President Cassis underlines Switzerland's strengths in multilateral work before UN General Assembly

Bern, 20.09.2022 - Switzerland has added value to contribute in tackling global challenges, stated President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis in his address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday 20 September 2022. He outlined how Switzerland's strengths are more important than ever in today's geopolitical situation. In future, Switzerland aims to work even harder for open dialogue, confidence-building and closer cooperation between states. President Cassis will attend various events and hold bilateral talks with several heads of state and government on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"The UN offers a unique framework for realising that which comes first in its charter – namely uniting our strengths to safeguard world peace and international security," said Cassis in his address to the members of the UN General Assembly. He explained the added value that Switzerland can offer the international community in making compromises and consensus possible and strengthening multilateralism. In a world marked by crises and wars, this is more important than ever before.

"Values are the compass for our action," Cassis added, affirming the fundamental importance of respect for international law in this regard: "We cannot allow the power of the strong to prevail over the rights of the weak."

The commitment to peace and security in the world is a traditional pillar of Swiss foreign policy. Switzerland is widely recognised for its mediation efforts, hosting international conferences and exercising protecting power mandates. "International Geneva is the centre of multilateral diplomacy in matters of global governance, peace, human rights, disarmament, environment and health, but also in terms of anticipating technological challenges," Cassis underscored. He also mentioned that Switzerland's upcoming seat on the Security Council in 2023/24 will see the country taking on responsibility for preserving peace and security: "We will be working hard to fulfil the trust you have placed in us and to be 'a plus for peace'."

Given the pandemic, war and increasing geopolitical polarisation, multilateralism must focus its strengths on the essential issues of peaceful coexistence. "Purposefully strengthening multilateralism and returning to our core work is the single most important tool for jointly finding a way out of these turbulent times and into a better future," noted Cassis.

Events and bilateral exchanges during the high-level opening week

Mr Cassis will attend various events on Tuesday and Wednesday during the high-level opening week of the UN General Assembly. Together with Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, he will be heading the pledging conference for the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund. The fund finances grass-roots initiatives against violent extremism worldwide.
On Wednesday, 21 September, the President of the Swiss Confederation will officially deposit the instrument of ratification of the amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague with the UN. This amendment makes the intentional starvation of civilians in civil wars a punishable offence. Switzerland initiated this amendment and pushed it through in diplomatic negotiations. This success bears witness to Switzerland's long-standing humanitarian commitment to the protection of civilian populations – an issue that Switzerland will also prioritise when serving on the UN Security Council in 2023 and 2024.

Under the aegis of US President Joe Biden, the Seventh Replenishment conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will take place on Wednesday 21 September. Switzerland has been co-financing the fund for many years. At the conference, Mr Cassis will announce Switzerland's contribution of CHF 64 million for the next three years.

Mr Cassis will also use the high-level opening week as an opportunity to meet directly with various heads of state and government – including Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, President of Ecuador Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, Bosnian Presidency Chairman Šefik Džaferović, and President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum. He will also speak with the departing President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer. The talks will focus on bilateral relations and discussions of current affairs.

At a reception on Wednesday evening, Mr Cassis will also meet Mr Biden for a brief exchange.

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs