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Dangerous sport? Venezuelan golf balls deemed threat to Swiss turf

Despite the leisurely pace of the sport, golf ball speeds have been know to approach almost 350 km/h

(Keystone)

A placard in front of the residence of the Swiss ambassador to Venezuela warns golfers at the nearby golf club that they would be violating the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations if a stray ball injured anyone inside. 

The close proximity of the Caracas Country Club which has an 18 hole golf course appeared to be a cause for concern for the safety of the Swiss diplomat and her guests. 

The message on the placard begins by explaining that the ambassador’s residence is considered a part of Swiss territory according to the diplomatic convention. It then highlights the gravity of a mistimed drive by a careless golfer. 

"Launching balls into this residence is a danger to whoever is within Swiss territory and a violation of the Vienna Convention if a golf ball injures or kills anyone on Swiss soil," says the placard. 

The strong message has been perceived as overkill by the country’s golf enthusiasts. 

"We have no fear whatsoever that we are attacking Swiss territory should a golf ball land in embassy premises," said a statement released by the Venezuelan Federation of Golf. It also deemed the placard to be a “strange overreaction”. 

Swiss ambassador Sabine Ulmann told the Reuters news agency that she had nothing to say on the matter. 

Article 22 of the Vienna convention declares diplomatic missions to be inviolate and requires the host country to protect the premises from intrusion or damage. Article 30 extends this protection to the private residence of diplomats as well.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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