G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19

Bern, 26.03.2020 - Address by the President of the Swiss Confederation H.E. Mrs Simonetta Sommaruga

Excellencies,

Dear colleagues and friends,

I would like to thank Saudi Arabia for inviting Switzerland to this year’s G20. I would like to focus on three points:

First: Switzerland is one of the world’s most prosperous countries, and yet, our wealth has not protected us from the pandemic. My country is very affected by the virus. This shows that there are things money cannot buy.

Our priority must be the health of our people. At the same time, let me say, as a representative of the many small and highly globalized countries: for countries like ours, it is crucial that international law and multilateralism prevail. Rules that we have jointly agreed upon are more important than ever. Respecting them, especially in times of crisis, is also an expression of our mutual solidarity.

This brings me to my second point: What will we do once the crisis is over? This crisis will leave its mark on all of us around this virtual table, but also on all those who are not sitting with us today.

Will we be able to draw the lessons of what we are going through?

We should start thinking today about how we can ensure a more resilient, more sustainable and more responsible world. Let us do this together.

My third and last point: In some regions, the full impact of the pandemic has not yet taken its toll on countries already affected by war and violence. As the representative of a neutral country with a strong and long humanitarian tradition, I seize this opportunity to join the UN Secretary General in his call for a global unconditional ceasefire in all armed conflicts. In addition, I call on all participants today to make sure that International Organizations obtain the necessary funding to help the poor and the vulnerable.

Let us leave no one behind.

Thank you.


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