Russian Swiss history and partnership praised

Burkhalter (right) and his Russian counterpart Lavrov attended the Jubilee event at the House of Switzerland Keystone

Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has launched the festivities for the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Russia.

This content was published on February 8, 2014 minutes and agencies

In a speech at the House of Switzerland Olympic centre in Sochi, Burkhalter on Saturday highlighted the history of common ties between the two countries.

He said cultural and economic exchange have intensified in recent years.

“We have developed relations of mutual trust and confidence. On this bases we built a strong political dialogue that allows us to discuss all kinds of issues, whether we agree, or disagree.”

Burkhalter also stressed Switzerland’s role as neutral country and a mediator, notably in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe which it is chairing this year.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed the importance of Switzerland’s neutrality and the special status of Geneva as an international diplomatic hub.

Burkhalter, who also acts as Swiss president this year, took part in Friday’s opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

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