Switzerland in the Sahel: special envoy nominated
BERN, Switzerland, October 23, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has appointed Councillor of States Didier Berberat as Swiss representative to the International Follow-up and Evaluation Committee in Mali established under the Ouagadougou Agreement. The Federal Council was informed of this decision during its meeting earlier today.
The FDFA has decided to retain the services of Mr Didier Berberat as Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann’s tenure as Switzerland’s special envoy to the Sahel is ending. On 20 September of this year, the Federal Council appointed Mr Stoudmann special representative to the Western Balkans within the framework of Switzerland’s chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Mr Berberat, who has carried out numerous missions in West and Central Africa as a member of the Swiss delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie, will lend his support and contribute his expertise to the peace process in Mali. As part of his mandate, he will identify political opportunities for Switzerland to be involved in the peace process currently under way, advise Switzerland about its future activities in the region and support the maintenance and development of its network of partners. Mr Berberat’s activities will enhance Switzerland’s profile as a promoter of peace in the Sahel. Mr Berberat will hold the title of Special Envoy of Switzerland to the Sahel and will carry out his work on a part-time basis, which will enable him to continue to fulfil his parliamentary responsibilities.
Switzerland actively contributed to regional mediation efforts by Burkina Faso on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN. These efforts led to the signing of the “Preliminary Agreement to the Presidential Election and the Inclusive Peace Talks in Mali” on 18 June 2013 in Ouagadougou. Switzerland’s efforts, which have won wide recognition, are carried out alongside the mediation efforts of ECOWAS, the United Nations, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, France, the United States, Algeria, Mauritania and Niger within the International Follow-up and Evaluation Committee that is monitoring this agreement.
Switzerland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs