Murree, 8 July 2023 (TDI): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif received the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis. The Swiss Foreign Minister, accompanied by three members of the Parliament, is on a bilateral visit to Pakistan from 7-9 July 2023 at the invitation of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister welcomed Foreign Minister Cassis and his accompanying delegation on their first visit to Pakistan. He reiterated the high importance Pakistan attached to its relations with Switzerland which are based on a shared belief in fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance bilateral ties, especially in the areas of climate change, trade and investment, development cooperation, higher education and vocational training.

Acknowledging Existing Ties and Enhancing Future Collaboration

The Prime Minister thanked the Swiss Government for providing support to Pakistan in the aftermath of last year’s devastating floods. He also appreciated the Swiss businesses’ approach to the resolution of issues and their work ethic and invited more Swiss companies to invest in Pakistan, particularly in the renewable energy and IT sectors.

The two sides also agreed to collaborate in tourism promotion including eco-tourism and development of related infrastructure using both the G2G and B2B channels. In this regard, it was agreed that a meeting would be convened shortly to further spell out modes of cooperation.

The Prime Minister also witnessed the signing of an MoU on “Disaster Management” between Pakistan and Switzerland. The MoU envisages bilateral cooperation in disaster risk management including preparedness, response and recovery, aimed at reducing the adverse impact on the people and the economy.

Discussion on Climate Change and Pakistan’s Flagship Programs

Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change made a detailed presentation on the country’s climate vulnerability and the onset of an accelerated climate crisis pushing the country into a recovery-resilience trap. The Minister explained that the adaptation costs are very high but Pakistan is rebuilding as much as it can.

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The Minister presented Pakistan’s flagship program including the Living Indus Initiative and Delta Blue Carbon Project which will resume 350,000 hectares of mangrove wetlands, reducing 147 million metric tonnes of carbon and bringing revenues of US$ 250 million. Both agreed on disaster management, early warning and carbon market collaboration.

Switzerland-Pakistan Bilateral Relations

Pakistan and the Swiss Confederation enjoy cordial relations grounded in cooperation at international forums with the common aim to contribute towards global peace and prosperity.

This is the first bilateral visit to Pakistan by a Swiss Foreign Minister in the last 17 years. The visit of Councillor Cassis has helped reinforce the existing friendly ties between the two countries.

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