Ukrainian summit did not affect Russian-Swiss relations, says Swiss president

Swiss President Ignazio Cassis (center left) and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (center right) during the Ukraine Recovery Conference July 5, 2022 in Lugano, Switzerland. © Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle

Last week’s conference on reviving Ukraine, hosted by Switzerland in the southern city of Lugano, did not have a negative impact on Russian-Swiss relations, according to the Swiss president.

This content was published on July 10, 2022 – 11:55

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“Our position has been clear since we took the sanctions of the European Union [against Russia]. We have chosen our camp, that of Western values,” said Ignazio Cassis. Morning Sunday July 10 newspaper.

He said the Swiss embassy in Moscow had contact with the Russian foreign ministry “before, during and after” the two-day summit in Lugano aimed at supporting Ukraine in its reconstruction efforts.

“The Russians noticed what was happening. It didn’t elicit any particular reactions,” Cassis said.

Representatives of more than 40 countries and international organizations such as the European Investment Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have signed the so-called Lugano Declaration – a set of principles aimed at overseeing reconstruction of the war-torn country – at the meeting in the Swiss city which ended on July 5.

Sanctions and Protecting Power Mandate

Neutral Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but it decided to join the 27-nation bloc by imposing six sanctions packages on Russia since its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. This follows pressure from other countries and has drawn criticism from Russia.

In March, the Russian authorities placedExternal link Switzerland on a list of 50 countries that have committed “hostile actions” against Russia, its companies and its citizens, following economic sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine.

Despite this step, Russia has not challenged Switzerland’s protective power mandate between Russia and Georgia.External link, said Cassis. As a neutral intermediary, Switzerland has represented the interests of Georgia in Moscow and the interests of Russia in Tbilisi since March 2009.

Moreover, Moscow has not rejected a Swiss proposal to assume a protective power mandate for Ukrainian citizens in Russia, Cassis added. “The Russian authorities are analyzing it,” he said.

Despite embracing EU sanctions, Switzerland’s reaction to the war in Ukraine has been nuanced, he insisted. Swiss authorities have not expelled any Russian diplomats or banned Russian media, unlike other Western countries, he said.

Without giving details, Cassis acknowledged that opinions on the war in Ukraine differ among the seven members of the Federal Council (executive body).

” I am pleased. Our political system is built on diversity of opinion,” he told the NZZ am Sonntag paper.

According to recent reports by the CH-Media group, Sports Minister Viola Amherd wanted to sign an international declaration for the exclusion of Russian officials from international sports federations, but her request was rejected.

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