During the official meetings, the head of the FDFA reiterated Switzerland's commitment in the region. "We are working for development and peace promotion in the Sahel, while responding to urgent humanitarian needs," he stressed. Stability and security in Mali are priorities of Switzerland’s new strategy for sub-Saharan Africa. Cassis told his interlocutors that Switzerland was prepared to support initiatives to foster dialogue to that end. The discussions also touched on the need for a peaceful transition to a new government following the events of August 2020. The transition must lead to the holding of free and transparent elections.
Visit to MINUSMA and various projects
During his visit to Mali, Cassis visited the Swiss contingent of MINUSMA (the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali). It is the largest contingent of Swiss military and police personnel seconded to the UN. In his meeting with UN Special Representative Mahamat Annadif, Cassis highlighted MINUSMA's role in creating stability and security in Mali.
Accompanied by National Council members Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter and Nicolas Walder, Cassis also went to Sikasso to visit various Swiss-backed projects. The projects are designed to benefit women, young people and displaced persons, in line with the objectives of the new Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24.
Cassis pays respects to Beatrice Stöckli
During his visit to Mali, Mr Cassis paid his respects to Beatrice Stöckli, the Swiss hostage killed by her captors in 2020. He planted a tree in her memory in the gardens of the Swiss cooperation office in Mali, observing a minute's silence. Mr Cassis requested the support of the Malian authorities in clarifying the circumstances of Ms Stöckli's death and securing the return of her body. At his meeting with President N'Daw, he presented a letter from the family of the deceased.
44 years of Swiss cooperation
Switzerland has been active in development cooperation, humanitarian aid and peace support in Mali since 1977. Since 2009, Switzerland has been working in Mali with various partners from government and civil society through a range of activities to build capacity and promote political dialogue. These are the priority areas of Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24.
The last official visit by a Swiss foreign minister to Mali was in 2009.
Following his official visit to Mali, Cassis will travel on to Senegal and The Gambia.
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