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Calmy-Rey looks to strengthen Russian ties

Finance, science and technology, health and energy are all areas where Swiss-Russian relations can be strengthened, according to Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.

Meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday, Calmy-Rey said trade relations with the two countries were “excellent”, but could be improved in other areas.

“We need to progress in a certain number of specific areas,” Calmy-Rey said. “As such, we would like to establish a strengthened cooperation in the areas of finance, science and technology, health and energy.”

Switzerland is the third-party mediator in a dispute between Russia and Georgia over Russia’s desire to join the World Trade Organization. The issue featured heavily in the  discussion between the two leaders, the foreign ministry said in a statement. 

According to the ministry, Swiss investments in Russia - a key developing economy - topped SFr6.2 billion ($7.3 billion) in 2009, creating some 75,000 jobs.

Earlier this year, the two countries opened negotiations for a free trade agreement, within the context of the European Free Trade Association.

“Bilateral relations between Russia and Switzerland are experiencing renewed momentum,” said Putin, adding that he would “do everything possible to develop relations” between the two countries.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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