Bern, Switzerland (PRWEB) February 24, 2014
President of the Swiss Confederation Didier Burkhalter visits the United States from February 24 to 25, 2014. On Monday, February 24, he spoke before the United Nations Security Council in New York in his capacity as Chairperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, before meeting on Tuesday, February 25, in Washington, D.C. with the members of the Helsinki Commission of the United States Congress. Before returning to Switzerland, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) will be received by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. The crisis in the Ukraine will be the focus of the various meetings during the United States visit.
Mr. Burkhalter's address to the Security Council allowed him to explain the priorities of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship and speak about cooperation between the regional security organizations and the United Nations. He also reiterated the OSCE's willingness to play an active role with regard to the crisis in the Ukraine and provide expertise to support possible solutions.
From New York, the President of the Swiss Confederation will travel to Washington, D.C., where he will meet with the members of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, more commonly known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which has considerable influence within the OSCE. Mr. Burkhalter will also speak on the priorities of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship and the crisis in the Ukraine before the members of the commission, which is made up of 18 members of Congress and a representative from the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Defense.
Before returning to Switzerland to take part in the Federal Council meeting, the head of the FDFA will be received by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. The discussion between the two men will mainly focus on bilateral relations and the possibilities presented by the OSCE for overcoming the crisis in the Ukraine. In particular, Mr. Burkhalter will set forth the results of his contact with the Ukrainian authorities and the proposals he made to them on behalf of the OSCE.
Mr. Burkhalter and Mr. Biden will also take stock of relations between their two countries. Close ties result from the fact that more than a million U.S. citizens have Swiss backgrounds. Economic relations are also good, with the United States the second biggest market for Swiss exports after the European Union (Swiss exports to the United States in 2012: CHF 25 billion -.approximately USD 27 billion; imports: CHF 11 billion - approximately USD 12 billion).
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