Deiss upbeat about political talks at World Economic Forum

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss (pictured with Israeli minister, Shimon Peres), has given an upbeat assessment of the contacts he and other Swiss government ministers have had at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

This content was published on January 30, 2000 - 16:46

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, has given an upbeat assessment of the contacts he and other Swiss government ministers have had at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

Mr Deiss told a news conference in Davos he had benefitted from the informal atmosphere that had brought together so many of the world's major decision makers.

After meeting Iran's foreign minister, Mr Deiss indicated Switzerland was playing an active role in efforts to bring about a rapprochement between Iran and the United States.

On the issue, Mr Deiss said, "We are continuing that and there are some signs of positive evolution," he added, "We signalled to the Iranian minister as well as to President Clinton and Madeleine Albright that we are prepared to continue to do more if they need."

Mr Deiss told Swiss Radio International his talks with his Iranian opposite number, Kamel Kharrazi, had gone well. Switzerland has represented Iranian and US interest in each other's capitals since they broke off diplomatic ties in 1980.

Mr Deiss also held separate talks on Sunday with the Egyptian foreign minister, Amr Moussa, and the Israeli minister, Shimon Peres, about the latest developments in the Middle East peace process. Mr Deiss is due to attend a high-level conference on the peace process starting in Moscow on Monday.

The foreign minister was also present at a meeting on Saturday with President Clinton, during which the US president congratulated Switzerland on its involvement in the Kosovo conflict.

"The Americans asked us if there is any posibility for us to do more to help with policing in Kosovo," said Deiss. "And for our part we asked the Americans to give their full support to the international criminal court especially with regard to the arrest of criminals."

By Tom O'Brien

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