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Speedy timetable to UN membership

Tuesday's official ceremony marking Switzerland's membership to the United Nations is expected to be a swift affair, consisting of short speeches and a flag-raising event.

This content was published on September 10, 2002 - 12:43

Switzerland's entry comes just six months after the Swiss people and the cantons voted to join the organisation.

The Security Council was swift to support the Swiss application in June: it was approved unanimously within five minutes, without the need to cast votes.

Similarly, Tuesday's ceremony - which comes during the opening of the UN's 57th session - is not expected to attract any opposition.

Safeguarding neutrality

High-ranking members of the 80-strong Swiss delegation present during the ceremony in New York will include the Swiss president, Kaspar Villiger, and the Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss.

The Swiss delegation will be escorted from its current seating area among the UN observer section to sit among the full UN members.

Villiger will then give a short speech, reiterating that Switzerland is joining the organisation as a neutral state, and that it wishes to maintain this status - a matter close to the hearts of the Swiss electorate.

The Swiss delegation will then go to watch the Swiss flag being raised in front of the UN building, to the sound of the national anthem performed by the Swiss Army Band.

It's at this moment that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will officially welcome Switzerland to the "UN family".

swissinfo with agencies

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