Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, will pay a visit to Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey from July 8 to 12.
The Embassy of Switzerland in Cyprus said that in addition to talks with his counterparts in Cyprus and Turkey and a courtesy call on the President of Greece, the program also includes a visit to the UN buffer zone in Cyprus and the refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos.
The press release notes that “another topic covered during this trip is the Cyprus question, which has remained unresolved for decades.”
“In Cyprus Cassis will visit the buffer zone that separates the north and south of the island, where the UNFICYP (the United Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus) is deployed. He will also meet with UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar and members of the joint humanitarian Committee on Missing Persons (CMP). The CMP locates, exhumes and identifies persons who have been reported missing since the 1963-64 clashes and in 1974.”
Furthermore, it is said that Cassis will also address the Cyprus question at his meetings in Nicosia, Athens, and Ankara and discuss the topic of Switzerland’s good offices.
Moreover, he will take this opportunity to explain Switzerland’s position in relation to the European Union to his counterparts from EU member states Cyprus and Greece.
As regards the refugee crisis, it is noted that the conflicts in the Middle East – particularly Syria – also affect Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey.
“With almost 4 million refugees admitted, Turkey bears the brunt of the catastrophic situation in Syria. Large numbers of refugees are also arriving in Cyprus and the Greek islands. Switzerland provides support to all three countries in dealing with the challenges this poses.”
As head of the FDFA, Cassis will, therefore, assess the situation himself during this trip. Among other things, he will visit a refugee camp on Samos and discuss the refugee issue with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, and President Prokopis Pavlopoulos of Greece.
In particular, he will discuss the situation in the wider region with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the press release ends.