Didier Burkhalter in Cyprus for the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and in Jordan to inaugurate a water supply system in a refugee camp

Press release, 16.05.2017

Migration, its consequences and what a country like Switzerland can do to help will be at the top of the agenda during Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter's two-day trip to Cyprus and Jordan. Mr Burkhalter, who is head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, will be in Cyprus on Friday to attend the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. He will then go to Amman, the capital of Jordan, to inaugurate a water supply system in Azraq refugee camp. Switzerland's support for victims of the Syrian crisis is the country's largest humanitarian operation to date.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) will meet in Cyprus to discuss strengthening democratic security in Europe, combating terrorism and compensating victims of violence. The ministers of the 47 CoE member states will also consider an action plan aimed at protecting refugee and migrant children in Europe.

Migration and the vulnerability of children will remain on Mr Burkhalter's agenda during the second leg of his trip, which will include a visit to Azraq refugee camp, host to some 35,000 Syrian refugees. In keeping with Switzerland’s commitment to improving the refugees’ living conditions, Mr Burkhalter will inaugurate a water supply system for camp residents, who until now have relied on water brought in by truck.

In addition to improving the living conditions of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Switzerland is also providing support to the Jordanian people, who have had to deal with the arrival of millions of refugees in their country. This support includes financing ambulances for Jordan's civil protection service, which now has the modern equipment it needs to provide emergency care, and renovating schools, which are attended by nearly 50,000 Jordanian and Syrian pupils.

Another topic Mr Burkhalter will address is the region’s economic prospects and the need to create more jobs, especially for young people. He will discuss this with up-and-coming entrepreneurs on Friday evening at the dinner preceding the opening of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa (WEF-MENA).

One of the main goals of this visit is to strengthen bilateral relations through a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed by Mr Burkhalter and the Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi. The two countries wish to interact more regularly when it comes to political and security-related issues.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland – Cyprus
Bilateral relations Switzerland – Jordan

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs