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GENEVA, April 12, /ITAR-TASS/. The head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, Johann Schneider-Ammann, will not give up plans to visit Russia in October despite the suspension of talks on a free trade area agreement, his spokesperson said.
He told ITAR-TASS by telephone on Saturday, April 12, that the visit was scheduled for October and would focus on cooperation in the field economy and science. Switzerland started planning the visit last year.
The talks commenced in 2010 were suspended by Switzerland in March of this year because of the situation in Ukraine. Participating in the talks are the European Free Trade Association (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway), on the one hand, and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, on the other hand. Their resumption will depend on how relations between Russia and Ukraine develop.
In early April, the government of Switzerland imposed restrictions on financial transactions by 33 Russian officials affected by the European Union’s sanctions over Ukraine. All these officials will be denied entry to Switzerland even though it is not a member of the EU, but it participates in the Schengen area and uses European rules.
At the same time, these officials can continue their business in Switzerland, if any, and their bank accounts will not be closed or frozen.