Good offices: Switzerland takes on protecting power mandate for Iran and Saudi Arabia
Bern, 25.10.2017 - On 25 October 2017, the Swiss embassies in Riyadh and Tehran signed the agreements for Switzerland to represent Iranian interests in Saudi Arabia and Saudi interests in Iran. The Federal Council gave the green light for the protecting power mandate at its meeting on 25 October 2017.
After Iran and Saudi Arabia severed relations at the beginning of January 2016, both countries agreed to Switzerland’s offer of its traditional policy of good offices to undertake a protecting power mandate on both sides. Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter launched negotiations on the terms of the mandate with the Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers on February 2016.
Following the acceptance by both countries of Switzerland’s protecting power mandate and the Federal Council’s approval given at its meeting on 25 October 2017, the relevant agreements have now been signed in Riyadh and Tehran. The mandate will cover consular services in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Switzerland has a long history of representing foreign interests whereby it covers partial consular services and sometimes diplomatic tasks for countries that have broken off relations, if requested by the states in question. The Federal Council has placed explicit emphasis on protecting power mandates in its 2016-19 foreign policy strategy.
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