Georgia and Switzerland discuss further developing relations

Bern, 15.10.2021 - On 15 October, President Guy Parmelin and Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), welcomed Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili at the Lohn Manor. This was the first official visit by a Georgian president to Switzerland. The talks focused on further developing their bilateral relations, which are dominated by close cooperation and expanding economic ties as well as Switzerland's good offices and long-standing engagement in the South Caucasus.

Both sides noted the strengthening of political, economic and cultural ties in recent years. Bilateral economic relations have advanced, despite the pandemic, and there is still much potential for growth. The volume of trade last year was CHF 131 million. Switzerland and Georgia are already close partners in the fight against climate change, and this cooperation will be further consolidated through a bilateral agreement concluded under the Paris Climate Agreement. The delegations also explored areas in which relations could be expanded. They discussed a planned energy dialogue as well as increased cooperation in migration through the signing of a comprehensive bilateral migration partnership.

Switzerland's objectives for international cooperation in the South Caucasus in the coming years were also discussed. The cooperation strategy planned for 2022 to 2025 acknowledges the region's high political and economic relevance for Switzerland. The proposed contribution for Georgia remains unchanged at approximately CHF 34 million. This programme aims to promote sustainable economic growth and thereby help alleviate the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

Switzerland's activities in the region continue to focus on peacebuilding, and particularly on improving the living conditions of the population affected by the conflict. Since 2009, Switzerland has represented Georgia's diplomatic interests in Moscow and Russia's interests in Tbilisi within the framework of its protecting power mandate. The Swiss delegation expressed their gratitude for the trust that Georgia has placed in Switzerland in this regard. Other topics on the agenda included the situation in the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe, the important role of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the security architecture, and cooperation between Switzerland and Georgia on the international scene.

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