The participation of the former Swiss President Joseph Deiss at the Royal cremation of the late Thai King underlines the important and close links between Switzerland and Thailand, which share more than 80 years of diplomatic relations.
Reiterating the condolences expressed by then Swiss President Johannes Schneider-Amman in the wake of the passing of the late King on 13 October 2016, Joseph Deiss said: "The passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is a great loss. His vision and action for the country but also His strong engagement with the world and the importance He attached to promoting peace and dialogue, leaves a lasting legacy for Thailand." Underscoring the late King’s and the Thai Royal family’s special relationship with Switzerland, he added: "The strong ties between our two countries that go back more than a century, were strengthened comprehensively throughout His seven decade long reign. We fondly recall the time between 1933 and 1951, when the late King and His family lived in Lausanne. He will remain in our memory as a true friend of Switzerland."
Former Swiss President Joseph Deiss has a distinguished career in government, politics and academe. As a member of the Swiss government from 1999 to 2006, he successively held the portfolios as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1999-2002) and as Minister of Economic Affairs (2003-2006). In 2004, he served as the President of the Swiss Confederation. Subsequent to his time in Swiss government, he was elected as the President of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, serving from 2010 to 2011. While in Government, he twice met the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, namely in 2000 and then again – as Swiss President - in 2004, both times on the occasion of official visits to Thailand.