Ms Leuthard referred to the final day on which the round-the-world flight, begun in March 2015, was successfully accomplished as "a milestone on the path towards using our world's resources sustainably". She highlighted the fact that this is a year in which Switzerland has clearly demonstrated its innovative power and engineering prowess, following the recent opening of the Gotthard base tunnel, the longest railway tunnel in the world.
The round-the-world flight of approximately 40,000km is the result of a partnership between the Confederation and the project initiators. Solar Impulse arose from a cooperative project between the federal institutes of technology and Swiss companies; 19 Swiss research institutions were also involved. Since the project was launched in 2003 the Confederation has provided considerable support in a number of ways.
On the fringes of the celebrations surrounding the arrival of Solar Impulse, Ms Leuthard also met several members of the UAE government for talks. At the talks both parties paid tribute to the tradition of good relations between Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is one of Switzerland's main trading partners in the Middle East and North Africa.
During a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Energy Suhail, Mohamed Al Mazroui, Ms Leuthard discussed the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Bern in 2014 and relating to cooperation in the field of energy. In particular, they discussed issues related to the cleantech sector and to energy supply and efficiency.