The FDFA State Secretary was received on 24 February by the South African Deputy Foreign Minister, Luwellyn Landers, in Pretoria. Together, Mr Rossier and Mr Landers co-chaired the sixth session of annual consultations between South Africa and Switzerland. The discussions focused on peace and security policy in Africa and Europe, the management of natural resources, and investment and economic and technical cooperation. Education and vocational training were also topics discussed in depth.
In addition, the State Secretary and his South-African counterpart took the opportunity to launch a sub-committee to host discussions on human rights, the rule of law, support for democracy and respect for diversity. At the economic level, South Africa is Switzerland's main trading partner on the African continent. Swiss companies are among the biggest investors in South Africa.
From 25 to 27 February, Mr Rossier then visited Burundi at the invitation of the Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation, Laurent Kavakure. This visit follows on from the visit that took place between Mr Kavakure and Mr Rossier in September 2014 in Bern. The FDFA State Secretary was received by the President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza. The topics discussed included strengthening political dialogue between Switzerland and Burundi.
Mr Rossier also took the opportunity of the visit to meet with several figures from Burundian civil society during the run-up to the June presidential election. He had personal meetings with representatives of different political parties and spoke with with members of the National Electoral Commission. Switzerland is supporting the organisation of the presidential elections in Burundi through a United Nations fund.
Switzerland has had an official presence in Burundi since the country's independence in 1962. It supports development cooperation and peacebuilding activities in the country. The FDFA State Secretary visited projects in the province of Ngozi that are supporting the process of decentralisation, land reform and better access to basic services for communities. In this context, Mr Rossier signed an agreement of CHF 6 million between Switzerland and the Republic of Burundi to promote decentralisation and strengthen local communities.
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