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Foreign Minister Paet: Estonia Aspiring to be Observer in International Organisation of Francophonie with Support of Switzerland


No. 307-E

At his meeting with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey in Tallinn, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the Estonia-Switzerland co-operation programme has consistently intensified bilateral relations. “The Estonia-Switzerland co-operation programme, which totals 370 million kroons, funds many projects, for example the treatment and rehabilitation of drug-addicted convicts in the security sector, the support of orphanages in the health care sector, and increasing fire safety in nursing homes and hospitals in the environmental sector,” said Paet. “The projects financed by Switzerland should help with the general rapid development of Estonia and give momentum to co-operation between the two nations,” Paet noted.

At the European Union-Switzerland summit that took place on 19 May 2004, Switzerland notified the EU of its plan to allocate 1 billion Swiss francs over 5 years for the new member states in order to support economic and social solidarity in Europe.

Paet mentioned many developments in Estonia-Switzerland co-operation. “We hope to conclude a representation agreement soon, on the basis of which Switzerland would begin to represent Estonia for the issuing of Schengen visas on the territory of the Palestinian Authority,” said Paet. “Estonia is preparing for the replacement of its electric and diesel trains in 2013-2014. The winner of the international procurement competition to carry this out was the Swiss company Stadler Rail AG,” said Paet while talking about ties between Estonian and Swiss businesses.

“Cultural relations between Estonia and Switzerland will also be reaffirmed soon—in September of next year Neeme Järvi will become the head conductor of the Swiss symphony orchestra Orchestre de la Suisse Romande,” added Foreign Minister Paet.

Estonia is currently applying for observer status in the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), of which Switzerland is currently the chairman. “Many cultural points of contact have formed between Estonia and the francophone cultural space. We feel it is important for international integration to be as close as possible; this include contacts with countries in the French cultural space,” Paet noted. “Observer status in the International Organisation of the Francophonie would help give additional momentum to cultural exchange and research co-operation with francophone countries,” he said. The International Organisation of the Francophonie stands for the vitality of French-language culture in the broadest sense possible and makes a contribution to resolving the primary international problems of today. The organisation brings together 70 nations, which includes 14 observer countries all over the world.

Swiss Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey expressed her clear support for Estonia gaining observer status in the International Organisation of the Francophonie.

Photos from the meeting of the Estonian and Swiss foreign ministers:

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