Federal Councillor Burkhalter and Foreign Minister Malcorra open up new chapter on cooperation between Switzerland and Argentina

Press release, 26.05.2016

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, will sign an agreement with the Argentinian Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra in Buenos Aires today on expanding cooperation between Switzerland and Argentina. This agreement opens up a new chapter in the countries’ bilateral relations, which are characterised by many shared values. Among other things, the two countries cooperate closely in the area of dealing with the past. Before meeting Ms Malcorra, Mr Burkhalter paid tribute in the ‘Parque de la Memoria’ to the thousands of people who were murdered and disappeared during the military dictatorship. The working visit to Argentina is in line with Switzerland‘s Foreign Policy Strategy 2016-19, one of whose priorities is to establish strategic partnerships with selected states.

Switzerland and Argentina are in full agreement in many areas, as was noted in the joint declaration that Mr Burkhalter signed in the afternoon of his working visit to his Argentinian counterpart, Susana Malcorra. The declaration also forms the basis for developing closer cooperation between the two states. The talks open up a new chapter in the countries’ close bilateral relations.

One thematic area in which Switzerland and Argentina have both been involved for a considerable time is dealing with the past. For this reason, Mr Burkhalter took the opportunity of his visit to Buenos Aires to pay tribute to the people who were murdered and disappeared during the military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The names of some 20,000 identified victims of the military dictatorship are recorded in the ‘Parque de la Memoria’ (Memory Park). Accompanied by the director of the park, Nora Hochbaum, and Argentina’s state secretary for human rights, Claudio Bernardo Avruj, Mr Burkhalter placed flowers in the River Plate on whose banks the ‘Parque de la Memoria’ is situated. Many of the victims of the military dictatorship were thrown into and drowned in the River Plate.

"Paying tribute to the victims of state terror is a symbol of our sense of commitment with the people of Argentina," said Mr Burkhalter following his visit to the ‘Parque de la Memoria’. At the same time the visit also sends a message that Switzerland and Argentina must continue to work closely at the international level to ensure that such acts of state terror never happen again.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Argentina

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