On February 13, Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, invited the Belarusian leader to make an unofficial visit to the country, Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s press pool says on Telegram.
“Switzerland will host the International Ice Hockey Championship. I would like to invite you to attend one of the championship’s matches. It would be the first, perhaps informal, but very important step,” the top Swiss diplomat said during Thursday’s meeting.
In turn, Alyaksandr Lukashenka stressed that Belarus was ready to further develop business contacts with Switzerland. According to him, the two states have always had good and kind relations.
“But I think we still have room for progress, especially in our trade and economic relations. The economy is the main thing. We are ready to provide the most favourable investment conditions to Swiss business,” the head of state added.
In February 2016, in the wake of the latest presidential elections in Belarus, the EU decided to lift its sanctions against Alyaksandr Lukashenka and 169 Belarusian officials cancelling the visa ban and assets freeze. Since then, the Belarusian leader has been free to come to any European city. However, he does not seem to be in hurry.
In May 2016, he visited Italy and the Vatican where he met with Pope Francis.
In September 2018, the Belarusian leader was invited to Paris to take part in the events on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. However, Alyaksandr Lukashenka failed to show up at the celebrations; our country was represented by Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of Belarus.
In March 2019, Polish president Andrzej Duda issued invitations to the ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War to leaders of EU, NATO and the EaP countries, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka. But the Belarusian leader is unlikely to accept it as Russia’s Vladimir Putin was not invited to the event.
In May, the European Union invited Lukashenka to dinner to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the EaP initiative, but it was decided that Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey would replace him. In 2017, the top Belarusian diplomat also visited the EaP summit, where the Belarusian president had been invited to.
In November 2019, Alyaksandr Lukashenka paid a two-day official visit to Austria, which became his first trip to the EU in three years.