Monday, November 28, 2005

Swiss FM Expresses Backing for Kosovo Independence

Ljubljana, 28 November (STA) - Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey

said her country supports the formal independence of Kosovo as she

addressed a press conference in Ljubljana on Monday.

Speaking after meeting Slovenian counterpart Dimitrij Rupel, Calmy-Rey

said that Kosovo's lack of status is cause for many problems, both

political and economic.

Switzerland would like to see Kosovo's status settled first and then its

implementation of standards checked instead of the other way around, she


Kosovo is a very important issue for Switzerland, Calmy-Rey said, adding

that Switzerland is home to 10% of immigrants from Kosovo.

Solving Kosovo's status could resolve many issues, including those of

doing business and investing in the province, she added.

The question of standards is important, although it can be dealt with

after that of Kosovo's status, she said.

Rupel said that he and Calmy-Rey talked about the situation in Western

Balkans in general and that they did not discuss Slovenian President Janez

Drnovsek's nine-point Kosovo status plan at today's meeting.

Yet they agreed that the unresolved status of Kosovo is a potential source

of instability in Southeast Europe, and that the negotiating process should

be broadly supported by the entire international community.

Rupel and Calmy-Rey also discussed bilateral cooperation, with Rupel

thanking Switzerland for its donations to the Slovenia-run International

Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF).

Additionally, Calmy-Rey stressed the importance of the bilateral agreement

on the protection of mutual investments, as Switzerland is the second

largest source of foreign direct investment in Slovenia.

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