Bennett calls on visiting Swiss president to act against Iran’s nuclear program

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday called on Swiss President Guy Parmelin for his country to take meaningful action against Iran’s continued progress on its nuclear program.

Switzerland is one of 35 states on the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency for 2021-2.

The two leaders also spoke about expanding bilateral cooperation in science, safety and health, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Mr. President,” Bennett said after their meeting, “we are eager to cooperate with Switzerland in many areas, including the global battle against COVID-19, in which both Israel and Switzerland have gained considerable experience and we can gladly learn from you and me. I’m sure the other way around. I think we’ll see more pandemics in the future and it’s something the world has to learn to live with. “

Before his trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow next week, Bennett also spoke of possible cooperation on climate issues.

“We are also eager to cooperate in business, technology and innovation,” said Bennett. “Both countries have a lot to offer, specifically in climate change. We understand that this is a great mission for the children, for the grandchildren, for our future and we can do it together ”.

Swiss President Guy Parmelin signs the guestbook at the President’s residence in Jerusalem on October 28, 2021, along with President Isaac Herzog (right) and their respective wives, Caroline (left) and Michal (right). (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

Parmelin is the first Swiss president to visit Israel in more than two decades. He urged that peace talks be resumed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Any positive economic measure cannot stop the repeated cycle of violence if it is not part of the political process,” Parmelin said. “Therefore, I have called on behalf of Switzerland to initiate and continue the process of seeking peace to get closer to different people.”

Parmelin offered Switzerland as a meeting place for such talks. He also delivered the same message when he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday afternoon.

Abbas told Parmelin that Switzerland can play “an important role in the peace process.”

“Creating a political horizon is at the center of Switzerland’s concerns, and Switzerland is committed to supporting dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, because economic steps cannot prevent violence if they are not part of a political effort,” he said. Parmelin.

Parmelin also urged Abbas to hold Palestinian national elections. The Palestinians have not voted for their national leadership in over 15 years; Abbas indefinitely delayed a push to hold elections earlier this year.

Swiss President Guy Parmelin (left) meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on October 28, 2021 (WAFA).

Ramallah insists the elections were delayed because Israel had not allowed Palestinians in Jerusalem to vote. But observers largely agree that Abbas feared his internally divided and unpopular Fatah faction could face humiliating defeat at the hands of rivals.

“We urge the Palestinian Authority to end the division and intensify efforts to hold Palestinian national elections,” Parmelin said.

In his own comments, Abbas criticized the United States for its unfulfilled commitment to reopen a US consulate in East Jerusalem. The office previously served Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza.

“Good talks need real implementation, especially regarding the reopening of the US consulate in East Jerusalem,” Abbas said.

Early Thursday, President Isaac Herzog received Parmelin and his wife Caroline at the president’s residence. Herzog raised the problems of Israeli civilians and MIAs held by Hamas in Gaza during their conversation.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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