In her speech, Mrs Calmy-Rey expressed the wish that Switzerland should increase its influence on the international scene in order to defend its interests, ensure its prosperity and guarantee its security.
The Ambassadors Conference will last until 26 August. The subjects discussed during this meeting will include Switzerland's European policy and the future of the Swiss financial centre. Other major agenda items will be disarmament, a priority of Swiss foreign policy, access to water, which is a strategic challenge, and Switzerland's role in the areas of education, research and innovation.
The Ambassadors Conference brings together about 200 representatives of Switzerland abroad - ambassadors, consuls general and heads of the cooperation offices of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
This annual gathering enables the participants to hold in-depth exchanges on the main dossiers of the Confederation's foreign policy. These subjects are discussed in plenary sessions, workshops and working groups.
As in previous years, members of the Federal Council will participate in some of the workshops. This year, Mrs Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) and Mr Moritz Leuenberger, head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) will be present.
The conference will end on Friday 27 August with the traditional excursion with the President of the Confederation, Mrs Doris Leuthard. The venue for this year's excursion will be the canton Obwalden.
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