In an interview with Swiss public television, RTS, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has offered insight into Swiss-American relations — and why they have become remarkably closer.
Pompeo was in Switzerland to attend the Bilderberg conference and to have discussions with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis.
The interview was broadcast on Monday evening. RTS journalist Darius Rochebin posed the questions in French; Pompeo answered in English. Scroll past the video below for a transcript of the questions specifically about Swiss-American relations:
RTS: Relations between the US and Switzerland have become closer, remarkably closer. What is the reason for this?
Mike Pompeo: I think it's very simple. We share a set of common values. The Trump administration believes that the best countries to continue to grow a relationship with are those that have the shared understanding of freedom and democracy of liberty. Switzerland certainly has that. So we want to grow our economic ties, our security ties, all of the elements that make the two countries each more secure and more economically prosperous.
RTS: Is the fact that Switzerland does not belong to the EU a positive factor for you?
MP: What's most important is that we find common ways to work together. Whether you're in the EU or out of the EU, we want to develop these relationships that make Switzerland more economically successful and America as well.
RTS: Is Switzerland different from your point of view?
MP: Sometimes it's a little bit easier to work with countries that don't have the EU overlay. There's no doubt about that. You have more capacity to make decisions more quickly. We appreciate that. But we work with many countries inside of the EU to develop relationships with them as well.
RTS: You spoke of Iran. Have you given Bern a telephone number where Iranians can call your President, Donald Trump, directly?
MP: Switzerland has done remarkable work, that we're very appreciative of, in being our protective power there in Iran. But as for the phone number, I think Iran knows how to reach us if they're ready. And when they're ready we're ready to have a conversation with them as well.
They haven't called yet?
MP: Not yet.