Signature of a Readmission and a Visa Agreement with Kazakhstan

Press Release, FDJP, 04.03.2010

Bern. Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, signed an agreement on readmissions and on visas between Switzerland and Kazakhstan on Thursday, 4 March 2010, upon the occasion of a working visit to Bern by the Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev. Furthermore, the parties reached an agreement on fiscal issues. Another meeting dedicated to multilateral issues is planned for Friday.

In signing the readmission agreement, Switzerland’s objective is a simplified return of those persons who are under an obligation to leave the country. The agreement specifies the authorities who are competent to determine the nationality and the identification of persons obliged to leave, while regulating the operational elements of the return journey. In addition, the two foreign ministers signed an agreement on a mutual lifting of the visa requirement for holders of diplomatic passports.

During the ensuing working lunch, the two foreign ministers dealt with bilateral and international themes. Prominence was given to issues of regional and international security, the international economic situation, bilateral financial and trade relations, as well as energy issues. In recent years, Kazakhstan has become one of Switzerland’s main suppliers of petroleum.

Furthermore, the two parties agreed that the Protocol to amend the Convention on Double Taxation between Switzerland and the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be signed as soon as the Kazakh side has undertaken all necessary steps to remove Switzerland from its list of countries with favourable tax conditions. The removal shall become effective upon signature of the Protocol.

Tomorrow, 5 March 2010, Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey, in her capacity as Chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, will meet again with Foreign Minister Saudabayev, currently Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), this time in Geneva. During this meeting - in which the two Secretaries-General Thorbjørn Jagland (Council of Europe) and Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (OSCE) will also participate - the Chairs of the two largest European multilateral organizations will engage in an exchange of ideas and discuss the various possibilities of strengthening the cooperation between the two organizations.

Such a high-level "2+2" meeting takes place one or twice a year. It is organized on an alternating basis by the Chair of the Council of Europe and by the Chair of the OSCE. The 5 March meeting of the two organizations will mark their 19th summit. Following the meeting, a joint declaration will be prepared for distribution to the delegations of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the delegations of the OSCE in Vienna, and to the press.

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