Swiss foreign minister visits Middle East

Last year, the Israeli foreign minister paid a visit to Switzerland to celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations. Keystone/Peter Klaunzer

Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis has travelled to Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for talks on promoting dialogue in the region.

This content was published on November 30, 2020 - 09:57

“The return to diplomacy is urgent,” said Cassis, who reiterated Switzerland's backing for a two-state solution in the region and urged Israeli and Palestinian sides to undertake direct negotiations.

On Sunday, he met his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem, and also held talks with the Palestinian prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, as well as the foreign minister, Riyad al-Malki.

According to the foreign ministry, both Palestinian and Israeli sides welcomed the Swiss offer of providing good offices.

The three-day trip made by Cassis to the region is also aimed at strengthening cooperation on innovation, digitalisation and sustainability, the foreign ministryExternal link wrote.

In Ramallah, notably, the minister inaugurated a newly-founded Swiss-Palestinian business council.

On Monday, Cassis will travel on to Abu Dhabi to meet Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, the foreign minister of the UAE.

Last month, the Swiss government adopted a strategy for the Middle East and North Africa. It aims to boost coordination between political, economic and development policy instruments, according to a foreign ministry statement.

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