President Simonetta Sommaruga received Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev this morning at the Lohn country residence in Kehrsatz outside Bern. During the conversation that followed she welcomed the democratic process under way in the Central Asian country and emphasised the importance of human rights and civil society in advancing this development. President Sommaruga assured the Kyrgyz president of Switzerland’s support for the upcoming elections, which involves providing electronic ballot boxes, assisting with election arbitration proceedings, voter education and election monitoring.
President Atambaev then held talks with Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, whom he had met last year in Bischkek when Mr Burkhalter was on a tour of Central Asia in his capacity as Swiss president and chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and from whom he had received the invitation to visit Switzerland. Following the visit, cooperation between the Kyrgyz Republic and the OSCE was strengthened and current challenges, such as the crisis in Ukraine, were addressed.
The focus of today’s talks was on the good relations between the two countries and cooperation within the OSCE. Federal Councillor Burkhalter assured the Kyrgyz president that Switzerland was following closely the process of democratisation in the country and outlined details of the technical and financial support announced by President Sommaruga: this funding, which will amount to CHF 1.8 million, is intended for the upcoming parliamentary, local and presidential elections between 2015 and 2017. Federal Councillor Burkhalter also stressed that respect for human rights and freedoms, the protection of minorities and the work of civil society actors were essential for sustainable democratic development. The longstanding and successful development cooperation programmes run by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO are to continue and the Kyrgyz Republic will receive support amounting to CHF 15 million a year as part of the 2012–2016 cooperation strategy.
The Kyrgyz foreign minister, Erlan Abdyldaev, and Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter sealed the continuation of development cooperation by signing a corresponding Memorandum of Understanding.
Last modification 26.03.2015