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Swiss president holds talks with Romanian counterpart

Moritz Leuenberger (left) held talks with Ion Iliescu in Zurich


The Swiss president, Moritz Leuenberger, has held bilateral talks in Zurich with his Romanian counterpart, Ion Iliescu.

Leuenberger used the occasion to describe relations between Switzerland and Romania as "excellent" and commended the Romanian government for its presidency of the Vienna-based Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Iliescu, who was also in Switzerland to attend the Crans Montana Forum summit of political and business leaders, talked of the two countries' common interests.

"We discussed the interest and concern our two countries share regarding the situation in the Balkans," Iliescu said after his meeting with Leuenberger.

The wide-ranging talks also touched on the issue of Romania's candidacy for membership of the European Union.

While Leuenberger and Iliescu said they believed that Romanian membership of the EU would benefit all parties concerned, both leaders stressed that Bucharest would first need to make "great efforts" to reform itself.

Leuenberger also highlighted the responsibility all European countries share of encouraging peace and stability throughout the region.

"Every country, whether it is a member of the EU or not," he said, "is responsible for maintaining peace in Europe."

swissinfo with agencies


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