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Switzerland's Political Bias Affects Geneva International Forums' Neutrality - Envoy

© Sputnik / Evgeny Biyatov / Go to the mediabankDeputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov
Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.02.2023
GENEVA (Sputnik) - Changes in Switzerland's political landscape have affected the neutrality of Geneva-based international forums, hindering Moscow's work there, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said on Wednesday.
"In Switzerland, the political situation as a whole has changed, and this, of course, has affected Geneva international forums. First of all, this is due to the fact that Switzerland, unfortunately, has lost its neutral status," he said at a briefing with Russian media.
The diplomat noted the Swiss government has joined almost all sanctions against Russia, "which was impossible even in the worst times of the Cold War," making it difficult for Russian delegations to even get to Geneva.
"Switzerland has always tried to remain neutral, realizing that it is the place where all parties can meet and discuss various serious issues of international politics. And now this situation, unfortunately, has changed for the worse," Gatilov said.
The diplomat said the Swiss parliament's discussion regarding the amendment of laws allowing the re-export of Swiss weapons to Ukraine could also be regarded as a further step toward NATO membership.
Moreover, the Russian representative accused the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of only listening to its Western donors.
"The main donors of the OHCHR are, of course, Western countries, and 'whoever pays the money, chooses the music.' In this case, OHCHR fulfills the tasks that were set by its Western donors," he said.
Gatilov said that Russian experts were put under pressure and being altogether forced out of international cooperation frameworks.
"Here again, prevails the political position of the Western countries with the sole purpose of ousting Russia from international cooperation platforms in all spheres," he said, adding that Russia, nonetheless, does not intend to slow down its activities.
According to the diplomat, the affected forums are the International Labor Organization, the World Health Organization, the Intellectual Property Organization and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Gatilov also expressed concerns that the Russian mission to the UN in Switzerland has been facing logistical and financial problems due to the sanctions imposed by Switzerland against Moscow.
"As for the activities of our mission, the situation has changed for us too and we are experiencing certain difficulties during this time in logistical services, in the financial support of our mission through Swiss banks," Gatilov said.
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He also said that his mission has been trying to solve these issues with the Swiss authorities, however, not everything could be done, as some companies were refusing to cooperate with the Russian mission over "its aggressive policy towards Ukraine." Gatilov reminded that diplomatic missions must be provided with everything necessary for their operation without any restrictions under the Vienna Diplomatic Convention.
Earlier in the day, Director of the Department of International Organizations at the Russian Foreign Ministry Pyotr Ilyichev said that Switzerland was no longer a suitable host country for the UN headquarters as it could no longer act as an "honest broker" in international affairs.
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