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Official working visit to Bern by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov

Berne, 21.11.2006 - Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), today welcomed Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, for official talks in Bern. In addition to bilateral questions, Mrs Calmy-Rey also discussed regional and international questions with her Russian counterpart. After the talks, Mr Lavrov paid a courtesy visit to Federal President Moritz Leuenberger.

Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey met Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, for an official lunch followed by talks at the Von-Wattenwyl-House. Mr Lavrov headed a delegation consisting of ten persons.

Mrs Calmy-Rey observed that as Switzerland and Russia were non-members of the European Union, they both had to deal with the EU on a bilateral basis. Thus, exchange of experience regarding relations with the EU was a major topic in the discussions between the two foreign ministers. Both interlocutors stressed the good relations between Switzerland and Russia, which are to be intensified and structured in future. Since 1993 the two countries have cooperated in the technical, financial and humanitarian fields. Moreover, Switzerland helps Russia with the destruction of chemical weapons.

Both sides stated that the negotiations about a readmission agreement and an agreement to simplify visa questions would probably soon be concluded.

Both delegations looked back with satisfaction on three anniversaries that Switzerland and Russia are jointly celebrating this year: 60 years since the resumption of diplomatic relations, 100 years since the opening of the Swiss legation in St. Petersburg and 190 years since the opening of the first Swiss  Consulate in Russia.

After his official talks with Mrs Calmy-Rey, Mr Lavrov paid a courtesy visit to President Moritz Leuenberger.

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