First high-level visit from Switzerland in Iraq since more than a decade: State Secretary Yves Rossier in Baghdad, Najaf and Erbil

Bern, Press release, 22.04.2016

The State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yves Rossier was on official visit to the Republic of Iraq from 19th till 22nd April 2016 where he visited Baghdad, Najaf and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This was the first visit to Iraq at such a political level since more than a decade.

The objectives of Mr. Rossier’s visit were to intensify contacts with the federal authorities in Baghdad as well as regional Kurdish authorities in Erbil, get first-hand information about the situation in this country at the time of the fight against ISIL, review the regional situation with Iraqi counterparts, visit Swiss humanitarian aid projects and identify possible fields of future cooperation.

In Baghdad on 19th April, State Secretary Rossier met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, with Minister of Defense Khaled Al-Obeidi, with Deputy Finance Minister Fadhel Nabi and held the second round of the political dialogue with his Iraqi counterpart Naizar Al-Khairullah, Undersecretary for bilateral relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He reviewed with him bilateral relations, presented the Swiss humanitarian response in Iraq, discussed economic issues and exchanged ideas on migration challenges.

In Najaf on 20th April, the holy city of the Shia community of Iraq, Mr. Rossier met with Governor Louay Al-Yaseri and with Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Saed Al-Hakim.

In Erbil on 21st April, he had official meetings with regional President Massoud Barzani, with the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa and with Minister of Interior Karim Sinjari. He also visited the internally displaced persons camp of Baharka near Erbil where the Swiss development cooperation (SDC) agency has been providing humanitarian support.

Since the end of 2013, the security and humanitarian situation in Iraq has deteriorated significantly and more than 3.3 million people are fleeing atrocities committed by ISIL and other armed groups. Since January 2014, Switzerland has allocated CHF 33.1 million for the Iraq crisis to assist international and multilateral partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations, Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Moreover, Switzerland supports the United Nations with three experts in the field of water, environment and sanitation as well as the protection of civilians.

Further information:

Switzerland’s support to UNHCR operations in Iraq

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs