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Arab Spring dominates Swiss-Israeli meeting

The democratic uprisings in the Arab world have occupied a large part of talks between Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey and her Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres.

This content was published on March 28, 2011 - 20:35
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Peres, who is on a two-day trip to Switzerland, told reporters in Geneva on Monday that the popular revolutions in the Middle East had been started by young people, who had been using new technologies to compare their lives across the world.

He said that he hoped that democracy would be the outcome from the Arab Spring, but warned that a regime change would not be enough to lift the countries affected out of poverty – science and technology would also play a role.

Calmy-Rey said that Switzerland would offer humanitarian aid and support the transition process in these countries, adding that she, too, hoped democracy would come to these nations.

Scientific collaboration between Switzerland and Israel was also broached at the meeting. An agreement on brain research between the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and Jerusalem University is due to be signed on Tuesday.

The Geneva-based pro-Palestinian non-governmental organisation Right For All, however, criticised Peres’ visit and filed a criminal complaint against him for "crimes against humanity", saying he had "defended all Israeli crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and southern Lebanon". 

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