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WEF free to determine who to invite to Davos — Swiss diplomat

November 15, 2018, 23:22 UTC+3 GENEVA

Russia will withdraw from participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos if restrictions for Russian businessmen on attendance at this event are not lifted

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©  AP Photo/Michel Euler

GENEVA, November 15. /TASS/. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is independent in its action under the Swiss law, and is free to decide who to invite to its forums, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Carole Waelti told TASS on Thursday in comments on the WEF refusal to invite three Russian business executives on the US sanctions list to its Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2019.

"The Swiss law guarantees the independence of the WEF and its liberty to determine who is invited to its meetings," she said when asked whether Switzerland, as a host country of the Annual Meeting in Davos, could help solving the problem of participation of Russian businessmen in the Davos Meeting, in particular ask the WEF to lift restrictions.

The Financial Times reported earlier citing its sources that Rusal co-owner Oleg Deripaska, head of Renova Group Viktor Vekselberg and VTB Chief Andrei Kostin will not be invited to the Forum due to concerns of international organizations over US sanctions imposed on the Russian businessmen this April.

The WEF declined to make any comment when asked by TASS to either confirm or deny the report in the Financial Times.

Russia will withdraw from participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos if restrictions for Russian businessmen on attendance at this event are not lifted, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.

"If these restrictions made in respect of representatives of the Russian business [concerning their participation in the Davos Forum] are not changed, we will have to make a decision on withdrawal of government officials and Russian state-run companies from participation in the Davos Forum. Then nobody will go there," Medvedev told journalists after an international conference on Libya in Italy’s Palermo.

"Decisions [on restrictions for Russian businessmen] are very strange, to say the least," Medvedev noted. "I have just talked on this topic with President of the Swiss Confederation [Alain Berset] and said this is surprising for us, especially that a nongovernmental organization is the case in point," the Prime Minister said. "He [the President of Switzerland] said he would inquire," Medvedev noted.

"Let us wait and see," he added.

No legal grounds are in place to prevent arrival of businessmen at the Forum, it said.

The World Economic Forum annually organizes a meeting in the mountain resort of Davos (Switzerland), bringing together political and business elite. Apart from politicians and business executive, taking part in discussion are representative from non-governmental organizations, scientific circles, cultural activists and media leadership. Its next meeting, due from January 22 to 25 will focus on the problem of globalization and changes in the world in the epoch of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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