President welcomes UN Secretary-General on farewell visit

Press release, 04.10.2016

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his wife Ban Soon-taek paid a farewell visit to Switzerland on Tuesday, 4 October. President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, thanked the outgoing UN Secretary-General for his ten years of dedicated service at the head of the international organisation. They also discussed current challenges and Switzerland’s relations with the UN.

At the reception held in the Von Wattenwyl House, which was also attended by the president of the National Council, Christa Markwalder and the president of the Council of States, Raphaël Comte, Mr Schneider-Ammann commended the strong ties between Switzerland and the United Nations. These ties, he said, are demonstrated by Switzerland’s commitment on humanitarian issues and its efforts in relation to human rights, peace promotion and sustainable development.

Mr Schneider-Ammann also underlined Switzerland’s aim of further consolidating International Geneva’s position as one of the centres of global governance. This is also shown by Switzerland’s contribution as host to the UN headquarters to the refurbishment of the UN building in Geneva. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that Geneva was a second home both for him and for the United Nations, and he expressed his thanks for Switzerland’s strong support for the UN.

Before the reception in the Von Wattenwyl House, the president and the Secretary-General, accompanied by his wife, enjoyed a stroll through the Bern’s old town. On Monday, Ban Ki-moon bade farewell to staff at the UN headquarters in Geneva; on Sunday he attended a concert in his honour in Geneva, also attended by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter.

Ban Ki-Moon was appointed UN Secretary-General at the start of 2007 and will remain in office until the end of December. The milestones in his term of office as head of the United Nations include the adoption of Agenda 2030 by heads of state and government at the 2015 UN Special Summit in New York and the UN Climate Conference in Paris in 2015. Other key themes include the reform of peacekeeping missions and migration issues.

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