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Deiss welcomes US proposal for Afghanistan

Foreign minister Joseph Deiss (right) and head of the Swiss delegation, Jenoe Staehelin, attending the UN General Assembly

Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, has welcomed President George W Bush's proposal to assist Afghanistan in forming a new government after the US-led campaign there is over.

In his speech during the 56th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Bush emphasised the need to help Afghanistan to re-build their country and find a political solution after the attacks.

After Bush’s speech, in which he also discussed a solution for the Middle East conflict, Deiss met the Palestinian foreign minister, Nabil Shaath.

According to spokesman Ruedi Christen, Shaath expressed his appreciation for the Swiss involvement in the Middle East conflict.

In a meeting with his Moroccan counterpart, Mohamed Benaissa, Deiss discussed the fight against financial terrorism.

According to Christen, Deiss emphasised that, even though Switzerland was already leading in the fight against financial terrorism, it would do its utmost to refine the existing rules.

Amongst other politicians, Deiss also met Bhutan’s foreign minister, Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thiney, to talk about the UN year of the mountain, which is coming up next year.

Paying tribute

Deiss is also scheduled to meet the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and he will pay tribute to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center.

He will also meet Swiss expatriates and members of the Switzerland’s diplomatic mission in New York.

In an interview with swissinfo before his departure to New York, Deiss said he felt the need to show them the support of the Swiss government, in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

Deiss is also scheduled to meet other foreign ministers from several countries to discuss proposals aimed at combating international terrorism.

“We are making a lot of proposals in order to intensify and make more professional the fight against terrorism, especially in financial matters. It is important for me to have contacts with other foreign ministers in order to promote these ideas.”

Deiss said Switzerland was also interested in an exchange of ideas with other countries on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the country’s future.

“We are involved in the Afghan Support Group, which is not only active on the humanitarian level but has also discussions on political issues in Afghanistan,” Deiss said.

Geneva convention

Deiss said he would also hold talks with other countries on a planned international conference in Switzerland on international humanitarian law, the so-called Fourth Geneva Convention.

“The proposals are currently in consultation, and maybe there is need for more information among the people I am going to meet,” Deiss told swissinfo.

The conference, proposed for December 5, is to discuss the enforcement of international humanitarian law in the Palestinian territories. However, Israel has said it will not attend, and the USA is expected to boycott the meeting, too.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR