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Calmy-Rey presents peace plan to UN

Calmy-Rey met Annan at the UN headquarters in New York Keystone

The Swiss foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, has presented an unofficial peace plan for the Middle East to the United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan.

This content was published on October 25, 2003 - 12:04

During her visit to New York, Calmy-Rey also held talks with Jewish organisations.

After discussing the so-called Geneva Accord with the Swiss foreign minister, Annan said he would “study the document”.

"The UN supports every contribution to a solution for the Middle East conflict," said a spokesman for Annan's office.

The Geneva Accord was drafted during unofficial talks by parties from both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Swiss government has provided financial support and logistical help.

"Switzerland is acting as the depository state of this document," Calmy-Rey said after meeting Annan.

"The concerned parties want to show with the launch of the initiative next month in Geneva that partners exist on both sides who are ready to make compromises," she added.

Neutrality

Switzerland has been careful not to take up an official position on the Geneva Accord.

This is understandable since Switzerland would not want to jeopardise its traditional neutrality, says Daniel Warner, deputy director of the Geneva-based Graduate Institute for International Studies.

“It is not for the government to say ‘we will make a proposal on how to solve this problem’. Switzerland itself will not initiate a process and will not take a position,” he told swissinfo.

“Switzerland is a neutral country that has always had an interest in peace and in serving as a catalyst for discussions between different forms of groups,” added Warner.

Stalled peace process

Political analyst Curt Gasteyger told swissinfo that the Geneva Accord might just give an impetus to the stalled peace process.

“It’s a serious effort to try to propose from a totally different view some kind of new road map that might have a better chance to succeed than the present one,” he said, referring to the international peace plan backed by the United States.

Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, dismissed the Geneva Accord as "dangerous" and told his cabinet on Sunday that "we need to fight the Geneva programme."

On Saturday evening, around 2,000 people demonstrated in Jerusalem against his peace efforts, accusing the premier of "demolishing peace".

Protesters carried banners that read "Geneva is a better solution" in support of the Geneva Accord.

swissinfo, Faryal Mirza

Key facts

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey presented the Geneva Accord to the United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, in New York.
Annan said he would study the unofficial peace plan for the Middle East.
During their meeting, Calmy-Rey also broached the issue of reforming the UN Security Council.
Concerning Iraq, Calmy-Rey reminded Annan of Switzerland's financial commitment to help rebuild the country which this year stands at SFr21 million.

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