NATO Secretary General stresses closer security cooperation in visit to Switzerland

  • 22 Nov. 2012 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 22 Nov. 2012 17:58

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed the importance of cooperative security and building stronger security partnerships during talks with Swiss government leaders on Thursday (22 November).

From left to right:  Ueli Maurer, Head of the Federal Department of Defence of Switzerland; NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Didier Burkhalter, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Switzerland

The Secretary General, who was on a one-day visit to Switzerland, met with Swiss Vice President and Defence Minister Ueli Maurer and the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Didier Burkhalter in Bern. This was the first visit of a NATO Secretary General to Switzerland since 2004. During his talks Mr. Fogh Rasmussen thanked Switzerland for its contribution to NATO’s Kosovo mission and various Trust Fund projects and discussed where NATO and Switzerland can cooperate further. The Secretary General noted that Switzerland “is a keen and generous contributor” to cooperative security. “Your role is essential and highly appreciated,” he said.

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen also promoted security cooperation in an address to this year’s Churchill Symposium, which is organised by the University of Zurich’s Europe Institute. He said NATO nations and Alliance partners like Switzerland should use Winston Churchill’s bold vision for closer European cooperation in 1946 as an inspiration. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO and partner nations shared the same threats and as such needed to work together to address them, especially in times of economic austerity.  He noted that while European nations have moved to take up more responsibilities for their own security, they needed to do more. “We must show greater readiness to engage beyond our borders when necessary and we must build stronger security partnership around the globe, to find common solutions to common problems,” said the Secretary General. He added that no country, including Switzerland can afford to stay on the sidelines when it comes to security and protecting values like democracy. “We both understand the importance of defending and promoting those values in an uncertain world.”