Middle East conflict: Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis calls for dialogue
Bern, 02.06.2020 - Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis attended the ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on 2 June 2020 by videoconference. The humanitarian multilateral Committee coordinates aid funding to the Palestinian Authority. The virtual meeting focused on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Palestinian economy and efforts to resume the dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
This was the first time that Switzerland – a bridge-builder and major humanitarian actor in the Middle East – has participated at ministerial level in the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC). The Swiss foreign minister, Ignazio Cassis, urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to continue to work together to fight COVID-19. In response to the crisis, the FDFA has increased its humanitarian support on the ground and is supporting job creation programmes.
Call for dialogue
Switzerland calls on the parties to the conflict to create space for the resumption of a credible multilateral dialogue, and not to take unilateral measures. The prospect of a partial annexation of the West Bank would make it more difficult to return to the negotiating table and would be in contravention of international law. "Switzerland will continue to provide good offices to support the resumption of credible talks and to preserve the prospect of peace," stated Federal Councillor Cassis.
The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) is the main policy-level coordinating body for aid funding to the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). The AHLC seeks to promote dialogue between donors, the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel. The AHLC is chaired by Norway and sponsored by the EU and the US (Co-Chairs). The United Nations also participates together with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The AHLC was established in 1993 as part of the Oslo peace process. The process enabled the negotiation of various agreements between Israelis and Palestinians with a view to finding a resolution to the Middle East conflict. These negotiations took place in Oslo under Norwegian mediation.
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