The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, has thanked Switzerland for its active involvement in the UN, despite not being a full member of the organisation.This content was published on September 14, 2000 - 08:32
Annan made the statement at a meeting in New York on Wednesday with the Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss.
Deiss said he had been assured Switzerland would receive a warm welcome into the UN fold, if the Swiss people voted in favour of UN membership in a referendum due to be held in two years time.
Deiss has been holding a series of meetings in New York, including one organised by Canada on the proposed establishment of a permanent international tribunal to try war criminals and crimes against humanity.
The Swiss foreign minister reiterated the country's support for the proposal. Public consultation on the issue comes to an end shortly, and both houses of parliament are expected to discuss it before the end of the year.
The proposal has to be ratified by 60 countries before it can come into effect. Only 19 have done so. Deiss said Switzerland wanted to ratify it by autumn next year at the latest.
The meeting, attended by a number of other foreign ministers, was organised in an attempt to strengthen international support for the permanent tribunal.
Among the other meetings Deiss held on Wednesday was one with two Jewish organisations, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee.
Deiss called for the issue of racism on the Internet to be treated as a special item during an international conference on racism, scheduled for next year in South Africa. A preparatory meeting was held in Geneva earlier this year.
swissinfo with agencies
Swiss foreign ministry
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