The foreign relations of Switzerland are the primary responsibility of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). Some international relations of Switzerland are handled by other departments of the federal administration of Switzerland.

History

The First Geneva Convention (1864). Geneva is the city that hosts the highest number of international organisations in the world.[1]
The First Geneva Convention (1864). Geneva is the city that hosts the highest number of international organisations in the world.[1]

Article 54 of the Swiss Constitution of 1999 declares the safeguarding of Switzerland's independence and welfare as the principal objective of Swiss foreign policy. Below this overarching goal, the Constitution specifies these foreign policy objectives:

These objectives reflect the Swiss moral obligation to undertake social, economic, and humanitarian activities that contribute to world peace and prosperity. This is manifested by Swiss bilateral and multilateral diplomatic activity, assistance to developing countries, and support for the extension of international law, particularly humanitarian law.

Traditionally, Switzerland has avoided alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action. Only in recent years have the Swiss broadened the scope of activities in which they feel able to participate without compromising their neutrality. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and joined the United Nations very late compared to its European neighbours.

Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and historically has served as a neutral intermediary and host to major international treaty conferences. The country has no major dispute in its bilateral relations.

Switzerland (mainly Geneva) is home to many international governmental and nongovernmental organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross. One of the first international organisations, the Universal Postal Union, is located in Bern.

United Nations

Session in the Palace of Nations in Geneva
Session in the Palace of Nations in Geneva

On 10 September 2002, Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations, after a referendum supporting full membership won in a close vote six months earlier; Swiss voters had rejected membership by a 3-to-1 margin in 1986. The 2002 vote made Switzerland the first country to join based on a popular vote.

Prior to its formal accession to the United Nations, Switzerland had maintained an observer role at the UN's General Assembly and its Economic and Social Council. Prior to full membership it had no right to a seat as one of the elected members of the UN Security Council.

Switzerland has fully participated within many of the UN's specialised institutions, including the Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Environment Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UN Conference on Trade and Development, UN Industrial Development Organization, and the Universal Postal Union. Switzerland has also furnished military observers and medical teams to several UN operations.[which?]

Switzerland is a party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice.

Support of UN sanctions

The Swiss government on 25 June 2003, eased most of the sanctions against the Republic of Iraq in accord with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1483. The government lifted the trade embargo, flight restrictions, and financial sanctions in place since August 1990. The weapons embargo and the asset freeze, the scope of which was extended, remain in force, and restrictions on the trade in Iraqi cultural goods were newly imposed. Though not a member at the time, Switzerland had joined UN sanctions against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait.

Switzerland also has joined UN economic sanctions imposed on Libya, Sierra Leone, UNITA (Angola), Liberia, and Serbia/Montenegro. On 15 October 2003, the Federal Council ended the import restrictions on raw diamonds from Sierra Leone and lifted sanctions against Libya.

Switzerland in October 2000 implemented an ordinance to enforce UN sanctions against the Taliban (UNSCR 1267), which it subsequently amended in April 2001 in accord with tighter UN regulations (UNSCR 1333). On 2 May 2002, the Swiss Government eased the sanctions regime in accord with UNSCR 1388 and 1390, lifting the ban on the sale of acetic acid (used in drug production), Afghan airlines, and Afghan diplomatic representations. The weapons embargo, travel restrictions, and financial sanctions remain in force.

The Swiss Government in November 2001 issued an ordinance declaring illegal the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda as well as possible successor or supporting organisations. More than 200 individuals or companies linked to international terrorism have been blacklisted to have their assets frozen. Thus far, Swiss authorities have blocked about 72 accounts totalling U.S.$22.6 million.

EU and other international organizations

Switzerland and Denmark signed a treaty of Friendship in 1875.

Switzerland is a member of many international organisations, including the World Trade Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, European Free Trade Association, Council of Europe, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Atomic Energy Agency, and International Telecommunications Satellite Organization. Its central bank is a member of the Bank for International Settlements, based in Basel.

Switzerland is an active participant in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, its foreign minister serving as Chairman-in-Office for 1996. Switzerland also is an active participant in the major nonproliferation and export control regimes.

Although it is surrounded by member nations, Switzerland is not a member nation of the European Union. In 1992 Swiss voters approved membership in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, but later that year rejected the European Economic Area agreement, which the government viewed as a first step toward European Union membership. The Swiss instead take part in the European single market and Schengen through bilateral treaties.

More complete list of memberships:

ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, CGPM, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD (World Bank), ICAO, ICC, ICC, ICDO, ICFTU, ICMM, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFCS, IFRCS, IGC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, IWC, LAIA (observer), NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIE, OPCW, OSCE, OTIF, PCA, PFP, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC.

