ihab Nasr. Topics of discussion included the situation in Egypt, international cooperation, migration, cooperation between judicial authorities and trade.
Switzerland has been supporting Egypt for 40 years and has stepped up its cooperation work since the revolution in 2011. Over the past five years, Switzerland has invested CHF 96 million in its strategy to support the process of transition in North Africa. During his time in Cairo, the State Secretary confirmed that Switzerland would continue to support the transition to an inclusive democracy that respects human rights and promotes economic growth and long-term stability. He was also received by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior to discuss individual consular cases affecting Swiss nationals.
The State Secretary began his official visit to Addis Ababa on Tuesday, meeting his Ethiopian counterpart Taye Atskeselassie. The two men led the second round of annual policy consultations between Switzerland and Ethiopia with a view to forging closer bilateral relations in various sectors. Ethiopia, with a population of 100 million, is seeing the fastest economic development of any country in Africa. Against this backdrop, the two state secretaries signed an agreement between their countries on air transport, aiming to provide airlines with a better framework for routes between Switzerland and Ethiopia.
In addition to economic and financial issues, they talked about migration and human rights, especially in light of recent developments in the regions of Oromia and Amhara. Switzerland and Ethiopia both play an active role on the Human Rights Council, a UN body which currently has an Ethiopian Vice-President.
The State Secretary's schedule included a visit to the biggest hydroelectric dam in Africa, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), currently under construction.
In Addis Ababa, State Secretary Rossier also met African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smaïl Chergui, in connection with Switzerland's ongoing collaboration with that organisation.
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