Foreign Affairs


Peace and security

Switzerland has paid for North Korean army officers to attend peace and security training courses in Geneva since 2011, it has been revealed. But several parliamentarians have criticised the support worth CHF150,000 ($170,000).  

Organ trade

Carla del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor for the United Nations tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has expressed her surprise at a new court to deal with alleged war crimes committed at the end of the 1990s in Kosovo, notably an illegal organ trade.  

Swiss-Iranian relations

Six Swiss People’s Party politicians are making headlines after their controversial visit to Iran over Easter. The group of rightwing politicians included two who helped lead the campaign to ban minarets in Switzerland.  

Spanish Civil War

A new book sheds fresh light on Swiss attitudes toward the regime of General Franco in Spain, suggesting that Swiss diplomats worked with it in order to protect Switzerland’s economic and political interests – at the cost of human rights.  

Ukraine annexation

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), currently chaired by Switzerland, will play a key role in measures announced in Geneva on Thursday to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine.  

Erasmus+

Swiss students will be able to continue studying abroad despite the European Union excluding Switzerland from the Erasmus+ exchange programme. Swiss voters in February approved controversial immigration curbs stalling bilateral relations with Brussels.  

Boon and bane

The success of the mission by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is measured by whether it is able to help de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, according to the Swiss ambassador to the OSCE, Thomas Greminger.  

OSCE

The Swiss head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Didier Burkhalter, plans to increase the presence of international observers in Ukraine. He has also called for moves to decentralise power in a bid to defuse tensions.  

Red Cross boss

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, is trying to make the organisation more transparent. In an interview with swissinfo.ch, he talks about the challenges of working in the Central African Republic and Syria.  

Rules of war

Palestine’s application to join the Geneva Conventions has been accepted and the other member countries have been informed, a spokesman for the Swiss foreign ministry confirmed on Friday. The request was formally registered on Thursday.  

Funds freed

Switzerland has decided to unblock $40 million (CHF35 million) in Tunisian funds being held in Swiss banks, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed. These are the first assets to be unfrozen in conjunction with the Arab Spring.