Swiss President Ignazio Cassis has held talks in neighbouring Austria about strained ties with the European Union and the situation in Ukraine.
He met the Austrian president, Alexander Van der Bellen, as well as members of the government and parliament to promote Switzerland’s plans to boost the role of scienceExternal link and digitalisation in bilateral relations.
Cassis stressed that Switzerland remained a reliable partner for the EU despite apparent tensions, according to the Keystone-SDA news agency
He also highlighted Switzerland policy of ‘good offices’ to help in crises.
He explained Switzerland’s relatively liberal Covid policy at a news conference in Vienna on Thursday. In comparison, Austria chose a more restrictive approach to deal with pandemic.
For his part, Van der Bellen praised the “excellent cooperation” with Switzerland during the Covid crisis.
As is customary, a visit to neighbouring Austria is the first official trip abroad by the new Swiss president.
Next week Cassis, who holds the portfolio of foreign minister in the Swiss government, is due to travel to neighbouring Germany to discuss bilateral relations as well as international issues, including the fight against the Covid pandemic.
During his one-day stay in Austria’s capital, Cassis also met top representatives of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
He presented Switzerland’s policy aimed at boosting dialogue to strengthen security in Europe.
Switzerland chaired the 57-nation organisationExternal link twice since it was set up in 1975.
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