Croatia sees mediating role for Switzerland in Ukraine war

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic (left) and Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis in Geneva on Thursday © Keystone / Martial Trezzini

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic sees a role for Switzerland’s good offices in the Ukraine war. Speaking in Geneva on Thursday, he also praised the Swiss government’s “intelligent” stance in adopting European Union sanctions.

This content was published on April 7, 2022 - 17:20

Milanovic stressed the need for good offices to resolve the Ukraine crisis, telling the media that “only some countries can play this role”, without mentioning which ones. He then told the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA that Switzerland was one of those countries.

Switzerland had shown “fine watchmaking skills” in its actions in the Ukraine crisis, he added after his meeting with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who also holds the rotating presidency this year. In Milanovic’s opinion, Switzerland’s adoption of EU sanctions did not violate neutrality.

Cassis admitted that Ukraine had taken up a large part of discussions with his counterparts. “We are witnessing images and videos that shock us, that shake us,” he said. “This should not have happened in the 21st century.”

Cassis repeated that Switzerland wanted an independent international investigation to check whether war crimes had been committed. The UN Human Rights Council had just set up an international commission of enquiry to be entrusted with this mandate, he said.

Kosovo issue

Milanovic also warned about the situation in the Western Balkans. The Kosovo issueExternal link must be resolved, he stressed. “It is as if this issue does not exist,” he added, appealing to the other European states. He urged them “not to push the issue aside”.

For his part, Cassis praised Croatia’s commitment to the integration of further states into the EU. The prospect of accession could contribute to stability, he said.

With regard to European policy, Cassis reaffirmed that Switzerland aimed to stabilise and further develop its bilateral path with the EU. He outlined the main thrust of the government's approach for a negotiation package with the EU and for resolving institutional issues in the individual market access agreements.

Switzerland’s second contribution to selected EU member states, which includes Croatia, was also discussed, as was Switzerland’s association to the Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ programmesExternal link.

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