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Strong links Cassis praises Swiss-Israeli relations

A picture of Ignazio Casssis in Jordan

Cassis was criticised last week for saying that United Nations aid work for Palestinian refugees was a stumbling block to peace in the Middle East. 

(Keystone)

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis on Sunday called for pragmatic solutions in the Middle East conflict at a “Switzerland-Israel day” in southern Switzerland but also highlighted Swiss-Israeli ties.

In his speech, Cassis said that the relationship between Switzerland and Israel was “good, friendly and diverse”.  He also emphasised similarities between the two countries, particularly innovation, education, science and research. In an interview external linkwith Swiss public television, SRF, he confirmed that Switzerland continued to support a two-state solution and was committed to peace in the region.

+ Read more on Switzerland’s delicate stances on Israel

Foreign Affairs Minister Cassis was invited to the “Switzerland-Israel Day” in Lugano by the Ticino branch of the Switzerland-Israel Society.

Pragmatism instead of ideology

Cassis referred to the Middle East conflict as “one of the most important issues in world politics”. After 70 years, peace was long overdue, he said. This could only be achieved with pragmatism and innovation, not with ideologies or dogma. He did not mention the Palestinians by name in his speech.

Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem had “hardened” the situation, which is in no-one’s interest, Cassis said to SRF.

Last week, Cassis was criticised for saying that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was a part of the problem in the conflict.

SRF/RTS/ln

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