Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey is to meet United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just days before an important deadline in the UBS tax case.
Calmy-Rey told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper that she is scheduled to meet Clinton on July 31, adding that she hoped that strong ties with the US would help in finding a deal for Swiss bank UBS.
The visit would take place shortly before a court hearing in a US tax evasion lawsuit against UBS aimed at forcing the bank to disclose the names of some 52,000 suspected American tax dodgers.
The hearing was postponed on July 13 until August 3 to allow time for settlement negotiations.
Asked if the meeting would focus on UBS in particular, Calmy-Rey said that all bilateral topics would be addressed. But she revealed, however, that the Swiss side of the UBS talks would be led by the state secretary for foreign affairs, Michael Ambühl.
The Swiss government has threatened to seize UBS client data if necessary to stop the bank handing them over in breach of strict bank secrecy laws, but the US Department of Justice has said that any settlement must include the bank providing data on a significant number of its US clients.
"For us this is not primarily about UBS. It is about Switzerland's sovereignty. We want our laws to be respected. It is also about our financial centre and about jobs," Calmy-Rey told the newspaper. "A solution in the UBS case must fall within Swiss law."
For the minister, many interests are at stake. "UBS employs more people in the US than in Switzerland. Given these interests of the US, I hope that a solution will be possible soon," said Calmy-Rey.
She added that relations between the two countries were nevertheless "very good" and that this would also be "useful in the UBS case".
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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