Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi to pay State Visit to Switzerland on 25 and 26 November

Press Release, FDJP, 20.11.2015

Bern. Relations between Switzerland and Tunisia, which have been good for decades, have become even closer since the Tunisian Revolution in 2011. This will be underlined by President Beji Caid Essebsi’s state visit, which will take place in Bern on 25 and 26 November. Talks will centre on Tunisia’s transition towards democracy, the Swiss cooperation programme, the dialogue on migration, security and the fight against terrorism, as well as bilateral economic relations.

On Wednesday, the Federal Council will receive the Tunisian president with military honours in front of the Federal Palace. Presidents Sommaruga and Essebsi, along with a number of government officials from both countries, will then meet for official talks at the Bernerhof.

The state visit is a way of expressing Switzerland’s recognition of the progress Tunisia has made in recent years towards democracy and the rule of law. At the same time, President Essebsi’s visit is an opportunity to further strengthen bilateral relations both politically and economically. The blocked funds of former President Ben Ali and his entourage, which are being held in Switzerland, will also be discussed.

Switzerland and Tunisia have been partners in migration matters since 2012. Furthermore, Tunisia is a partner in Switzerland’s 2011-2016 programme for North Africa. Totalling around CHF 16 million in 2014, Switzerland’s commitment in this regard centres around three areas in particular: the transition towards democracy and human rights; economic development and employment; migration and protection.

Several agreements and protocols are to be signed during President Beji Caid Essebsi’s visit. On the evening of the first day, as is tradition, a gala dinner will be held. On the second day, there will be a round table meeting with business representatives, as well as a tour of an Emmi production plant in Ostermundigen – the dairy producer Emmi has a subsidiary in Tunisia. During their tour of the Ostermundigen plant, the group will also meet with apprentices – this will be an opportunity to discuss the great importance of vocational education and training as a means of tackling youth unemployment.

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