Swiss Federal Council
Calmy-Rey Continuing the Swiss Humanitarian Tradition
Focussing again on Switzerland’s good services
thk./rt Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey earned a great deal of respect when she made her participation at the WEF talks dependent on her being able to meet with US Foreign Secretary Colin Powell. Her proposal that the estranged parties, the USA and Iraq, should meet in Switzerland gave rise to hope that a return to the negotiating table might even still be possible in this conflict. This proposed ‘last opportunity meeting’ by the Federal Councillor in Davos, continues the humanitarian tradition of neutral Switzerland. Iraq made known last Sunday that it was in principle prepared to take part in such talks. The USA have still not agreed to such talks, but instead relentlessly continue to promote war, and they are still trying to justify armed intervention with alleged evidence.
The Swiss Federal Councillor’s second proposal for talks concerns humanitarian aid for the civilian population in Iraq in case of war. To this end Calmy-Rey has invited representatives of those countries that are likely to be swamped by huge streams of refugees. This meeting is planned for mid February. In addition to representatives from individual countries, delegates from organisations such as the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Society have also been invited to take part.. On Saturday the USA declined their participation at this conference. Iraq was not invited in order to avoid political discussions between conflict parties.
Parallel to this, the Federal Councillor called for a new UN resolution from the Security Council before any American attack specifying respect for humanitarian International Law.
This activity of the part of the newly elected Federal Councillor signals a return to Switzerland’s role in world politics. Micheline Calmy-Rey is pursuing an independent path, one based on humanitarian International law, and is drawing world-wide attention to Switzerland’s tradition. One can only hope that she will also continue to offer a political meeting involving high-ranking Iraqi and US officials to find a way out of the crisis via negotiations.