Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis met his Russian counterpart, Sergueï Lavrov, on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. However, the conversations did not lead to any progress concerning the spy case that has shaken Swiss-Russian relations.
Ignazio Cassis described the encounter as tense. “After all, we didn’t talk about the weather but about the information that has been circulating in Switzerland about possible Russian intelligence activities", said the minister after the bilateral meeting. He added that these activities could be classified as extraordinary.
Waiting for a calmer climate
Cassis didn’t indicate if the Russian minister apologised for the spying affair. “Such conversations are never intended for accusations or apologies. You simply exchange impressions and information that you have,” he explained. Cassis added that he invited Lavrov to Switzerland. But, Lavrov said that he would like to wait for the climate to calm down again before any proposed visit.
Relations between the two countries, usually good, have been somewhat strained in recent weeks, after Russian diplomats were suspected of large-scale espionage in Switzerland.