Swiss National Council Decided to Strengthen Diplomacy with Eritrea


But without opening an embassy

Swiss government to strengthen relation with Eritrea with out opening an embassy
A motion transmitted to the government by the UDC called for strengthening the diplomatic presence in Eritrea without opening a Swiss embassy in Asmara.


Strengthening the diplomatic presence in Eritrea, but without opening a Swiss embassy in Asmara. The National Council today tacitly transmitted to the government a modified motion to that effect by the States.

Initially, the People’s Chamber wanted to go further and asked, in a motion of the UDC group approved in June 2017, the opening of a real diplomatic center in Asmara. However, the House of the Cantons has taken another path, reformulating the text.

Young Eritreans flee from compulsory military service and the total absence of economic prospects, said Claude Beglé (PPD / VD) on behalf of the Preparatory Committee. Asylum applications exploded in 2011 but their number has declined sharply since 2015.

For the UDC, given the large Eritrean community in Switzerland, it is absolutely necessary to open a representation in Asmara to prevent young people from leaving their country. According to the Democentrists, an on-site presence should also allow the negotiation of a refugee readmission agreement.

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For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis stressed the government’s willingness to proceed step by step in relations with Eritrea. It is now up to Asmara to take one step towards Bern before Switzerland opens an embassy in the African country, he noted, pointing out that there is no link between the presence of a diplomatic office and migration.

Switzerland has a structured dialogue with Eritrea, organizes workshops with senior officials, and Germany leases premises in its embassy in Asmara, which allows it to work in a safe place, continued the federal councilor.

“The cost is about 10,000 francs, much less than a million that would cost to open an embassy.”

Eritrea is currently under the responsibility of the Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan. The Swiss ambassador makes 5-6 trips a year to Asmara, said the Minister.

Cassis then recalled that the context is difficult, in Eritrea, there is no parliament and the President decides practically everything. ‘ It will take a policy of small steps ‘. * Software translation from Italian