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Swiss conference focuses on Ukraine ‘reform, resilience and recovery’

Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano. © Keystone / Michael Buholzer

An international conference on reconstructing post-war Ukraine has opened in the Swiss city of Lugano with the intention of creating a charter for recovery.

This content was published on July 4, 2022 - 15:23
swissinfo.ch/mga

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis called on delegates to agree on a “Lugano Declaration” for the sustainable recovery of Ukraine. 

“Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine has forced us to unite and face up to this war with all the determination that we can muster, and to commit ourselves to supporting the sorely tried Ukrainian people on the long road to sustainable recovery,” Cassis, who also holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, said on Monday.

“What binds all of us in this room together is the desire – in this time of horror, wanton destruction and grief – to provide the people of Ukraine with the prospect of a return to a life of self-determination, peace and a bright future. That road is long, but it is never too early to prepare for the time when the weapons fall silent.”

Addressing the conference by video link from Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “Russia’s war is not just an attempt to take our country, but a challenge to the European system. The reconstruction of Ukraine is therefore not just a local matter, but the task of the entire democratic world”.

The two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference had already been scheduled as an edition of the Ukraine Reform Conference before the Russian invasion in February. It was attended by several international politicians, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Climate treaty

Cassis said the conference should also continue with its original agenda of helping guide Ukraine through political reforms.

“It is crucial that these efforts continue unwaveringly, especially in the fight against corruption, improving transparency and the independence of the judiciary, and that they are not stalled by the war,” he said.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal attended the conference in person along with several members of parliament. Swiss parliamentarians met Ukrainian counterparts at the conference on Monday to discuss future cooperation between the two countries. The Ukrainian delegation is due to meet members of civil society in the afternoon.

Also on the sidelines of the conference Swiss Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga signed an agreement with Ukraine on implementing the Paris climate treaty. “The agreement will mobilise funding in addition to that available through international cooperation and enable climate protection that goes beyond existing programmes,” the environment ministry tweeted.

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