Switzerland Must Strengthen its Diplomatic Presence in Eritrea

CSt: strengthen diplomatic presence in Eritrea



Software Translation from German



www.swissinfo.ch | December 5, 2017





Switzerland must strengthen its diplomatic presence in Eritrea, without opening an embassy. It is the opinion of the Council of States, which with 27 votes against 16 and 0 abstentions approved the modified version of a motion of the National.


The parliamentary act returns to the People’s Chamber.


Christian Levrat (PS / FR), on behalf of the committee, underlined the importance of dialogue and relations with Eritrea. The Federal Council’s strategy is based on a gradual approach, one step at a time. The original text called for the immediate opening of an embassy, ​​which according to the majority was excessive, while the modified text, which simply speaks of diplomatic presence, allows this gradual approach.


Furthermore, the new formulation does not preclude the possibility of opening an embassy in Eritrea in the future and is therefore also positive from this point of view.



Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis explains in the Council of States why, from the point of view of the Federal Council, the opening of a Swiss embassy in Eritrea would not solve the problems with the country



A minority – for whom Thomas Minder (independent / SH) spoke among others – continued to support the opening of an embassy, ​​justifying it with the important presence of Eritreans in Switzerland and with the need to strengthen dialogue between the two countries. Didier Berberat (PS / NE) replied that it was not Parliament’s job to force the government to open an embassy. Furthermore, the existence of the latter does not in itself guarantee a halt to immigration.


For his part, Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis stressed the problem represented by Eritrea, which always provokes heated debates in the federal chambers. The question to ask is however if with the proposals that arrive such problem can be solved. According to the government, an embassy is not a solution, but contacts with the country must be increased. For this reason the modified version of the text is seen as positive.


The foreign minister also noted that he is already working to improve relations and did not rule out one day to personally visit the African state.


Regarding Eritrea, the “senators” want to support the multiple efforts undertaken by the United Nations on the political, financial and human resources to improve the situation. For this reason they have tacitly approved a motion in this sense of the national councilor Manuel Tornare (PS / GE).
The majority of councilors to the States have argued that as the Confederation is already actively supporting UN projects related to the African country, it is logical to continue on this path. For many years crimes against humanity have been committed in the state in question, including slavery, forced disappearances, torture and murder.



Source: https://www.swissinfo.ch/ita/tutte-le-notizie-in-breve/cst–rafforzare-presenza-diplomatica-in-eritrea/43727628