FDFA State Secretary Livia Leu received Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov in Bern today for political consultations. Talks focused on topics of bilateral interest including trade and energy. Human rights, Switzerland’s good offices, the current tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border and European security matters were also discussed.
For FDFA State Secretary Livia Leu, it was important to continue Switzerland’s open, constructive dialogue with Russia. During the talks, both sides expressed their appreciation for the regular high-level meetings and close exchanges between Switzerland and Russia on a range of issues, including trade, finance, customs, energy, science, research, security policy, foreign policy and human rights.
Both countries are members of the OSCE and the Council of Europe, and the State Secretary reiterated in this context the obligation to implement the commitments entered into and rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). She referred, in particular, to the closure of human rights organisation Memorial International and the continued detention of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
Focus on European security and cooperation
Discussions on cooperation in multilateral organisations focused on strengthening the OSCE to bring greater peace and stability to Europe and, in this context, Switzerland’s OSCE Action Plan was presented. Switzerland is concerned about the massing of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and believes that security in Europe can only be strengthened through dialogue. The OSCE needs to play a key role with its confidence- and security-building measures and as a platform for dialogue.
Ms Leu and Mr Titov also discussed political developments in Eastern Europe and Iran, and Switzerland’s mandate as protecting power for Russia in Georgia and for Georgia in Russia. Switzerland’s candidacy for a seat on the UN Security Council was also addressed.
The Federal Council’s Foreign Policy Strategy designates Russia as a priority country. Political consultations between Switzerland and Russia at the level of FDFA State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister are held once a year.