rt. Switzerland does not expel the Russian ambassador. The pressure on the Federal Council to join the measures of the British government must have been huge. The “Aargauer Zeitung” of 30 March quotes a person close to the Federal Council: “The pressure, above all of the British, but also of the Americans is enormous.” The Englishmen pushed Switzerland through diplomatic channels and indirectly via public statements to join the measures against Russia. Similar approaches towards Austria were also made known (see “Kleine Zeitung” of 6 April).
“At its meeting on Wednesday in St. Gallen, the Federal Council discussed and strongly condemns the Salisbury attack by means of a military-grade nerve agent of the Novichok class,” said Ursula Eggenberger, Information Officer of the Federal Chancellery, after the meeting. “Once again Switzerland emphasises that all use of chemical weapons violates international law and is prohibited under all circumstances. The Federal Council urges a full investigation of the case.” (“Aargauer Zeitung”of 30 March 2018)
The Federal Council states: “The investigation into the background of this crime as well as the origin of the warfare agent by the British authorities in cooperation with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), is of central importance. Those responsible must be held accountable.”
Source: Aargauer Zeitung, 30 March 2018
* * *
Obviously, under the directive of the United Kingdom and the United States, some states have completely ignored the usual legal and international procedures and on grounds of unproven claims have relegated Russian ambassadors to their country. These measures must be considered premature and exaggerated.
But it is also clear that only very few countries worldwide have participated in these measures. Most countries expressed concern about the “poison attack” on the double agent Skripal and his daughter and emphasised to first wait for the official investigations. On 26 March the Swiss Federal Council also commented London in a similar way.
It is also clear that more than one third of the EU states have not expelled any Russian ambassador and emphasised to wait for the investigations and to keep the channels for negotiations open with Moscow.
Not without reason the Russian Foreign Minister ascertained that the propelled escalation of the relationship between the Russian Federation and Britain together with the United States, France and the Federal Republic of Germany had to be a long-planned action since such a massive diplomatic process usually could barely be noticeable at this speed. Hence, it has become known from government circles in different countries that the United Kingdom and the United States are exerting strong pressure to join the sharp measures against Russia.
The disappearances, ambiguities and cover-ups in the scientific research of the Skripal Case cast also no good light on the London government. Why not respond to the factual and clean international proposals of Moscow for scientific investigation or at least answer the official questions of the Russian government, when everything seems so clear?
The political damage caused by this escalating process is huge. The most valuable foundation of world peace, mutual trust, has been deliberately (!) massively disrupted. Why not involve the OSCE? The hope remains that the international community will repudiate against such practices in the future.
For small states and even more so for neutral ones, the situation between the power blocs is becoming increasingly difficult. It will take strength, courage and foresight to remain neutral under international law, despite the impending sanctioning measures by various “friends”. •
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