Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter travels to Israel and to the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Bern, Press releases, 30.04.2013

From 1 to 5 May Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter will be in the Near East for a working visit. During his visit to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah, Mr Burkhalter will meet the Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu, the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Switzerland has for a long time advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The deepening of bilateral relations between Switzerland and Israel, the current situation in the region and Swiss contributions to support the peace process in the Near East will be the main agenda items in the discussions that Mr Burkhalter holds with representatives of the Israeli government. Meetings are planned with President   Shimon Peres and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu. In addition to political matters, Mr Burkhalter’s itinerary will include visits to various institutions such as the Swiss Centre for Conflict Solutions at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

In his talks with the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Mr Bundesrat Burkhalter will also discuss bilateral aspects and the peace process in the Near East. He will also visit the Swiss development cooperation programmes in West Jordan and the headquarters of the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron, a troop of international observers in which Switzerland participates and whose task is to ensure stability in the city of Hebron, which is to the south of Jerusalem.

Mr Burkhalter’s journey is part of Switzerland's commitment to stability in the regions bordering on Europe. In the Near East, Switzerland advocates a two-state solution, which it continues to regard as the most appropriate means of resolving the conflict, and of guaranteeing Israel's future and that of a Palestinian state. In the framework of its activity for peace and stability and for respect for international humanitarian law, Switzerland has repeatedly called on all the parties to comply with their legal obligations and to take part in negotiations to resolve the conflict and to improve the humanitarian situation.

Further information:

Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Israel
Bilateral relations between Switzerland and the Palestinian Authority
SDC: Occupied Palestinian Territory
Travel to the Near East

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