Official working visit to Bern of Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sujata Koirala

Bern, Press release, 03.03.2010

On 3 March, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Mrs Micheline Calmy-Rey received the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal Mrs Sujata Koirala for a working visit. The talks covered Switzerland's activity in Nepal as well as other bilateral and international issues. Mrs Koirala was also received by the Speaker of the National Council Mrs Pascale Bruderer Wyss.

Switzerland has been involved in development cooperation with Nepal for 50 years. The FDFA runs a programme which is jointly co-ordinated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and by the Directorate of Political Affairs (Political Affairs Division IV). The discussions in Bern covered the regional situation and the peace process, which remains fragile, the ongoing drafting of a new Nepalese Constitution, the human rights situation, the integration of former rebels in the national security forces and ongoing development projects. Mrs Calmy-Rey and Mrs Koirala noted that bilateral relations were excellent and discussed ways and means of developing them further.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal listed the projects and priorities of her country for the future, including plans for a Year of Tourism in Nepal in 2011. She also met the head of the SDC Mr Martin Dahinden. Mrs Koirala was received by the Speaker of the National Council, Mrs Pascale Bruderer Wyss, who is planning to pay an official visit to Nepal in autumn of 2010.   

The opening of an Embassy of Switzerland in Kathmandu in 2009 allows to consolidate and to diversify the bilateral relations. Nepal will remain a priority country of Switzerland's bilateral development cooperation. With contributions of 26.8 million Swiss francs in 2009 and of 28.8 million francs (planned) for 2010, Switzerland is one of the main partners of Nepal in the area of development cooperation.

Among other activities, SDC has contributed to the construction and maintenance of more than 3000 hanging bridges and of several hundred kilometres of roads, in order to improve access to isolated mountain regions. Switzerland also provides informal support to Nepal, notably through facilitation, in order to assist the peace process. Switzerland played an important part in establishing an office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in in Nepal in 2005. It is currently seconding three civilian experts to this office and to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as three unarmed officers as military observers within the framework of the United Nations Mission to Nepal (UNMIN). 

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