Swiss consider permanent mission to the Vatican

Swiss President Guy Parmelin met with the Pope at the Vatican on May 6. Keystone / Vatican Media Handout

The Swiss foreign ministry is examining the possibility of a permanent Swiss diplomatic representation at the Vatican, it said on Tuesday, confirming media reports.

This content was published on May 18, 2021 - 18:55

At present, the Swiss ambassador to Slovenia, Denis Knobel, who is co-accredited to the Holy See, represents Switzerland's interests in the Vatican.

The possibility of a permanent diplomatic mission was raised during a recent meeting between Guy Parmelin, who currently holds the Swiss rotating presidency, and Pope Francis in the Vatican, said media reports.

Parmelin spoke with Francis, and with the Vatican’s Cardinal Secretary of State, notably about the service of the Swiss Guard and the “good relations” between Switzerland and the Holy See, according to a Vatican press release. The Swiss Guard was founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II, deposed twice and re-established in 1800. It remains tasked with protecting the pope and his residence. 

With regard to a permanent diplomatic mission, the foreign ministry stressed the final decision would be down to the Federal Council (government), which decides on changes to the diplomatic network abroad, and it must also consult the foreign policy committees. "The FDFA (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) is therefore unable to comment further for the time being,” it said.

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