CEPR Delegation meets Swiss President Michelene Calmy-Rey
In Geneva in March 2011 a delegation of Members of the European Parliament met with Micheline Calmy-Rey, who holds the position of both President and Foreign Minister of Switzerland.
The delegates were able to discuss key elements of the Palestine issue, including the illegal Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip, the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, and reconciliation between Palestinian political factions.
President Calmy-Rey pledged Swiss support for the demands for democracy sweeping the Middle East and for peace and justice for the Palestinian people.
On the key Palestinian issues President Calmy-Rey briefed the delegates on the Swiss position, stating that Switzerland was supportive of reconciliation between Palestinian factions. She was also able to answer questions about the Swiss contribution, through the UN, to the rebuilding of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon, completely destroyed by the Lebanese army in 2007.
On 22nd March, President Calmy-Rey declared that Switzerland is preparing a
comprehensive initiative to help bring an end to the five year siege of Gaza, which will include the opening of all borders.
She stated: "If and when the Egyptian government allows goods to go in via the Rafah crossing, we will be ready to ensure that the crossing is logistically capable of facilitating the flow of goods."
Leader of the delegation Lord Andrew Phillips: "Israel's rejectionist policy is a direct result of the international community not doing enough to implement international law, and we are hopeful that Switzerland will be an exception to this rule".
Swiss MP Geri Muller: "Switzerland has always been clear about the Palestine issue, including recognising the result of democratic elections and maintaining relations with all Palestinian parties including Hamas and Fatah".
The delegates were:
Lord Andrew Phillips
Geri Muller MEP
Alexandra Thein MEP
Derek Vaughan MEP
Dr Arafat Shoukri, Director, CEPR
The Council for European Palestinian Relations is an independent non-profit organisation registered in Brussels committed to a just peace and a restoration of Palestinian rights.