Master of History
Belarusian State University
The article deals with the Swiss-Belarusian bilateral relations in the political, economic, humanitarian and cultural area from 1991 until nowadays. It provides a brief overview of the studies on this topic published in both countries as well as official reports by the Federal Council, where Belarus was mentioned.
The article focuses on the former and current issues of intergovernmental relations between Switzerland and Belarus. It analyses the periods of deterioration caused by divergence of views on democracy and human rights, and the periods of improvement, when sanctions were lifted, the number of high-level visits increased, and new diplomatic and consular representations were established.
The article traces the dynamics and structure of foreign trade between the two countries and notes its rapid growth since the mid-2000s, which was facilitated by major Swiss investors, joint ventures and other entities as well as business forums.
It also gives data on the financial assistance and humanitarian aid that the Confederation has provided to Belarus, especially to the areas most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, within its programmes of cooperation with Eastern Europe and via the Swiss Cooperation Office in Minsk (now the Embassy of Switzerland in Belarus). The article also describes the activities of the Belarusian diaspora in Switzerland as well as the cooperation between the educational, scientific and cultural institutions of the two countries.
The author concludes that while Belarus is not one of Switzerland’s priority partners, in recent years the bilateral relations between them have been gradually improving.
Keywords: Swiss Confederation, Republic of Belarus, visa and financial sanctions, foreign trade and investment, humanitarian aid, Chernobyl disaster, Swiss Cooperation Office.
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