Swiss National Council speaker supports fostering parliamentary ties with Russia

Parliamentary ties play an important role in bolstering mutual understanding and trust between Switzerland and Russia, so expanding cooperation in this sphere would be beneficial for both sides, said President of the National Council (the lower house of the Federal Assembly) Jurg Stahl prior to his official Russia visit scheduled for May 14-19.

“Parliaments play an important role in bilateral relations,” he noted. “Being people’s representatives, MPs contribute to cultivating understanding and trust through direct contacts. I am confident that both parties will benefit from the growth of parliamentary cooperation.”

Commenting on the state of Swiss-Russian ties, Jurg Stahl said that both countries “have stable relations.” The Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007 that “establishes the framework for systematic and deep cooperation in foreign policy and security, law, police, migration, economy, science, innovation, education, and culture” is an important part of cooperation, according to Stahl.

Answering the question about the possible lifting of the restrictions that Bern imposed on Moscow following the EU sanctions related to the Ukraine crisis, Stahl pointed out that “Switzerland is not an EU member and did not impose sanctions against Russia.” “Still, Switzerland has taken measures to prevent the usage of its territory for the purpose of bypassing international sanctions,” he explained. “With regard to the country’s neutral status, the Swiss government decided, apart from that, to widen the existing ban on exporting military equipment in Russia and Ukraine, by adding some defense industry products to it.