Ignazio Cassis targeted Russia’s “flagrant” violations in Ukraine for his first speech to the UN Security Council. Invited Thursday evening in the 7:30 p.m. of the RTS, the Federal Councilor defended his “very firm” intervention against Moscow, believing that humanitarian law and human rights “are one of the pillars of our Constitution”.
RTSinfo: Are you and Switzerland proud to be at the “big table”?
Ignazio Cassis: It is an honor to contribute to the UN Security Council. Switzerland has been preparing for this task for eleven years. We have settled everything that needed to be settled. Now we are “playing the game” and participating in the efforts needed to find more peace and stability in the world.
>> The details of Ignazio Cassis’ intervention at the Security Council: Ignazio Cassis attacks Russia during his first participation in the Security Council
This was the first intervention by a Swiss minister in the Security Council. For this historic day, you have chosen to speak very strongly against Russia. Is this really the role of Switzerland?
It was a very, very strong speech against any violation of public international law, including humanitarian law and human rights. It is one of the pillars of our Constitution. I mentioned the Russian military aggression in Ukraine, since this is a situation that affects all of us in Switzerland. It is one violation of public international law among others. Unfortunately, it’s not the only one in the world.
The Russian ambassador was sitting right next to you. How did he react to your speech?
He is accustomed. In his speech, which I listened to, he explained how he felt there were too many countries criticizing Russia without looking at what they were doing in violation of public international law. Fortunately, this is not the case in Switzerland.
Is it still possible to offer Switzerland’s good offices in Geneva, by welcoming the Russians and the Americans to negotiate, with such a discourse?
The speech is firm on the violation of public international law. And Switzerland must have a firm rhetoric on the violation of public international law. Otherwise, we are questioning the very foundations of our Constitution. It is not a question of kindness or of having possibilities in International Geneva. I note that since the beginning of the war, the Russians have returned to Geneva for diplomatic talks. We are not entitled to put the place of International Geneva higher than the criticism of violations of public international law.
>> See also the report at 7:30 p.m.:
Interview by Philippe Revaz/vajo
Ignazio Cassis and Russia: “Switzerland must have a firm stance on the violation of public international law”