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Swiss backtrack on support for UN migration pact

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Swiss backtrack on support for UN migration pact
Iranian refugees stage a sit in protest outside the ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens in October. Photo: AFP
17:22 CET+01:00
Switzerland's government on Wednesday backtracked from its pledge to support a United Nations migration pact after lawmakers insisted they have the final say on the matter.

The United States, several European countries along with Israel and Australia have already said they would reject the compact, which seeks to open up legal migration and better manage migratory flows.

The text was agreed in July following 18 months of negotiations and is due to be adopted next month at a meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. 

"Switzerland will not attend the intergovernmental conference for the formal adoption of the global compact," the Federal Council, the country's executive branch, said in a statement

Bern had on October 10th announced it would approve the pact in a declaration that also expressed reservations, notably that the country already applied the UN recommendations. 

Parliament then intervened, insisting that lawmakers wanted the final say on Switzerland's ultimate adoption of the deal. 

"The Federal Council believes that the United Nations Global Compact for Migration is consistent with Switzerland's interests," the statement added. 

"However, the Federal Council wishes to postpone its final decision pending conclusion of the parliamentary debates."

Read also: Asylum requests hit nine-year low in Switzerland

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