GENEVA: On the request of Ukraine, Switzerland says it is ready to represent its diplomatic interests in Russia, if Moscow agrees to this, Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Pierre-Alain Eltschinger said on Wednesday.
Negotiations for such a protecting power mandate have been concluded, Tass quoted the Ministry as saying in response to a request. "For the protecting power mandate to come into force, Russia still has to give its consent," it said. Whether this will happen, however, is questionable.
The Swiss government lost its neutrality after adopting the sanctions placed on Moscow after it launched its ongoing war against Ukraine, according to a letter from the Russian embassy in Bern to the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper in Zurich.
In the negotiations with Ukraine, Russia is "not ready to consider mediation offers from countries that have joined the anti-Russian sanctions." Switzerland has a long history of serving as a bulwark.
During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 it first protected the interests of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Grand Duchy of Baden in France.
If the home and host governments have severed diplomatic ties, it serves as a protective power and serves as the point of contact for nationals who reside in the other nation but no longer have a home embassy there.
Switzerland has a long history of such arrangements, representing US interests in Iran, Russian interests in Georgia, Iranian interests in Saudi Arabia, and Georgian interests in Russia, among others.