The visit of the President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis to New York for the opening week of the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York was marked by the war in Ukraine. He met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday.
“During my meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, I asked Russia to refrain from holding so-called referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine,” Cassis said afterward. the interview.
The President of the Confederation also informed Mr. Lavrov of the deep concern aroused in Switzerland by the threat of the use of nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin again threatened on Wednesday morning to resort to a nuclear strike.
In his speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Cassis had already strongly condemned Russian military aggression in Ukraine and demanded an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops.
Protection mandate discussed
Switzerland is always ready to offer its good services between Ukraine and Russia, recalled the Ticino. At Ukraine’s request, Switzerland has already drawn up a protective power mandate for Ukrainian citizens in Russia and handed it over to the Russians.
Mr. Cassis inquired about the situation with his Russian counterpart. However, no further announcement on this subject was made after the meeting. The Federal Councilor simply stressed that neutrality and good offices remain Switzerland’s instruments for dialogue.
The President of the Confederation also spoke about the war and its consequences during the thirty or so bilateral talks he held in New York. He notably met European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Mr Cassis was impressed by French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech. The latter perfectly knew how to give weight to his remarks against the war in Ukraine, with the “grandeur” specific to France, noted the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Interview with the Iranian President
During a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi, Ignazio Cassis also mentioned Switzerland’s concern about the circumstances which led to the death of Masha Amini, he further told the media in New York. The young woman was beaten to death by police, prompting worldwide criticism of Iran’s human rights record and strong protests in Tehran.
The Ticino man said that Switzerland continues to urge Iran to respect women’s rights and human rights in general.
Mr. Raisi took a stand on this and said it was in Iran’s interest to protect the individual rights of all its citizens. This is why justice will investigate this case, said Mr. Cassis.
Preparation for the Security Council
The President of the Confederation said he had a good exchange with Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso. Like Switzerland, Ecuador will sit on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for two years from January 2023.
From the beginning of October, Switzerland will participate daily in all meetings of the organs of the Security Council, initially as an observer. The new member countries are already associated with certain discussions and are thus involved in the Council’s tasks, explained Pascale Baeriswyl, Switzerland’s ambassador to the UN in New York. She will represent Switzerland on the Board.
Invited by Joe Biden
Before returning to Switzerland overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, Ignazio Cassis will attend a reception hosted by US President Joe Biden on behalf of the host country.
The two men will shake hands again, two days after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London, during which Mr. Cassis was seated next to the Biden couple.