November 7th, 2007 01:45 EST
Russian MFA Spokesman Mikhail Kamynin Interview with RIA Novosti on the Upcoming Working Visit to Russia
Question: Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the Swiss Federation and Head of the Federal Department (Minister) of Foreign Affairs, will make a working visit to the Russian Federation on November 8-9. What is the program of her visit?
Answer: During Micheline Calmy-Rey’s scheduled talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, it is borne in mind to discuss the state of, and prospects for bilateral relations both in the political sphere and in a number of practical areas of cooperation, and to hold an exchange of views on topical problems on the international agenda.
The largely identical views of Russia and Switzerland in assessment of most global and regional problems creates a good basis for mutual engagement in activities of international organizations and forums. The exchange of views on topical issues in European and world politics, which will figure prominently in the ministers’ talks, will aim at expanding the spheres of that engagement.
As part of Calmy-Rey’s visit the two foreign affairs agencies are expected to sign a Memorandum on the promotion of bilateral cooperation, designed to impart an additional impulse for more extensive and trustful interaction between the two countries.
Question: How do you assess the current state of Russian-Swiss relations?
Answer: Russian-Swiss ties at this stage possess stable positive dynamics and demonstrate favorable prospects for further growth: political contacts are regularly maintained, including annual meetings of the two countries’ foreign ministers, inter-parliamentary exchanges are made and relations expand in the domain of cultural and humanitarian interaction.
Question: What is the outcome of Russian-Swiss cooperation in the economic, commercial and juridical fields?
Answer: Switzerland is a stable trade partner of Russia. In 2006 mutual trade stood at 13.4 billion US dollars, up 15 percent on the previous year. The efficiently working Mixed Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation fruitfully tackles the tasks in expanding and diversifying economic ties. Swiss business demonstrates interest in developing the Russian market for the long term. The accumulated volume of Swiss investment in the economy of our country approaches 3 billion US dollars. In scale of investment and innovation cooperation, Switzerland took eighth place in 2006 among the foreign partners of Russia, and its portion of the total accumulated foreign investment in Russia amounted to 2 percent.
The juridical base of our relations is ongoingly being expanded. The intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Destruction of Chemical Weapons Stocks in the Russian Federation, concluded in January 2004, is being successfully implemented. Under the Agreement the Swiss side will allocate up to 15 million Swiss francs within five years to finance the measures for eliminating chemical weapons in our country. For the realization of this understanding implementation agreements on specific cooperation projects are being concluded (one of them will be signed very soon). As of now Switzerland has transferred about 8.9 million Swiss francs under the Agreement.
Question: What could be said about Russian-Swiss interaction in the humanitarian sphere?
Answer: The elaboration of a bilateral Agreement on the Facilitation of Visa Procedures, which will greatly simplify the formalities for trips of members of the business circles of our countries and participants of cultural, scientific, youth and sporting exchanges, is near completion. Work on a Readmission Agreement, to create a legal basis for cooperation in combating illegal migration, is coming to a close. A declaration on cultural cooperation is in the pipeline.
There is effective cooperation in humanitarian operations and disaster protection. In education and science direct contacts have been forged and are being maintained between Russian and Swiss universities. There grows the number of students training in Switzerland and of Swiss researchers working in Russian scientific centers.
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