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Swiss delegates upbeat about peace hopes in Mexico

Switzerland is helping to try to bring an end to the killings in Chiapas Keystone Archive

A high-ranking Swiss delegation, which has just returned from a fact-finding mission in Mexico, says the political will now exists to bring peace to the troubled Chiapas region. Switzerland is also moving forward with new aid projects to support peace efforts.

This content was published on April 27, 2001 - 17:08

The delegation, which included parliamentarians Cécile Bühlmann and Rosmarie Zapfl, held talks with government representatives and supporters of the indigenous Indians in Chiapas state on their fifth mission to the region.

The head of the observation mission, Tildy Hanhart, told swissinfo that Switzerland was playing an important role in supporting the peace process simply by listening to what both sides had to say and asking the kind of questions which some Mexicans felt unable to ask.

"We found quite a different situation in Mexico, following the election of a new president and a new leader in Chiapas state," said Hanhart. "The political will is there to seek peace."

The Swiss delegation is now moving in to a new phase in its efforts to support the peace process. "The main observation part of the programme is over," said Hanhart.

There will be further observation over the next three years, she said, but there would now be greater emphasis on financial support for peace and social programmes in Chiapas.

The programmes, aided by a local representative, will concentrate on financial support for such areas as conflict resolution, the situation of women and equal rights.

The work is being backed by a number of Swiss aid and religious groups.

swissinfo

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