Switzerland dispatches senior diplomat to handle “current crisis”

Switzerland dispatches senior diplomat to handle “current crisis”

Switzerland dispatches senior diplomat to handle “current crisis”

Written by Staff Writer

20 Dec, 2019 | 11:35 am

Colombo (News 1st) – The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in a release notes that Switzerland is continuing high-level talks with Sri Lanka to resolve the current crisis, surrounding the arrest of an embassy staffer who was allegedly abducted and questioned.

The release notes that Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis had a phone call with Minister Dinesh Gunawardene on Wednesday (Dec 18) and had informed that Switzerland was sending former ambassador Jörg Frieden to Sri Lanka to explore the possibilities for clarifying the security incident at the Swiss embassy in Colombo.

Cassis had emphasized that the FDFA considers the health and safety of its staff to be paramount and that it is the responsibility of the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure that these are protected.

During his telephone conversation with Min. Gunawardena, Cassis had outlined Switzerland’s position. He also expressed regret regarding the decision to place the embassy staffer in pre-trial detention, without taking into account her state of health. Cassis had asked Min. Gunawardena to transfer her to a more appropriate location, such as a hospital, on humanitarian grounds.

The Federal Councillor also pointed out that the high level of media coverage, lack of privacy safeguards and public condemnation in this case not only endangered Swiss embassy staff but also eroded the trust and confidence required to jointly clarify the incident.

The FDFA release adds that the Swiss ambassador in Colombo, Hanspeter Mock, had already underlined at a meeting on Tuesday with the Sri Lankan Attorney General that in this high-profile case, Sri Lanka’s reputation as a country that upholds the rule of law was at stake.

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