Bern, Press release, 16.03.2009

Mr Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, paid an official visit to the federal authorities in Bern on 16 March 2009.

Mr Davis held talks with the head of the FDFA, Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey. The main topic of discussion was Switzerland's forthcoming chairmanship-in-office of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which begins on 18 November and lasts until mid-May 2010.

Switzerland's priority in this role will be to continue and to intensify our present policy, which is to focus the Council of Europe's activities on three core areas: protection of human rights, promotion of democracy and the rule of law. Particular attention will be paid to the urgently-needed reform of the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr Davis also held discussions with Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police and Federal Coucillor Pascal Couchepin, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs.

This is the first official visit by the present Secretary General since his election in 2004.

Claude Altermatt, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs,
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