Participation in peacekeeping

While the Swiss electorate did reject a government proposition to directly deploy Swiss troops as UN peacekeepers (the Blue Helmets) in 1994, a total of 23 Swiss personnel including police and military observers (the Blue Berets) have served or are now serving for the United Nations. These dispositions are impartial, clearly defined and cover a number of UN projects around the globe.[2]

In 1996 Switzerland joined NATO's Partnership for Peace, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, and deployed Yellow Berets to support the OSCE in Bosnia. In June 2001, Swiss voters approved new legislation providing for the deployment of armed Swiss troops for international peacekeeping missions under UN or OSCE auspices as well as closer international cooperation in military training.

Since 1999, the Swiss army is participating through SWISSCOY in the peace keeping mission of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) based on UN-resolution 1244, with prolonged presence until 2014, after approval by the Swiss federal assembly in Spring 2011. Main duties include the supervision of civilian reconstruction efforts, monitoring and protection of patrimonial sites, military police and medical assistance.[3]

Representation of foreign entities and in foreign disputes

The ministers of foreign affairs of Germany, the United Kingdom, China, the United States, France, Russia, the European Union and Iran meeting in Geneva for the interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme (2013).
The ministers of foreign affairs of Germany, the United Kingdom, China, the United States, France, Russia, the European Union and Iran meeting in Geneva for the interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme (2013).

Switzerland also represented Cuba in the United States between 1991 and 2015.[4]

Under a series of treaties concluded after the First World War, Switzerland assumed responsibility for the diplomatic and consular representation of Liechtenstein, the protection of its borders, and the rulation of its customs.

Due to its long-standing neutrality, Switzerland has served as the protecting power for many countries, that did not have diplomatic relations with each other. This reached an apex during the Second World War, when Switzerland formally undertook 219 mandates for 35 states, and represented another eight states unofficially[5] After the Second World War, Switzerland served an additional 67 mandates for various countries, including those between Cuba and other nations in the Western Hemisphere after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, between Middle Eastern nations following the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and between India and Pakistan prior to the formalization of relations in 1976.

Today, Switzerland has seven protecting power mandates:

Switzerland played a key role in brokering a truce agreement between the Sudanese Government and Sudan People's Liberation Army for the Nuba Mountains region, signed after a week's negotiations taking place near Lucerne in January 2002. Switzerland has also sent services to allied troops in the War in Afghanistan.[6]

Switzerland is also playing a major role in Palestinian politics, trying to act as a mediator between Fatah and Hamas regarding the integration of employees in Gaza. The Swiss diplomatic efforts lead to an agreement called "the Swiss Document" which initially was approved by both Palestinian parties.[7]

Diplomatic representations

Bilateral relations

Africa

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Algeria
  • Algeria has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Algiers.
 Angola
  • Angola has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Luanda.
 Botswana 1967

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1967.[8]

 Cape Verde 1980

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1980.[9]

 Chad
  • Chad has an embassy in Geneva.
  • Switzerland has a Cooperation Office in N'Djamena.
 Comoros 1977
 Egypt See Egypt–Switzerland relations
  • Egypt has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Cairo.
 Eswatini 1968

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1968.[11]

 Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia has an embassy in Geneva.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Addis Ababa.
 Kenya See Kenya–Switzerland relations
  • Kenya is accredited to Switzerland from its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Lesotho 1967

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1967.[12]

 Madagascar
  • Madagascar has an embassy in Geneva.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Antananarivo.
 Mauritania
 Mauritius
 Nigeria
  • Nigeria has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Abuja and a consulate-general in Lagos.
 Senegal
  • Senegal has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Dakar.
 Seychelles
 South Africa See South Africa–Switzerland relations
 Zimbabwe 1980

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1980.[16]

Americas

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Argentina 1834 See Argentina–Switzerland relations

Diplomatic relations were established in 1834, with the opening of a Swiss consulate in Buenos Aires, followed in 1891 by the opening of an embassy.

