Swiss candidacy for UN Security Council moves ahead

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis President Simonetta Sommaruga presented the candidacy plans to the media in Bern on Friday Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle

Switzerland’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2023-4 has officially entered its final phase. Elections won’t take place until June 2022.

This content was published on October 30, 2020 - 11:57
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The move was marked with a special virtual event on Thursday evening in New York attended by the Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga and foreign minister Ignazio Cassis in which they presented the candidacy to the representatives of all UN missions. The Swiss slogan: ‘A Plus for Peace’.

Switzerland believes that a seat on the Security Council will allow the country to further its foreign policy objectives and to promote its strengths in peace and security, a statement released on Friday said.

The ministers had originally planned to travel to New York, but the presentation had to be moved online due to travel restrictions because of the Covid.19 pandemic.

In her video speech, Sommaruga underlined the strengths of Switzerland’s political system: “We seek consensual solutions in domestic politics as well as in our foreign policy. The only way to build consensus is through dialogue,” she said. Swiss-UN Society (GSUN)

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Cassis emphasised Switzerland’s good reputation: “We are well known as a reliable partner, with a long tradition of promoting peace,” he said, adding that Switzerland was committed to the rule of law, democracy, peace and security.

Neutrality

Switzerland officially submitted its candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2011. The final phase of the candidacy will run until the seat elections in June 2022. If successful the non-permanent seat would run from 2023-4,

Some observers in Switzerland have wondered how a non-permanent seat – which is allocated on a rotating basis by geographic region – would fit in with Swiss neutrality.

At an online Swiss-UN Society (GSUN) event on October 25 to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary,  Joseph Deiss, who was Swiss foreign minister at the time of Switzerland's joining of the UN, saw no problems with neutrality for the role. The important issue was that Switzerland could make a contribution, he said.

Pascale Baeriswyl, head of the Swiss UN mission in New York, said that among the factors key for a successful candidacy were a good reputation and fruitful cooperation.

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