Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann has decided to postpone his trip to Russia until the situation in Ukraine has settled down. The heads of Novartis and Roche were meant to join him.
The visit had been scheduled for October, but as he told the Swiss News Agency on Monday, it would not take place before 2015. Schneider-Ammann had been planning to travel with a prominent group of people from the Swiss business world – including the leaders of pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Roche, as well as representatives of about 20 other companies.
The minister said he was waiting for Russian-Ukrainian relations to improve, and for the negotiations between Russia and the European Free Trade Association – which includes Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland – to continue.
Unlike the member countries of the European Union, Switzerland has not imposed sanctions on Russia. However, the Swiss authorities are looking into measures to prevent circumvention of the sanctions. In addition, Switzerland’s export ban on military equipment to Russia and Ukraine will be expanded to include specific items like drones, training jets and hangars.
Switzerland currently holds the presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe. As Schneider-Ammann has pointed out, adopting the EU’s sanctions would weaken Switzerland’s OSCE role as mediator.