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Swiss ministers prepare for UN General Assembly meet

Switzerland has set international security, peace building and human rights as its priority foreign policy goals at the 71st gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, starting on September 20.

Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann, and other ministers, will also tackle the issue of reforming UN institutions during the summit. Schneider-Amman is also slated to attend a high-level UN meeting on antimicrobial resistance, plus a summit on the role of non-state actors in tackling migration issues.

Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter will co-chair a discussion on recognising that human rights violations can act as an early warning signal for potential conflict. Preventing violent extremism, combating terrorism, water security and efforts to abolish the death penalty will also be on his agenda. 

A third senior Swiss cabinet member to be present in New York will be Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, who will attend the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on the fringes of the General Assembly on September 19.

Here she will concentrate on efforts to prevent enforced displacement and on the protection of refugees and asylum seekers.

Neutral Switzerland has been a member of the United Nations since September 2002, following a national referendum to decide the issue. Former Swiss minister Joseph Deiss was elected as President of the 65th session of the General Assembly from September 2010 to September 2011.

Geneva plays host to the UN’s European headquarters.



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