 Belize 1988
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1988.[17]
  • Switzerland is represented in Belize through its embassy in Mexico City and since 1996 an honorary consulate in Belize City.[17]
 Brazil
 Canada 1945 See Canada–Switzerland relations
 Chile
  • Chile has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Santiago.
 Colombia
  • Colombia has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Bogotá.
 Costa Rica
  • Costa Rica has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in San José.
 Cuba
Embassy of Switzerland in Havana
Embassy of Switzerland in Havana
  • Cuba has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Havana.
 El Salvador 1841
  • El Salvador has an embassy in Geneva.
  • Switzerland is accredited to El Salvador from its embassy in San José, Costa Rica and maintains an honorary consulate in San Salvador.
 Guatemala
  • Guatemala has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Guatemala City.
 Haiti 1804
  • Haiti is accredited to Switzerland from its embassy in Paris, France and maintains an honorary consulate in Zürich.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Port-au-Prince.
 Mexico 1827 See Mexico–Switzerland relations
 Nicaragua 1956
  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Geneva.
  • Switzerland is accredited to Nicaragua from its embassy in San José, Costa Rica and maintains an honorary consulate in Managua.
  • Relations with Nicaragua and Switzerland focus on development cooperation, humanitarian aid and trade.
 Peru
  • Peru has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Lima
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 1992

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1992.[18]

 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1985

Both countries established consular relations in 1985 and diplomatic relations in 2001.[19]

 Suriname 1979 See Suriname–Switzerland relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1979.[20]

 United States 1853 See Switzerland–United States relations

The first official U.S.-Swiss consular relations were established in the late 1820s. Diplomatic relations were established in 1853 by the U.S. and in 1868 by Switzerland. The U.S. ambassador to Switzerland is also accredited to the Principality of Liechtenstein.

 Uruguay 1828 See Switzerland–Uruguay relations

Both countries share a long history of mutual economic relations, and they established diplomatic relations in 1828.[21][22] Uruguay became a popular destination for Swiss migrants starting in the 1860s.[23] In 1931 Uruguay called for a Swiss style parliamentary system.[24] In the twentieth century, Uruguay has looked to Switzerland as a model for government, historical and cultural ties go back to at least the nineteenth century.[25] There are 956 people with Swiss passports residing in Uruguay in 2009.[26] Uruguay was described as the "Switzerland of the Americas" in a 1951 The New York Times article for its popularity as a haven for capital fleeing Europe at the time and its adoption of Swiss-inspired banking laws.[27] Thomas J. Knight also wrote that "Uruguay has for most of its history been the 'Switzerland' of South America."[28]

  • Switzerland has an embassy in Montevideo.
  • Uruguay has an embassy in Bern.
 Venezuela
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Caracas.
  • Venezuela has an embassy in Bern.

Asia

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Armenia See Armenia–Switzerland relations

Switzerland recognized Armenia as an independent state on 23 December 1991. The two countries have maintained diplomatic relations ever since. * Armenia has an embassy in Geneva.

  • Switzerland has an embassy in Yerevan.
 Azerbaijan See Azerbaijan–Switzerland relations
  • Azerbaijan has an embassy in Bern[29]
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Baku.[30]
 China See China–Switzerland relations
 Georgia
  • Georgia has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Tbilisi.
 India 1948 See India–Switzerland relations

India is one of Switzerland's most important partners in Asia. Bilateral and political contacts are constantly developing, and trade and scientific cooperation between the two countries are flourishing.[33] Switzerland was the first country in the World to sign a Friendship treaty with India in 1947.[34]

 Iran 1919 See Iran–Switzerland relations
  • Iran has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Tehran.
 Iraq See Iraq–Switzerland relations

In November 2000 Switzerland opened a diplomatic liaison office in Baghdad to safeguard its interests. Bilateral relations became closer after the Iraq War in 2003.

  • Iraq has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland is accredited to Iraq from its embassy in Amman, Jordan.
 Israel See Israel–Switzerland relations

Switzerland recognized Israel on 25 January 1949 and opened a consulate in Tel Aviv.

 Japan 1864-02-06
  • Japan has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Tokyo.
 Kazakhstan
  • Kazakhstan has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Nur-Sultan.
 Kyrgyzstan 1993

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1993.[35]

 Lebanon
  • Lebanon has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Beirut.
 Malaysia 1963 See Malaysia–Switzerland relations
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
 North Korea December 1974[36] See North Korea–Switzerland relations
  • North Korea has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland is accredited to North Korea from its embassy in Beijing, China.
 Pakistan

Switzerland recognised Pakistan's independence from Great Britain in 1947, and the two states established diplomatic relations in 1949.[37] Switzerland ranks fifth in terms of foreign direct investment in Pakistan.[38][39]

  • Pakistan has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Islamabad and a consulate-general in Karachi.
 Palestine

Switzerland recognised Palestine's independence, and the two states established diplomatic relations.

  • Palestine has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has a representative office in Ramallah.
 Philippines 1956

Bilateral ties between the Philippines and Switzerland dates back to the early 19th century when Swiss traders, missionaries and travelers went to Southeast Asia. A Swiss representation in the Philippines was proposed in 1851, which was realized with the opening of a Swiss honorary consulate in Manila in 1862. Formal relations was established between the two countries on 30 August 1956.[40]

  • Philippines has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Manila.
 Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia has an embassy in Bern and a consulate-general in Geneva.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Riyadh.
 Singapore
 South Korea 11 February 1963[41] See South Korea–Switzerland relations

The establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and the Switzerland began on 11 February 1963.

