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Deiss lavishes praise on Liechtenstein during day-trip to tiny neighbour

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, has praised relations with Liechtenstein as excellent, despite recent disagreements over the principality's record on offering legal assistance.

This content was published on January 24, 2000 - 15:27

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, has praised relations with Liechtenstein as excellent, despite recent disagreements over the principality's record on offering legal assistance. At the end of his first official visit to Vaduz, Deiss announced that relations would be strengthened with the appointment of an ambassador to Liechtenstein.

Deiss said that relations needed improving in the financial sector, particularly where legal assistance was concerned. But he said after his talks with his counterpart, Andrea Willi, and the prime minister, Mario Frick, that he felt Liechtenstein was determined to act. He added that Switzerland was not exerting any pressure on its neighbour.

For his part, Frick admitted there had been delays in providing legal assistance, but said they only affected ten per cent of cases and were partly due to the large number of requests from abroad. Frick said the situation would improve once the law on legal assistance had been revised this year, to bring Liechtenstein in line with international standards.

Frick added that the reforms would be speeded up as a result of the recent criticism from abroad. But he categorically rejected allegations of widespread corruption in Liechtenstein apparently contained in a German secret service report revealed by Der Spiegel magazine. Frick dismissed them as ridiculous, sweeping statements.

The prime minister added that, three months after the allegations were published, Germany had still not requested legal assistance or given Vaduz any further information on the report's findings.

Switzerland's first ambassador to Liechtenstein is to be Kurt Höchner, who is currently deputy director of the office for international law in the foreign ministry.

From staff and wire reports

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