Secretary General: Switzerland is a valued NATO partner

  • 01 Mar. 2017 - 02 Mar. 2017
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  • Last updated: 02 Mar. 2017 18:37

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the value of the Alliance’s partnership with Switzerland during a visit to Bern and Geneva on Wednesday and Thursday (1-2 March 2017).

Today, the Secretary General met with the Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Didier Burkhalter, and the Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, Mr. Guy Parmelin, in Bern. The leaders discussed current security challenges and opportunities for closer cooperation between the Alliance and Switzerland, including on cyber defence. The Secretary General welcomed Switzerland’s plans to become a contributing partner to NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn.

Mr. Stoltenberg also praised Switzerland’s contributions to peace and security. Switzerland has helped many NATO partners in building democratic defence institutions and provides support for NATO’s peace-keeping efforts in Kosovo. Within NATO, Switzerland has helped to shape thinking and policies on human security issues, including to promote the role of women in peace and security.

The Secretary General outlined the importance of projecting stability beyond NATO’s borders during a Townhall address at the Maison de la Paix in Geneva. Speaking to an audience of students, diplomats and journalists, Mr Stoltenberg stressed that training local forces and building resilient defence institutions in partner countries is key in the fight against terrorism. 

At the end of his visit, Mr. Stoltenberg visited the Headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, marking the first visit by a NATO Secretary General to its headquarters. He met with ICRC President Peter Maurer for talks on humanitarian issues and cooperation between NATO and the ICRC. Mr. Stoltenberg thanked the ICRC for its advice on the development of NATO’s Policy for the Protection of Civilians, adopted by Allied leaders at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016. He also underscored that NATO’s commitment to International Humanitarian Law is fundamental.