French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has applauded relations with Switzerland during a ceremony in Fribourg to mark the 500th anniversary of the “Eternal Peace” treaty signed between the neighbouring countries.
The peace treaty signed by France and the Swiss Confederation on November 29, 1516, in Fribourg was “unique” due to its longevity, Le Drian told an audience of officials from France and Switzerland on Tuesday at Fribourg University. Swiss Defence Minister Guy Parmelin attended, along with federal, cantonal and communal officials.
It was also unusual as there was no willingness to crush the defeated side, he explained. The signatories wanted to “win the peace”, Le Drian said, adding that this objective was still very valid for both countries, keen to promote peace throughout the world by distinctive but complementary modes of action.
“The number of crises Switzerland has helped resolve via its mediation is a sign of its commitment to peace and the need for neutral locations where dialogue can be maintained despite ongoing conflict,” he said.
The peace treaty signed on November 29, 1516 followed the bloody battle of Marignano between France and the Old Swiss Confederacy, in which up to 20,000 soldiers died and which brought an end to Swiss expansion into Italian territory and a peace settlement binding the Swiss to never again take up arms against the French.
swissinfo.ch with agencies