President of the Swiss Confederation dedicates memorial to the victims of the coach disaster in Sierre

Bern. About 130 family members and friends of the victims of the coach accident in Sierre three years ago gathered on Friday for an official memorial event in Valais. The event, at which a monument was unveiled near the Auguste Piccard amphitheatre in Sierre, was attended by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Dutch State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker, President Simonetta Sommaruga and representatives of the Canton of Valais.
President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga dedicates memorial to the victims of the coach disaster in Sierre (Photo: State Chancellery Canton of Valais)
President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga dedicates memorial to the victims of the coach disaster in Sierre (Photo: State Chancellery Canton of Valais)

Twenty-eight people lost their lives in the coach accident on 13 March 2012, including twenty-two Belgian and Dutch children. President Sommaruga, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Jean-Michel Cina, president of the Valais Cantonal Council, and François Genoud, mayor of Sierre, all gave short speeches to pay tribute to the victims.

"I share your grief and your emotion, just as all the Swiss people shared the pain you suffered three years ago," President Sommaruga told the family and friends of the victims. "The empathy and solidarity of the people of Valais – and of Switzerland – were spontaneous and strongly felt. They are just as intense today."

Ms Sommaruga and Mr Cina then laid a wreath in memory of the tragic event in Sierre at the Auguste Piccard Amphitheatre at the Lac de Géronde, as did Prime Minister Michel for Belgium and State Secretary Sander Dekker for the Netherlands.

Besides Mr Michel, the official Belgian delegation included Kris Peeters, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment, the Economy and Consumer Affairs, Jan Jambon, Deputy Prime and Minister for Security and the Interior, Jacqueline Gallant, Minister for Transport, State Secretary Bart Tommelein and other high-ranking officials.

The members of Valais Cantonal Council attending the memorial event were President Jean-Michel Cina, Vice President Jacques Melly, and Esther Waeber-Kalbermatten.

Before the official ceremony organised by the Canton of Valais and the City of Sierre, Ms Sommaruga and the Belgian prime minister met briefly to discuss current political issues, in particular Switzerland’s relations with the EU and its member states.

Last modification 13.03.2015

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