Switzerland considered that the sanctions it imposed against Russia under the pretext of war in Ukraine do not interfere with the work of Moscow’s diplomatic missions in Geneva, including the meetings of the committee to discuss the amendment of the Syrian constitution. This comes after criticism by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in which he stressed that Switzerland is no longer a neutral place to host such activities.
Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Pierre Alain Elchinger said his country was “making efforts to ensure that all Russian official delegations can come to Geneva to work in the best conditions.” He added that Switzerland “shows the greatest possible flexibility when considering requests to visit the country from Russian delegations” and that Swiss sanctions against Russia “do not create obstacles to the work of diplomatic missions.”
After Lavrov’s assertions that the Swiss sanctions had led to logistical problems, especially with regard to the meetings of the committee to discuss the amendment of the Syrian constitution, the Swiss spokesman said that his country “has never taken coercive measures against Russian diplomatic missions, and sanctions against Russia do not interfere in the work of diplomatic missions,” he added. Geneva “considers Russian entry applications with all possible flexibility within the framework of the current legislation.”
A few days ago, during the Primakov readings summit in Moscow, Lavrov criticized the actions of the Swiss government and its accession to European sanctions against Russia, which made Switzerland lose the status of a neutral country. He said: “Switzerland can keep Geneva a platform for international negotiations, including the Syrian issue, if Russian diplomats are not subject to discriminatory requirements, whether in issuing visas or in flying planes with delegations”.
Lavrov called on Switzerland to “provide legal guarantees on paper that the issuance of visas or flights of aircraft with our delegation will not cause any problems.” He explained that Switzerland confirmed that it can guarantee the free movement of its planes in Swiss airspace, but in order to reach Switzerland, you need to cross the airspace of some European countries, stressing that Switzerland has been informed that solving this problem is its responsibility by concluding an agreement with these countries; if they want to keep Geneva a place for the meetings of the committee to discuss the amendment of the constitution on Syria.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.