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General News of Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Source: GNA

Kufuor holds bilateral talks with Swiss President

Accra, July 10, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday conveyed Ghana's appreciation to the Swiss Confederation for its contribution to the country's multi-budgetary support and debt forgiveness.

Switzerland's annual direct support to Ghana's budget is put at about 10 million dollars.

President Kufuor said the country was also grateful for the enduring landmarks, the early Swiss missionaries left with the country, citing the Presbyterian Church, which he said, had proved to be a formidable force for good.

He said apart from schools and hospitals the Church has been running, the high level discipline exacted by its educational institutions, make its products the sort of people "we require to build the nation."

President Kufuor said these in remarks before going into bilateral talks with the visiting President of the Swiss Confederation, Mrs Micheline Calmy-rey, at the Castle Osu.

She is in the country as part of her African tour that would take her to Senegal, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi.

She had already been to Benin.

The bilateral talks between the two leaders covered the areas of trade, double taxation relief to boost Swiss investments in Ghana, support for the cocoa sector, pineapple production, increased budgetary support as well as assistance to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.

President Kufuor said Switzerland, although geographically small, has through its statecraft emerged as one of the greatest nations in the world.

Ghana could therefore learn a lot through deepened bilateral relations and partnership with that country.

Mrs Calmy-rey, who lauded Ghana for its successful democracy and respect for human rights said, they were in the country in a spirit of partnership.

"Ghana is a country, which has a special role in Africa, and therefore our natural partners."

She said they were interested in discussing the framework to attract more Swiss investments into the country. She ends her visit on Wednesday. 10 July 2007