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Swiss economy minister postpones visit to Russia over situation in Ukraine

August 25, 2014, 21:46 UTC+3
The visit was scheduled for October and was supposed to renew the talks on a free trade area between the Customs Union and the European Free Trade Association
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© AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

August 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Swiss Economy Minister John Schneider-Ammann had postponed his visit to Russia over the situation in Ukraine, his spokesperson said on Monday.

The visit was scheduled for October and was supposed to renew the talks on a free trade area between the Customs Union created Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and the European Free Trade Association, which comprises Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway. The talks were suspended by Bern in March of this year after Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Another reason for the postponement is that some of the dozen influential business people who were supposed to accompany the minister on his trip to Moscow began having doubts about their participation in the mission.

The spokesperson said the visit would take place at a certain point next year.

Earlier, Swiss defence ministry cancelled the participation of the Russian Knights aerobatics group in an air show in Switzerland.

The Air 14 show marking the centenary of the Swiss Air Force will be held on August 30-31 and September 6-7 in Payerne.

Switzerland also blacklisted 20 Russian companies and 87 individuals. At the same time, it said these were not sanctions as such but measures that would not allow Switzerland to be used for bypassing European sanctions.

Restrictions were imposed by the Swiss defence ministry which cancelled the participation of the Russian Knights aerobatics group in the Air 14 show in Switzerland and banned the export of dual-purpose products to Russia and Ukraine.

In early August, Ammann said Switzerland should not blindly copy European sanctions against Russia and warned that this could impair Bern’s mediation efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, especially in view of the fact that Switzerland holds the chairmanship in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014.

All these developments are taking place at a time when Russia and Switzerland are celebrating the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

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