Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss was on Monday meeting high-ranking European Union officials in Brussels to outline Switzerland’s contribution to international peace and pro-democracy efforts in the Balkans.This content was published on July 19, 1999 - 09:51
Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss was on Monday meeting high-ranking European Union officials in Brussels to outline Switzerland’s contribution to international peace and pro-democracy efforts in the Balkans.
Deiss was expected to present Switzerland’s proposals at the so-called Europe Conference, which was set up by the EU in 1997 to serve as a forum for policy discussions between EU member states and prospective EU members. Switzerland, which is not an EU member, joined the Europe Conference last year.
The Swiss foreign ministry said Deiss would underline Switzerland’s willingness to contribute actively to the EU’s proposed stability pact for the Balkans – a pact which is aimed at creating long-term peace, stability and economic prosperity in the war-torn region.
“The Balkans is a priority region for Swiss foreign policy,” said a Swiss foreign ministry spokesman, adding that the government considered the stability pact of vital importance.
“Switzerland wants to demonstrate its solidarity and also tackle the root cause of the problem in the Balkans,” the spokesman said ahead of the meeting in Brussels.
Within the framework of the stability pact, Switzerland would offer to chair a working group on how to push ahead with democratic reforms and shore up the human rights situation in the region, the foreign ministry said.
Deiss was further expected to present the ministers with the recommendations of a working group – of which Switzerland is a member -- on how to fight drug trafficking and organised crime.
Switzerland was taking a high interest and would do everything in its power to boost international cooperation in the anti-drugs fight, the foreign ministry said.
During his talks in Brussels, Deiss was also due to hold talks with his counterpart from Finland, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
Switzerland is not a member of the 15-nation European body but has just signed a series of wide-ranging bilateral agreements, which still have to be ratified by the parliaments in Switzerland and all EU nations.
From staff and wire reports.
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