Ms Leuthard referred to the final day on which the round-the-world flight, begun in March 2015, was successfully accomplished as "a milestone on the path towards using our world's resources sustainably". She highlighted the fact that this is a year in which Switzerland has clearly demonstrated its innovative power and engineering prowess, following the recent opening of the Gotthard base tunnel, the longest railway tunnel in the world.
The round-the-world flight of approximately 40,000km is the result of a partnership between the Confederation and the project initiators. Solar Impulse arose from a cooperative project between the federal institutes of technology and Swiss companies; 19 Swiss research institutions were also involved. Since the project was launched in 2003, the Confederation has provided considerable support in a number of ways.
On the fringes of the celebrations to mark the arrival of Solar Impulse, Ms Leuthard also met two members of the UAE government. Her discussions with Thani Al Zeyoudi, minister for climate change and the environment, centred on implementing the decisions of the Paris Climate Change Conference, as well as raising awareness of environmental issues among young people.
Federal Councillor Leuthard also took advantage of her visit to Abu Dhabi to hold talks with energy minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazroui. The meeting allowed the two ministers to review the current international energy situation and discuss the policies that have been implemented in Switzerland and the UAE. They also exchanged views on the issue of reducing CO2 emissions.
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