MINSK, 13 February (BelTA) – The Swiss living and working in Belarus commend the development and dynamics in the country, Member of the Federal Council of Switzerland, Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis said during a meeting with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minsk on 13 February, BelTA has learned.
“When I visit other countries, I follow a certain tradition: before meeting with politicians, I meet with the Swiss diaspora, those Swiss citizens who are living in the country, making a certain contribution to its development. This morning I had breakfast with the Swiss living in Belarus. Among them was Peter Spuhler (not living, but actively working in Belarus) [Stadler Rail Group owner]. I know him very well from his previous job in Parliament. We also had a representative of the Red Cross, which represents a humanitarian dimension, and three other Swiss citizens. It was very important for me to know their perception of Belarus. All of them praised the development, the dynamics that is observed in Belarus,” he said.
Ignazio Cassis said that he is absolutely fine with Belarus being compared to Switzerland and being called Switzerland of Eastern Europe. “It is a great honor for us to serve as an example for Belarus. We have a lot in common. We have approximately the same population size. We are surrounded by neighbors and boast a great cultural diversity. The above-mentioned things provide us with an opportunity to build bridges [cooperation between the two countries and people].”
As BelTA reported, Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting with the Swiss official that Belarus is often called an eastern Switzerland. “I cannot but hail such comparison. Switzerland has earned such a favorable status worldwide thanks to its policy, neutrality and integrity in relations with other states,” the Belarusian leader said.