Boutros-Ghali visits Bern to talk up French language

Joseph Deiss (left) held talks with Boutros Boutros-Ghali in Bern Keystone

The secretary-general of the International Organisation of French-speaking Countries (OIF), Boutros Boutros-Ghali, has held talks with the Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, aimed at promoting the importance of the French language and multiculturalism.

This content was published on June 25, 2001 - 17:45

Speaking after his meeting with Boutros-Ghali, Deiss confirmed that Switzerland would do all it could to "give the organisation of French-speaking countries a higher profile".

Boutros-Ghali, a former secretary-general of the United Nations, said his organisation would defend multiculturalism and praised Switzerland as an example of a "model multilingual country".

Boutros-Ghali also used the meeting to express support for a proposal from French-speaking canton Vaud to host the 2009 Francophone Games.

Deiss pledged Switzerland would continue to support the organisation, which is scheduled to hold its upcoming plenary session in the Swiss city of Lausanne in December 2002.

"French-speaking countries are a high priority for Swiss foreign policy," Deiss told Boutros-Ghali during their meeting in the Swiss capital, Bern.

Switzerland contributes an annual sum of SFr13.7 million to the organisation, half of which is invested in the French-language television channel, TV5.

The remainder is used to develop information technology programmes and promote the process of democratisation in French-speaking countries around the globe.

swissinfo with agencies

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