The President of the Confederation to meet the Russian Prime Minister in Geneva

Bern, Press release, 15.06.2011

On 15 June 2011, the President of the Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), met the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, for official talks in the margins of the 100th Session of the International Labour Organization, in Geneva. The talks primarily concerned the question of Russian membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as aspects of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Current international issues also featured on the agenda.

Relations between Switzerland and Russia have considerably intensified in recent years in the political, economic, scientific and cultural fields, as witnessed by the frequent high-level contacts that have taken place in this period. During her first term as President of the Confederation, Mrs Calmy-Rey met Mr Putin, who was then President of the Russian Federation, during her visit to Moscow on 8-9 November 2007. The memorandum of understanding signed on that occasion paved the way for dozens of bilateral consultations in a very wide range of fields.

The two states have worked continually to build up a network of treaties. Most recently, the agreement on facilitated visa issuance and on readmission entered into force on 1 February 2011. Currently, work is in progress in particular in expanding cooperation in the financial sector and in economic modernisation. On 5 April 2011, the two countries initialled an amendment to the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation in accordance with the OECD standard on the exchange of information. In 2010, the volume of trade between the two countries reached CHF 3.7 billion.

A special dimension of Swiss-Russian relations is Switzerland’s role in representing Russian interests in Georgia and those of Georgia in Russia, in particular Switzerland’s mediation in the question of Russia’s possible accession to the WTO.

Information FDFA, +41 31 322 31 51

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs