Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis receives Belarusian Foreign Minister in Bern

Press release, 20.04.2021

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, received the Foreign Minister of Belarus, Uladzimir Makei, on a courtesy visit to Bern on 20 April 2021. Their talks focused on the current situation in Belarus and the case of Natallia Hersche, a Swiss-Belarusian dual citizen who is currently serving a prison term.

In a one-on-one meeting with Mr Makei, Mr Cassis expressed Switzerland's concern about the continued problematic human rights situation in Belarus: "Switzerland's position is clear: Fundamental rights must be guaranteed and serious human rights violations must be prosecuted in Belarus," said Cassis. He also called for the release of all arbitrarily detained persons.

The two foreign ministers also discussed the case of the imprisoned Swiss-Belarusian dual citizen Natallia Hersche. She is under Swiss consular protection, and the Swiss ambassador in Minsk has so far been allowed to visit her on eight occasions. Ms Hersche was recently sentenced to a two-and-a-half year prison term in Belarus. Switzerland will continue to intercede on Natallia Hersche's behalf under the terms of consular protection.

Mr Cassis and Mr Makei also discussed the current tensions in eastern Ukraine.

Further information:

Bilateral relations - Switzerland and Belarus

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