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Nueva Helvecia Foreign minister meets Swiss community in Uruguay

people in a church

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis (middle) looking at a painting by Ticino artist Martino Perlasca at the Basilica of San José de Mayo

(Diocese of San José)

As part of his tour of South America this week, Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis is in Uruguay. His next meeting is with the Swiss-Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce.

On Monday, Cassis visited San José and Nueva Helvecia, where he met members of the local Swiss community. Together with Nicola Brivio, mayor of Morcote in canton Ticino, he presented a contribution towards restoring works by Ticino artist Martino Perlasca (1860-1899), including those at the Basilica of San José de Mayo as well as in several palaces in Montevideo.

Of Uruguay’s 3.4 million inhabitants, 50,000 have Swiss roots. Many of their ancestors emigrated to Uruguay in the 19th century to escape poverty in Switzerland.

On Tuesday, Cassis will discuss politics in Montevideo with Uruguayan Deputy Foreign Minister Ariel Bergamino and Chamber of Representatives President Cecilia Bottino.

At his meeting with members of the Swiss-Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce, “vocational education and training and job creation – particularly for young people – will be among the topics on the agenda”, noted the foreign affairs ministry in a statementexternal link. Cassis will then travel on to Chile and Brazil.

“Together with Uruguay, these countries are important partners of Switzerland and founding members of the Mercosur economic zone. As a member of the European Free Trade Association, Switzerland is currently negotiating a free-trade agreement with Mercosur,” the ministry pointed out.

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