50 years of diplomatic relations: Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis travels to Albania
Bern, 20.11.2020 - On 23 November 2020, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will be in Tirana for an official visit to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Albania. The meeting with Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama and the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj will focus on bilateral relations, Switzerland's international cooperation in the region and Albania's current chairmanship of the OSCE.
On 23 November, Federal Councillor Cassis will meet Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama and the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj. The meetings will provide an opportunity to discuss matters of shared interest, to look back over 50 years of diplomatic relations and to discuss the two countries' candidacies for a seat on the UN Security Council. The discussions are also expected to address the upcoming OSCE Ministerial Conference, which is taking place on 3 December, Albania's candidacy for EU membership and the development of the Western Balkans.
Cassis will also pay a courtesy visit to the Albanian president, Ilir Meta. The most recent visit by a Swiss foreign minister to Albania was in 1999, when Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss met his counterpart Paskal Milo in Tirana.
Visit to a post-earthquake reconstruction project
Cassis will conclude his official trip with a visit to a Swiss-supported project for the renovation of houses damaged in the devastating earthquake of November 2019, which killed more than 50 people and left 30,000 homeless. The visit to the project will give the head of the FDFA direct insight into Switzerland's humanitarian commitment in Albania.
Long-standing commitment to international cooperation
Switzerland and Albania have a long-standing partnership. Albania is a priority country for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Since 1996, Switzerland has invested around CHF 345 million in Albania's development, and is one of the country's most important bilateral donors alongside Germany. A working lunch on the subject of international cooperation will be an opportunity to exchange views with implementing partners about the importance of Switzerland's current commitments and the future of its engagement in Albania.
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