Switzerland may send envoy to Belarus, hand over credentials to Lukashenka

Switzerland plans to send its ambassador to Minsk, Der Bund reports with reference to the Swiss Foreign Ministry. The top diplomat might take up his duties and present credentials to Lukashenka in the near future.

Natallia Hersche in Savetski district court of Minsk. Photo: Belsat

According to the online newspaper, such step may be linked to the country’s desire to help political prisoner Natallia Hersche, a citizen of Belarus and Switzerland. She was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for tearing off a riot policeman’s balaclava during one of the women’s marches in Minsk.

“We have come to the conclusion that we will be able to better protect our interests by having a woman envoy on the ground. To do this, one must present credentials. This [sending an ambassador to Belarus] will give us an opportunity to express our concern directly to Lukashenka,” Der Bund quotes Deputy Foreign Minister Johannes Matyassy.

Ambassador to Belarus Christine Honegger Zolotukhin was appointed to this post in November 2020, but she has not left for Belarus yet. Previously, Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya said in an interview with the Swiss media outlet that the country was doing a lot for defending human rights and values. However, in its Sunday’s article, Bunds authors say that now ‘it looks like a disappointed hope’.

Belarusian politician Pavel Latushka also warns Switzerland against this step; according to him, itcould be an insult to the feelings of all Belarusian citizens, especially those who have been in prison for political reasons or were forced to flee abroad from the dictatorship of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

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