Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis meets with Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne

Press release, 07.05.2021

On Friday 7 May 2021, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis held an official working meeting in Geneva with Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne. Bilateral relations between the two countries and multilateral cooperation were the main topics of discussion.

During the meeting, Mr Cassis and his Australian counterpart highlighted the good relations between their two countries. Switzerland and Australia are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations this year..
“On this occasion, we have the intention to consolidate our bilateral relations, intensify exchanges and explore new areas of collaboration”, said the federal councilor Cassis.

Multilateral cooperation and international news
Mr Cassis then offered his congratulations to Australian Mathias Cormann on his election to the post of secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Both Ministers expressed their willingness to continue to strengthen multilateral cooperation in these areas, which can already be described as dynamic and effective.

Turning to international affairs, Mr Cassis presented to his counterpart Switzerland's China Strategy 2021–24, which was recently adopted by the Federal Council. The two ministers also discussed the extremely worrying situation in Myanmar, relations with the Pacific islands and the Pacific Islands Forum.

After three previous telephone contacts, the meeting between Ms Payne and Mr Cassis took place in person, with both ministers stressing the value of being able to re-establish personal contacts after more than a year of the pandemic, and reiterating the importance of collaboration and international institutions in managing the COVID-19 crisis. 

An important partner for Switzerland
Australia is an important partner for Switzerland in many areas such as the economy and trade, but also in education and research, including polar research. In addition, Australia is home to one of the largest Swiss communities abroad, numbering almost 26,000 at the end of 2020. Switzerland and Australia share many fundamental values, such as democracy, the rule of law, the strengthening of human rights and protection for minorities. These are all areas where cooperation at the multilateral level is strong and effective, and the two ministers expressed their intention to continue to strengthen it.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Australia

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs