Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at UN in New York after consolidating Swiss partnership with Canada

Press releases, 18.09.2023

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis met today with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly in Ottawa. Talks centred on further developing Swiss–Canadian ties in the fields of economy, research, environment and human rights. Next step: 18 to 20 September in New York and the opening week of the UN General Assembly. In his capacity as head of the FDFA, Mr Cassis and his delegation will also attend thematic events and bilateral meetings, which will focus on the war in Ukraine, combating pollution, and guaranteeing respect for the rule of law and international humanitarian law.

Mr Cassis' agenda in New York will be largely influenced by Russia's continuing military aggression against Ukraine. Together with the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, Mr Cassis will be stepping up cooperation between Switzerland and the IAEA in order to strengthen nuclear security in Ukraine. At the invitation of his German counterpart, Mr Cassis will take part in a ministerial meeting on the revision of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – another key signal in the fight against impunity for the crime of aggression.

In addition to the war against Ukraine, Europe and its security challenges will be high on the FDFA's agenda in New York. Against this backdrop, Mr Cassis is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with a number of international representatives, including the foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Estonia, as well as the secretary general of the OSCE.

He will also meet with the foreign ministers of Ecuador and the United Arab Emirates – both elected members of the UN Security Council for the same term as Switzerland – in order to strengthen mutual cooperation within the Security Council. In addition, on 20 September Mr Cassis is to take part in a joint event of the foreign ministers of the ten non-permanent Security Council members on improving the council's efficiency, one of Switzerland's priorities on the council.

Environmental protection will also be on the agenda in New York, with Mr Cassis scheduled to take part in a ministerial meeting on the topic of plastic environmental pollution. The aim of this ministerial panel is to lay the groundwork for the next round of negotiations on an international treaty aimed at significantly reducing plastic pollution by 2040.

Swiss–Canadian partnership on agenda ahead of UNGA

In Ottawa today, Mr Cassis and Ms Joly reaffirmed their countries' commitment to developing bilateral and multilateral cooperation, particularly in the fields of research, the economy and the environment.

The two ministers also discussed Canada's initiative against the arbitrary detention of foreign nationals by states in order to apply pressure in matters of foreign policy. At Canada's invitation, Mr Cassis will take part in an event jointly organised with the US and Costa Rica on this initiative which will be held during the UNGA's opening week. The event is expected to advance efforts to end this practice of arbitrary detention, which runs counter to the principles of human rights and the rule of law as set out in the Federal Council's Americas Strategy 2022–25.

Mr Cassis and Ms Joly also discussed multilingualism and Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, with both parties pledging to continue their commitment to shared democratic values.

FDFA news platform: news from New York

The FDFA news platform provides information on Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis' activities at the high-level week in New York (see link below).

Further information:

News platform: Opening week of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Canada

Address for enquiries:

Nicolas Bideau, Head of FDFA Communication
+41 79 667 69 15


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs