Swiss pledge aid for Kyrgyz elections

Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, left, and Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga welcome the Kyrgyz leader to Bern Keystone

During a visit by the president of Kyrgyzstan to Switzerland, the government has pledged CHF1.8 million ($1.86 million) in aid for future Kyrgyz elections.

This content was published on March 26, 2015 - 18:08 and agencies

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter assured Almazbek Atambaev of Switzerland’s continuing support of the democratic process in Kyrgyzstan, according to a justice ministry statement on Thursday.

Local, parliamentary and presidential elections are set to be held in 2015 and 2017.

"For these funds the appropriate equipment will be purchased," a senior Kyrgyz official was quoted as saying by the Bishkek-based news agency.

The Swiss government also pledged its continuing development aid to the central Asian republic with a population of 5.7 million people.

Switzerland will continue its existing development aid programme to Kyrgyzstan amounting to CHF15 million per year as part of the 2012-2016 Swiss development strategy, the statement said.

Burkhalter and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Erlan Abdyldaev, on sealed the continuation of development cooperation by signing a memorandum of understanding.

IMF and World Bank constituency

In addition to Swiss election aid, the leaders discussed bilateral relations, development cooperation and working together in international organisations, according the statement.

Kyrgyzstan has been a member of the Swiss voting constituency at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Global Environment Fund.

Last year, Burkhalter travelled to the central Asian republic as part of a tour of central Asia during his time as head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

At the time, he invited President Atambaev to visit Switzerland, and in the months since, Kyrgyzstan has strengthened its cooperation with the OSCE.

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