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Switzerland presses Italy for greater cooperation

The Swiss President, Adolf Ogi (pictured right), has held talks with his Italian counterpart, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, about European and security issues, as well as the thorny issue of cooperation over refugees.

This content was published on February 1, 2000 - 14:31

The Swiss President, Adolf Ogi (pictured right), has held talks with his Italian counterpart, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, about European and security issues, as well as the thorny issue of cooperation over refugees.

Ogi called on Italy to support the ratification of Switzerland's bilateral treaty with the European Union, a spokesman for Ogi said after the one-hour meeting at Kloten airport in Zürich.

Ciampi showed understanding for Switzerland's position on Europe and said he hoped the Swiss people would back the treaty if the issue comes to a public vote, Ogi's spokesman said.

The two leaders also discussed the return of illegal refugees and the situation in the Balkans.

Ciampi said Italy would pay greater attention to the refugee problem in the area where southern Switzerland borders Italy. There has been friction over the return of refugees, mainly ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, who tried to enter Switzerland across the "green" border with Italy.

The Swiss government has approved a treaty with Italy aimed at increasing cooperation, but it has yet to be ratified by the Italian parliament.

From staff and wire reports

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