Minister Champagne concludes visit to Switzerland and Italy on his way to Lebanon

News release

August 26, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, concluded successful visits to Switzerland and Italy, where he met with his counterparts and top officials from key international organizations.

In Switzerland, Minister Champagne met with Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, to discuss cooperation on multilateral issues, including the search for a COVID-19 vaccine. He also met with Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, World Trade Organization; Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum; and Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman, World Economic Forum, as well as officials from the Red Cross.

In Italy, Minister Champagne met with Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the strengthening of relations between Canada and Italy as well as Italy’s upcoming presidency of the G20. The ministers also talked about multilateral cooperation on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While in Rome, the Minister also held a call with Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, to discuss the emergency situation in Beirut and the two countries’ common support for critical reforms needed in Lebanon.

Finally, Minister Champagne held a meeting in Rome with Wang Yi, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was also on an official visit to Italy.

Minister Champagne now travels on to Lebanon, where he will be officially hosted there by Charbel Wehbe, Minister of Foreign Affairs. While in Beirut, the Minister will meet with Michel Aoun President of Lebanon, and with representatives from the United Nations, the Lebanese Red Cross and other civil society organizations.

During his travels, Minister Champagne is following all applicable health and safety protocols, including public health advice measures. He will self-quarantine for 14 days upon his return to Canada.


“The human toll of the tragedy in Beirut demands a robust international response, and Canada has stepped up. Through our assistance and the generosity of individual Canadians directly supporting first responders on the ground through personal donations, as well as the Government of Canada’s matching fund, we are ensuring humanitarian aid goes to those most affected by the explosion. My visit to Beirut will be an opportunity to see the impact of this work up close, highlight Canada’s ongoing support for the Lebanese people and advocate for much-needed political and economic reforms in Lebanon.”

- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Canada is providing a total of $30 million in humanitarian and early recovery assistance following the explosion at the Port of Beirut.

  • Through the Lebanon Matching Fund, for every eligible dollar donated to the Humanitarian Coalition and its members between August 4 and 24, 2020, Canada will provide the equivalent to the Humanitarian Coalition, up to a maximum total amount of $8 million.

  • Through its Middle East engagement strategy, Canada is also providing more than $47 million in humanitarian assistance for crisis-affected populations in Lebanon in 2020. This assistance includes, among other things, support for access to basic health services and the supply of medical assistance.

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