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Swiss Exhibition in Bhutan 2004
"I have a strong belief in the friendship between our two countries. It is a friendship built on mutual trust that has stood the test of time," said Dr Walter Bruno Gyger, ambassador of Switzerland to Bhutan, who was on a farewell visit to the country from April 12 to 18.

Dr Gyger said that he served as an ambassador to Bhutan with big admiration. "Bhutan's opening to the world slowly and steadily has made it a model state in the world," he said. "The track on which Bhutan treads today under the leadership of His Majesty is the right path."

Dr Gyger who received an audience with His Majesty the King on April 13 also called on the prime minister, Lyonpo Jigmi Y Thinley, and senior government officials.

"Our cooperation is concrete, visible, useful and sustainable," said the ambassador who added that a possible area of cooperation could be in international affairs, with Switzerland as a member of the UN.

Speaking on the ongoing process of political reformation in the country Dr Gyger said that the new democratic constitution will most probably bring about big changes in the country. "I have observed the growing consciousness among the people especially among the village headmen. They have now understood what democracy and decentralisation are."

The ambassador said that personally he had made many friends in Bhutan. "I hope the friendship will continue not just at the official level but between our two peoples. And my last wish is I want to see the problem of people in camps in Nepal solved as soon as possible."

Official Swiss assistance started in 1972 with the first Swiss project on integrated rural development in Bumthang and formal diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1985.

Switzerland's main priority areas are education, natural resources, building of suspension bridges, infrastructure sector, and promotion of vocational institutes especially in wake of a growing possible future unemployment crunch.

Dr Walter Bruno Gyger who was born in 1946 and holds a doctoral degree in economics joined the federal department of foreign affairs in 1974. In a career spanning 30 years, Dr Gyger served as vice-director of the former directorate of international organisations with a rank of a minister, ambassador to Senegal, Gambia, Mali and Cap-Vert, stationed in Dakarand and also headed the permanent mission of Switzerland to the international organisations in Geneva. He will assume his new ambassadorship to Turkey soon.

Contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper, 2004
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