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Swiss landmarks turn blue to mark UN 75th birthday

The Palais des Nations and the Jet d’eau in Geneva are among more than 180 European buildings and monuments that were illuminated blue on Saturday evening to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary. Also taking part was the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.

The United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when the UN Charter, agreed four months earlier, came into force. Starting out with 51 original members, there are now 193. Switzerland joined in 2002.

“The UN Geneva, International Geneva and Switzerland have carved out a reputation for themselves as places where exchanges and discussions can take place in the greatest confidence and neutrality,” Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of UN Geneva, said in a statement ahead of the lighting of the UN’s Geneva HQ.

“We will continue, thanks to the diversity of actors there, to stimulate international cooperation and strengthen multilateralism, which is currently in an important phase of transition.”

Swiss candidacy for the Security Council

Among the other events held to mark the anniversary was a Swiss-UN Society (GSUN) public event on Switzerland’s candidacy for the Security Council.

The country is aiming for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in 2023-2024.

The online event featured Pascale Baeriswyl, head of the Swiss UN mission in New York, and Michael Møller, the former director of the UN in Geneva.  

Joseph Deiss, who was Swiss foreign minister at the time of Switzerland’s joining of the UN, opened the meeting. He said Swiss neutrality was no problem for its UN work.

Baeriswyl said that among the factors key for a successful candidacy were a good reputation and fruitful cooperation.

The Swiss candidacy for the seat is currently in its end phase, but elections won’t take place until June 2022.