Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter on working visit to the Netherlands

Bern, Press releases, 23.08.2013

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter will travel to The Hague to meet the Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans. As part of his working visit to the Netherlands, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) will also visit the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), both of which are based in The Hague.

Mr Burkhalter's meeting with his Dutch counterpart next Monday will focus on European policy and enhanced bilateral cooperation on consular matters. Mr Burkhalter will inform Mr Timmermans of the Federal Council's most recent decisions towards the consolidation of the bilateral path with the EU. He will also sign with his Dutch counterpart a memorandum of understanding on cooperation among the two states in the area of consular services. Mr Burkhalter will also inform Mr Timmermans about Switzerland's priorities for its chairmanship of the OSCE in 2014.

During his visit, Mr Burkhalter will also visit two institutions headquartered in The Hague. With Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the OPCW, he will discuss current issues relating to the control and disarmament of chemical weapons. The OPCW implements the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997, which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Switzerland considers this convention to be particularly significant for security policy, as it constitutes the first complete and verifiable prohibition of weapons of mass destruction.

In addition, Mr Burkhalter will meet with Sang-Hyun Song, the president of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in The Hague.  Switzerland regards the establishment of the International Criminal Court, which began operating in 2002, as significant progress in the struggle against impunity, and in furtherance of and respect for international humanitarian law and human rights. From the outset Switzerland has therefore shown strong commitment to the ICC's task of prosecuting persons accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Since 2011, for example, Switzerland has held the vice-presidency of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Further information:

International criminal justice (FDFA)
International Criminal Court
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs