MIL-OSI Europe: Closing address by President Viola Amherd at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine

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Source: Switzerland – Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport

Bern, 16.06.2024 – Closing address by President Viola Amherd, head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, Bürgenstock, Sunday, 16 June 2024.

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Ladies and gentlemen

Yesterday, one hundred countries and organisations came together at the plenary session. Twenty-six heads of state delivered statements.
They did not talk about weapons or war, but about peace. For the first time, we spoke at the highest level about peace in Ukraine.

And as such, this summit has generated momentum.

We spoke about peace and noted that there are different points of view. Despite those different points of view, we have managed to agree on a common vision here on the Bürgenstock.

We have set out that vision in the Bürgenstock Communiqué.
Herewith we are sending a clear signal to the people of Ukraine and to all those directly affected by the consequences of the war:

A large part of the international community has the desire to bring about change.

The high-level participation of your states and organisations has enabled us to launch a broad dialogue and develop common ideas on the path to a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

During my many conversations, I also sensed approval for this approach and a strong desire to see that happen.

This weekend, we have carried out important groundwork.

On the issues of nuclear safety, food security and the human dimension of the war, we have agreed that steps to build trust are possible.

I was very impressed by the ideas and points of view presented in the working groups. I would therefore like to thank the chairpersons for their work.

With the Bürgenstock Communiqué, we have established a framework around which further discussions should take place.

These are the concrete goals we have set ourselves and which we will all work towards:

  • Firstly, any use of nuclear energy and nuclear installations must be safe, secured, safeguarded and environmentally sound.
  • Secondly, food security must not be weaponised in any way. Attacks on merchant ships in ports and along the entire route, as well as against civilian ports and civilian port infrastructure, are unacceptable.
  • Thirdly, all prisoners of war must be released by complete exchange. All deported and unlawfully displaced Ukrainian children, and all other Ukrainian civilians who were unlawfully detained, must be returned to Ukraine.

One key question remains: How and when can Russia be included in the process?

We have heard it in many of your statements. A lasting solution must involve both parties.

Ladies and gentlemen

The discussions over the past two days have shown that there are different points of view.

All the more important is our understanding that the path towards peace in Ukraine must be pursued – on the basis of international law and, in particular, the United Nations Charter.

Further steps are needed to achieve that goal. Switzerland is ready to continue to play an active role in this process of dialogue.

I am confident that we will all commit ourselves to this process beyond the Bürgenstock – in the knowledge that the road ahead is long and challenging.

Switzerland will continue to be a committed partner. The international community is familiar with the tradition of my country and its good offices.

The world can be sure that we will continue to work for peace in Ukraine, just as we have done this weekend.

I would like to thank you most sincerely for everything that you and your states have achieved.

And I would also like to thank everyone who has worked on preparing and making this conference possible.

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