Swiss Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Yves Rossier, recently made an official visit to Baghdad, Najaf and Erbil in Iraq – the first high-level visit to Iraq by a senior Swiss diplomat for over a decade.
Rossier travelled to Iraq from April 19 to 22 to intensify contacts with the federal authorities in Baghdad and the Kurdish authorities in Erbil, the foreign ministry said on Friday.
There he was briefed on the country’s fight against the Islamic State and the regional situation. He also visited Swiss humanitarian aid projects, while identifying future areas of cooperation.
In Baghdad, Rossier met his counterpart Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, as well as Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obeidi, and Deputy Finance Minister Fadhel Nabi. He travelled on to Najaf, the holy city of the Shia community, to hold meeting with the governor Louay Al-Yaseri and Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Saed Al-Hakim.
In Erbil the Swiss diplomat met regional President Massoud Barzani, the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa and the Minister of Interior Karim Sinjari. He also visited the Baharka camp near Erbil, where the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) agency has been active.
Since January 2014, Switzerland has provided aid worth CHF 33.1 million ($33.8 million) for the Iraq crisis to assist partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations, Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council.