President of the Swiss Confederation meets U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation and Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE Testifies before the U.S. Helsinki Commission on February 25, 2014, and Meets With Vice President Joe Biden.
The President of the Swiss Confederation Didier Burkhalter paid a visit to 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-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. On Tuesday, February 25, he met with the members of the Helsinki Commission of the United States Congress in Washington, D.C. Before returning to Switzerland, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) was received by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in the White House.
The two leaders consulted on the current situation in Ukraine and how the country could return to peace and stability. The U.S. Vice President praised the strong and important friendship between the two countries and expressed deep appreciation for Switzerland´s continued protection of U.S. interests in Iran and Cuba. President Burkhalter and Vice President Biden also discussed opportunities for continued cooperation in the fields of non-proliferation, countering violent extremism, development and humanitarian assistance. President Burkhalter also presented Switzerland´s system of vocational education and training, since the U.S. has a great interest in strengthening their workforce´s skills.
“We are witnessing events which are symptomatic of a new division between East and West and the risk of reviving old tensions. Rifts between East and West were at the origin of the founding of the OSCE 40 years ago. The OSCE presents a platform for continuous dialogue, confidence-building, and constructive engagement and it plays an important role in addressing challenges and diffusing tensions between nations.”
—Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation and Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2014
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) aims to bring about a free, democratic, and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community. The OSCE’s activities are hands-on and cover three areas, from “hard” security issues to fostering economic development, ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources, and promoting full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The OSCE serves more than a billion people in fifty-seven participating States, including Switzerland and the United States.
“It is not security against someone but security that is jointly achieved. It is based on the premise that no state can be secure as long as one state is insecure,” stated President of the Swiss Confederation and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter in his July speech at the Permanent Council of the OSCE, where he outlined Switzerland´s approach and priorities for its Chairmanship of the organization in 2014.
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