The official visit of the President of the State of Israel took place at the Lohn Manor, where Mr Herzog was received with military honours. It follows a series of high-level meetings in recent years, including the visit of Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis to Israel in 2020 and that of Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin as President of the Confederation last year.
During the visit, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Israel Science Foundation that will strengthen cooperation between Swiss and Israeli researchers. Switzerland and Israel discussed potential opportunities for reinforcing their cooperation on innovation, an area in which both countries are at the cutting edge. Bilateral economic and scientific cooperation between the two nations is close and well established, with Israel being Switzerland's third-largest trading partner in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. In addition, Switzerland and Israel are home to internationally renowned universities. Since 2011, the SNSF has supported 413 projects by Swiss researchers that involved direct cooperation with Israel.
Call for dialogue in the resolution of the Middle East conflict
During the exchanges, President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis called for an end to the cycles of violence that have caused untold suffering for the Palestinian and Israeli people. "I am convinced that what we need is a political horizon and a real political process based on a two-state solution and international law," he said. Mr Cassis recalled Switzerland's willingness to facilitate the resumption of this dialogue by providing its good offices. The momentum for dialogue created by the normalisation of relations with several Arab states was also welcomed. Switzerland remains convinced that the Palestinians should also benefit from this new dynamic.
The impact of the war in Ukraine on the MENA region and Switzerland's engagement as a bridge builder during its two-year term on the UN Security Council (2023-24) were also discussed.
President Herzog will travel to Basel this evening to attend a dinner on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress. Guy Parmelin has been delegated to represent the Federal Council.
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