Swiss envoy advises Serbia to be neutral like his country

Swiss Ambassador in Belgrade Jean-Daniel Ruch believes that "nobody should force Serbia to choose between the East and the West."

Source: Blic
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Speaking for the Belgrade-based daily Blic, the diplomat added that he supported "Serbia's European path."

"You should not be forced to choose, but should be independent, independently make decisions that suit you. That's our recipe," he said, according to the newspaper.

The fact that Switzerland has a Western system does not prevent it from having good relations with all countries, Ruch said, adding that his country has not imposed sanctions on Russia "because we think this is not the way that will contribute to solving the Ukrainian crisis."

"The OSCE in Ukraine, for example, is concerned with avoiding escalation and creating a political framework for talks. On the one hand is the EU, and on the other the Russians. You need neutrality and this is a chance for two countries that have declared themselves as neutral to cooperate," Ruch said about the Swiss-Serbian cooperation within the OSCE.

The ambassador believes that Serbia's EU membership would be "a positive signal to investors that the situation is predictable and stable."

The government of Serbia on this path brought several good laws, Ruch said, adding that there are still challenges, such as the public sector and privatizations.

"This is legacy from the past, a heavy burden for the Serbian economy. Legal security is crucial. Reforms of the judiciary and the administration are necessary," the daily quoted him as saying.

Commenting on the migrant crisis and the fence Hungary is building on its border with Serbia, Ruch said that "it will not solve the problem" and that instead international cooperation to stem the tide of refugees was needed.

As for the Serbian-Swiss economic relations, he said that Switzerland has always been among the top three investors and that last year alone the number of investments rose by 70 percent.

"200 Swiss companies are doing business in Serbia in various fields. The Serbian diaspora also plays a great role by sending about EUR 300 million to Serbia each year," said Ruch.

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