Deiss warns ambassadors to toe the line

Joseph Deiss reminded diplomats of the importance of teamwork Keystone

The foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, has urged diplomats to toe the line in the wake of scandals involving the ambassadors to Germany and Luxembourg.

This content was published on August 19, 2002

Deiss was speaking at the annual ambassadors' conference in Bern.

The meeting comes as investigations continue in Luxembourg into alleged money laundering by the Swiss ambassador, Peter Friederich.

It also follows the resignation a few months ago of Thomas Borer, the high-profile Swiss ambassador in Germany, who publicly quarrelled with his superiors and refused an order to return to Bern.


In an apparent reference to Borer, Deiss said the diplomatic corps was a team, with no place for those who wanted to go it alone: "Diplomats represent the interests of Switzerland abroad, not their own interests."

The foreign minister also criticised members of the diplomatic service for giving anonymous comments to newspapers, saying all communication with the media should be open.

"A diplomat who can't back up his comments would be better to keep quiet," Deiss said.

Earnings on the side

Deiss admitted to being "concerned" over the allegations that the Swiss ambassador to Luxembourg had been involved in laundering drugs money, and announced that he would be reviewing the regulations governing earnings from outside interests. Friederich has admitted receiving and banking money from acquaintances.

In the light of Friederich's admission, Deiss said he would be considering whether diplomats should in future be allowed to continue with lucrative sidelines.

The ambassadors' conference runs until Friday.


Diplomats summary

Former Luxembourg ambassador is accused of laundering SFr1.1 million.
Foreign minister, Deiss, recalled controversial Berlin ambassador, who refused to return to Bern.
Deiss plans to review rules governing diplomats' outside earnings.

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