 Tajikistan 1992
 Turkey See Switzerland–Turkey relations
 United Arab Emirates
 Vietnam 11 October 1971

Europe

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Albania 1 March 1922[48]
  • Albania has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Tirana.

See Albanians in Switzerland

 Austria 1687 See Austria–Switzerland relations
  • Austria has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Vienna.
  • Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe.
 Belarus 1992
 Belgium
  • Belgium has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Brussels.
 Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Sarajevo.
 Bulgaria 1905
 Croatia
 Denmark 1875 See Denmark–Switzerland relations
  • Denmark has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Copenhagen.
 European Union 1972 See Switzerland–European Union relations
 Finland
  • Finland has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe.
 France April 1521 See France–Switzerland relations
 Germany 1871 See Germany–Switzerland relations
 Greece See Greece–Switzerland relations
  • Greece has an embassy in Bern and consulates-general in Geneva.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Athens.
 Hungary
  • Hungary has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Budapest.
 Ireland
  • Ireland has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Dublin.
 Italy 1868 See Italy–Switzerland relations
  • Italy has an embassy in Bern and consulates-general in Geneva, Lugano and Zürich and a consulate in Basel.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Rome and a consulate-general in Milan.
 Kosovo See Kosovo–Switzerland relations

Switzerland recognized Kosovo on 27 February 2008.[54] Switzerland has an embassy in Pristina since 28 March 2008.[55] Kosovo will open an embassy in Bern. In September 2008, Swiss authorities initially expressed reservation for Designate Ambassador Naim Mala due to his double nationality[56] but latter accepted him. Switzerland currently has 212 troops serving in Kosovo as peacekeepers in the NATO led Kosovo Force.[57]

 Liechtenstein See Liechtenstein–Switzerland relations
 Moldova 1992-09-02 See Moldova–Switzerland relations
 Netherlands
  • Netherlands has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in The Hague.
 North Macedonia 31 January 1994

Both countries established diplomatic relations on January 31, 1994.

  • North Macedonia has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Skopje.
 Poland
  • Poland has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Warsaw.
 Portugal
  • Portugal has an embassy in Bern and consulates-general in Geneva and Zürich and consular offices in Lugano and Sion.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Lisbon and a consulate in Porto.
 Romania See Romania–Switzerland relations

Since the 1990s, Switzerland has helped Romania financially, for a total sum of 140 million Swiss Francs between 1996 and 2006, and an additional 23 million Francs in 2006–2007. Switzerland has become the 12th largest foreign investor in Romania.[58] In 2005, Romania exported goods to Switzerland for a total of 206 million Swiss Francs, with Switzerland exporting for 547 million Swiss Francs to Romania, making Romania the biggest partner of Switzerland in South-West Europe.[59] By 2006, this had increased by 26% from Romania and 38% from Switzerland.[60]

  • Romania has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Bucharest.
 Russia 1816 See Russia–Switzerland relations

Switzerland opened a consulate in Saint Petersburg in 1816, upgrading it to a legation 90 years later. The two countries broke off diplomatic relations in 1923, when Russia was going through a period of revolutionary turmoil – and they were not resumed until 1946.

 Serbia 1916 See Serbia–Switzerland relations
 Spain See Spain–Switzerland relations
  • Spain has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Madrid.
 Sweden
  • Sweden has an embassy in Bern.
  • Switzerland has an embassy in Stockholm.
 Ukraine 1991 See Switzerland–Ukraine relations
 United Kingdom See Switzerland–United Kingdom relations
  • Switzerland has an embassy in London.
  • United Kingdom has an embassy in Bern.

Oceania

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Australia 1961 See Australia–Switzerland relations

Switzerland opened a consulate in Sydney in 1855 and one in Melbourne in 1856. Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1961.

 Federated States of Micronesia 22 April 2003

Both countries established diplomatic relations on April 22, 2003.[65][66]

 Marshall Islands 22 January 2003

Both countries established diplomatic relations on January 22, 2003.[67][68]

 New Zealand 1963

Switzerland opened a consulate in Auckland in 1912. Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1963.

 Papua New Guinea 1976

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1976.[69]

 Samoa 1981

Both countries established diplomatic relations on August 1, 1981.[70][71]

 Solomon Islands 2007

Both countries established diplomatic relations in December 2007.[72]

See also

References

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