Official working visit to Bern by Macedonian foreign minister Antonio Milososki

Bern, Press release, 04.05.2009

On 4 May Macedonian foreign minister Antonio Milososki made an official working visit to Bern, where he held talks with his counterpart Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey.

The main topics of the talks held in the Von-Wattenwyl House were the cultivation of relations between the two countries, discussion of bilateral, regional and international topics and preparation for the Swiss presidency of the Council of Europe. The last bilateral contact at ministerial level was at the end of March 2008, when Mrs Calmy-Rey visited Skopje.

In the discussions Mrs Calmy-Rey referred to the very good relations between Switzerland and Macedonia. She said that the 60,000 Macedonian citizens living in Switzerland made a major contribution to the consolidation of these close relations. She told Mr Milososki that Switzerland strongly favoured Macedonia's European integration and also explained the main aspects of Switzerland's   European policy.

Switzerland also supports Macedonia in the area of technical and financial cooperation. This financial support totalling CHF 12 million concentrates on aspects of good governance (dialogue and understanding between the language groups, democracy, the rule of law, conflict prevention), industry and employment, support for infrastructure projects, health and the environment. 

One of the main agenda items was the successive presidencies of Switzerland and of Macedonia in the Council of Europe. From 18 November 2009 to mid-May 2010, Switzerland will hold the presidency of the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe. After this Macedonia will take over the six-month presidency. Mrs Calmy-Rey explained to her Macedonian counterpart the Swiss policy of concentrating the activities of the Council of Europe on its three core areas: protection of human rights, promotion of democracy and the rule of law. Switzerland attaches particular importance to the urgently needed reform of the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Mrs Calmy-Rey proposed an intensification of cooperation with Macedonia during the Swiss presidency.


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