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President Klaus Iohannis, welcomed by Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin

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President Klaus Iohannis, who is on an official visit to the Swiss Confederation, was welcomed on Thursday by his counterpart, Guy Parmelin.

The official welcoming ceremony took place at the Presidency of the Swiss Confederation, Lohn Domain.

From the delegation that is accompanying the Romanian President in Switzerland is the Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu, the presidential councilors Leonard Orban, Cosmin Marinescu, Delia Dinu, Dana Birsan, state councilor Sandra Pralong, as well as the Romanian ambassador to the Swiss Confederation, Bogdan Mazuru.

According to the Presidential Administration, Klaus Iohannis's visit takes place within the constant high level bilateral dialogue of the last years, as well as in the context of celebrating in 2021, 110 years since establishing diplomatic relations between Romania and the Swiss Confederation.

 

President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday stated that he agreed with his Swiss counterpart, Guy Parmelin, to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in fields such as research and innovation, digitalization, education, cyber security, and he thanked him for Switzerland's support to Romania in the process of accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

"I told him how much I appreciated the substantial Swiss investments in Romania, in both weight and added value. More than that, these investments bring the excellence of Swiss know-how to our country. They create jobs and encourage innovation, the adoption of new technologies, and friendly solutions for the environment. We agreed to further strengthen cooperation in sectoral fields of common interest as research and innovation, digitalization, education, cyber security. I also thanked Mr. President for Switzerland's support to one of Romania's foreign policy objectives - our accession to the OECD," the head of state told the joint press conference held with his Swiss counterpart, Guy Parmelin.

Iohannis underscored that strengthening cooperation is necessary considering the situation created by the pandemic.

"Given that economic recovery and our societies' returning to normal depends on the understanding of our inter-dependencies and coordinated efforts, I hailed, on the occasion of my dialogue with Mr. President, the upward trend recorded in the bilateral trade in 2020 and the first half of this year. This is as more remarkable as this pace has maintained during the entire period of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was very difficult," said Iohannis.

The head of state highlighted that one of the engines of visibility and development of bilateral relations is represented by the Swiss contribution to European Union's cohesion objective and voiced his appreciation for the results of the first tranche of this contribution, showing that it had a very good absorption rate in Romania, of more than 85 percent.

"Through it, we implemented projects in Romania in a series of very important fields: environment and infrastructure, promotion of the private sector, including by supporting the export capacity, social development, and human resources development. Romania's desire is now to repeat this successful experience with the second tranche of the Swiss contribution. I hope that the programme will be kicked off as soon as possible, for it proved very beneficial both in terms of the bilateral relations and also in terms of Switzerland's relationship with the European Union," explained Iohannis.

He showed that, from Romania's perspective, Switzerland remains a key partner of the Union adding he was sure that efficient modalities to advance this cooperation will be found very soon.

The discussions between the two officials also focused on the situation in the Western Balkans.

"We underscored the strategic importance of the region for the entire continent and, in this context, Romania's support for the continuation of the expansion policy. We also discussed the difficulties and opportunities brought by the situation in the Eastern Vicinity and we agreed on the need to strengthen support for the states in the region so that they can consolidate their democratic foundations and successfully deal with the internal and external challenges they face," said Iohannis.

Further on they approached the recent democratic developments in the Republic of Moldova.

"We highlighted the need to strengthen our external partners' efforts to ensure the very necessary support to the new authorities in the Republic of Moldova. In this context, we discussed exploring together the possibility of developing such Romania-Switzerland joint initiatives to support the reforms on the agenda of the new government in Moldova," said the head of state.

He brought to mind that Romania and Switzerland celebrate 110 years of diplomatic ties in 2021.

"This is a symbolic moment for the Romanian-Swiss relations and, looking back, I could see with much satisfaction during our dialogue the excellent level of bilateral cooperation at political, economic, and social levels," said Iohannis.

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