From 19 to 27 September, Dominique Hasler, Liechtenstein’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sports, traveled to the United States. She attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York, held numerous meetings in Washington, DC and also visited Chicago to inaugurate Liechtenstein's newest Honorary Consul.
At the UN Minister Hasler spoke on Liechtenstein’s advocacy of the international rule of law and accountability for the gravest international crimes, as committed for example in Myanmar and the decade-long conflict in Syria. She highlighted Liechtenstein’s initiative to create a IIIM as a pathway to justice for the Syrian people and also addressed the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, in particular the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls.
On COVID-19 Minister Hasler talked about how the pandemic has exposed existing inequalities and how all nations need to work together to distribute vaccinations around the world. She also spoke on the need to urgently address climate change. In relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Minister Hasler highlighted the Liechtenstein Initiative on Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) - a public-private partnership leveraging the financial sector to fight against human trafficking and modern slavery. Minister Hasler also emphasized Liechtenstein’s commitment to an effective and inclusive multilateral system and highlighted the need to reform the Security Council and the strengthen the role of the General Assembly.
During her visit in Washington DC, Minister Hasler met with the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Friends of Liechtenstein Caucus, Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan, and Rep. Randy Weber of Texas. At a working breakfast in the Capitol Building, Minister Hasler discussed with the congressmen ways in which Liechtenstein and the United States could increase trade and commerce. The US is Liechtenstein’s second largest bilateral trading partner after Germany and Liechtenstein businesses are active in nearly 100 US congressional districts, employing thousands of people. The group also discussed their interests in enhancing transatlantic relations, as well as boosting cooperation and partnerships to fight corruption, authoritarianism, protecting critical infrastructures, as well as strengthening democracy.
While in Washington, Minister Hasler gave a keynote address at an event co-hosted by Women in International Security (WIIS) and the Embassy of Liechtenstein, Washington. At the event titled “Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Under Threat: Conflict and Authoritarianism, Closing Civic Space and Covid,” Minister Hasler talked of the need to confront inequalities and human rights violations women are facing in different parts of the world, as well as accountability towards violations of international law. She stressed the importance of the UN’s Women, Peace, and Security Agenda and brought attention to the “shadow pandemic” brought on by COVID-19, namely pervasive domestic violence.
Minister Hasler also met with Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS). Since 2014, Liechtenstein has been a Permanent Observer of the OAS and has supported important OAS projects, in particular in the fields of gender equality and the strengthening of democracy.
Rounding out her US visit, Minister Hasler traveled to Chicago to inaugurate Julie Danis as Liechtenstein’s Honorary Consul to the Midwestern United States. While in Chicago she also spoke at DePaul University’s Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. In a lecture entitled “Liechtenstein – Diplomacy of a Small State at Work” she spoke of how diplomacy and international law has been integral pillars of Liechtenstein’s foreign policy and a protectorate of Liechtenstein’s sovereignty. She highlighted the important role of international organizations and of close cooperation with trusted partners.
Minister Hasler also met with Chicago Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar and representatives of World Business Chicago to speak about opportunities to broaden Liechtenstein’s economic footprint in the Chicago area, as well as for Chicago-based businesses to take advantage of Liechtenstein’s unique business location.