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Extraordinary meeting of the Federal Council on the situation in the Middle East

Berne, 26.07.2006 - The Federal Council held an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday to conduct intensive talks on the situation in the Middle East. It deplores the human tragedy unfolding in the region and is deeply concerned about the recent developments resulting from the conflict. The Federal Council confirms the policy it has pursued up to now. Switzerland’s activities are guided by concerns for the humanitarian situation and will reinforce the humanitarian aid it has provided so far. The Federal Council has decided to allocate immediately an additional CHF 5 million in emergency aid for the ICRC. As soon as the Swiss humanitarian aid teams on the ground have completed their assessment of needs, the Federal Council will decide on strengthening Switzerland’s humanitarian aid and support for other international bodies.

The Federal Council also noted with satisfaction the smooth running of the operations conducted to help those Swiss citizens wishing to leave Lebanon. It thanks the staff of the DFA at all levels for their unreserved commitment and competence. It also extends its sympathy to Swiss nationals affected by the conflict. We recall that to date the DFA has helped 875 people leave Lebanon, 80 of whom were foreigners with residence in Switzerland.

The Federal Council remains very concerned about the situation of the Swiss nationals living in the south of Lebanon, who are still prevented from leaving due to military operations. We still have no information about three Swiss citizens.

The Federal Council is committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the conflict within the context of the United Nations. It will continue to monitor the situation in the Middle East very closely, and will decide in due course on the appropriate measures to be taken by a neutral state.

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
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