Mr. Minister, Madam Minister,
Honourable representatives of the civil, religious and military authorities,
Dear colleagues and dear fellow Swiss citizens,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We celebrate together the 728th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, and it a great honour and joy for me to welcome you on this warm summer evening.
ευχαριστώ που είστε εδώ μαζί μας, μας τιμάτε με την παρουσία σας.
Στην Κύπρο υπάρχουν πολλοί φίλοι της Ελβετίας, που γνωρίζουν την χώρα μου – όπως και εσείς. Έχετε διαμείνει εκεί για σημαντικές διαπραγματεύσεις και το ξέρετε πως είστε πάντα ευπρόσδεκτος, είτε για μια διμερή επίσκεψη (όπως αυτή που πραγματοποιήθηκε πρόσφατα εδώ στην Κύπρο), η για την επανέναρξη των συνομιλίων.
Κυρίες και κύριοι, καλώς ορίσατε στην εθνική μας γιορτή!
Let me try to express my welcome, as well, to our Turkish-Cypriot guests:
Bayanlar baylar, milli günümüze hepiniz hoş geldiniz!
A few weeks ago, the Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, visited Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. This programme, which started at the headquarters of UNFICYP and of the Committee on Missing Persons, shows the importance of the Cyprus Problem for Switzerland.
But his substantial talks with you, Mr. Minister, also gave an increased visibility and impetus to our excellent bilateral relations and cooperation, in various domains.
Tonight, I would like to mention another anniversary, which will occur in a few days: the adoption of the four Geneva Conventions, 70 years ago, on 12th August 1949. Before that date, humanitarian law was concerned almost exclusively with combatants. Then, after World War II, the Fourth Geneva Convention enshrined provisions to protect civilians, including in occupied territories. I do not need to explain here the relevance of such a Convention, of which the Swiss Government is the Depositary.
Allow me to express, Excellency, and dear Cypriot friends, the wish that a comprehensive solution will be reached for your country, putting an end to division, occupation, injustice and fears.
You and all those working for peace and reconciliation can count on the readiness of Switzerland to provide an adequate field for talks and on our support.
Crans-Montana is a resort in Valais, my Canton of origin. I hope that you will all appreciate tonight some specialities imported directly from there, especially for this auspicious occasion: the wine, the raclette cheese and the dried meat
Let me say just a few words in our different Swiss languages, and first in the Swiss-German “Valaisan” dialect:
Ich wyyschu allnu ä freeliche Nationalfiir!
Bonne fête nationale à tous !
Buona festa del primo di Agosto !
There is another language to express the friendship between Cyprus and Switzerland, the language of symbols.
After your speech and our toast, Mr. Minister, a Cypriot, Michael Efrem, will perform a challenging art and popular Swiss tradition known as “Fahnenschwingen”. It needs talent, no wind, a beautiful air and a beautiful flag.
It is now time for me to conclude, by expressing my thanks to all those who contributed to this Swiss evening, and to you, Mr. Minister, for the message that you will deliver now.
Ευχαριστώ πολύ για την προσοχή σας.