Switzerland is to participate in the next G20 summit, to be held in Riyadh in November 2020, according to media reports.
Bern has accepted an invitation to do so from Saudi Arabia, which on December 1 took over the chairmanship of the G20. The two other countries that have been invited as guests are Jordan and Singapore.
The government welcomes this invitation, according to spokesman André Simonazzi quoted on Wednesday in the Swiss media. The invitation was sent to current Swiss President Ueli Maurer on October 22, but the summit will probably be attended by Simonetta Sommaruga, who takes over the rotating presidency next year.
This is the first time Switzerland has been invited to the table of G20 Heads of State. It has nevertheless taken part several times in meetings of G20 finance ministersexternal link.
Bern maintains good relations with the host country Saudi Arabia, despite widespread criticism of its human rights record. Swiss president Ueli Maurer cancelled a visit to the country earlier this year in the wake of the Kashoggi affair, in which top Saudi officials are suspected in the brutal killing of a dissident journalist.
But Maurer did go to Saudi Arabia in October, meeting notably with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss issues of finance and sustainability. Human rights issues were also “raised”, according to the government.
Switzerland holds “protecting power” mandates to represent Saudi Arabia’s interests in Iran and vice versa.
The G20 group of major industrialised and developing countries was founded in 1999 to discuss key issues in the global economy. It includes 19 individual countries and the European Union.