Talk with Federal President Ignazio Cassis: “We are also preparing for an escalation with nuclear bombs”

publishedMay 10, 2022, 5:35 p.m.

Switzerland supports the EU sanctions against Russia. Federal President and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis answered questions from the community on Tuesday and explains why he is behind the sanctions and why Switzerland remains neutral.

von

Fabian Poeschl

Sandro Spaeth

The interview with Federal President Ignazio Cassis in full.

20 minutes

  • The community was able to ask Federal President Ignazio Cassis questions.

  • 20 minutes visited him as part of the “Live from the Executive Office” series in the Federal Palace in Bern.

  • You can see the most important questions and answers here in the videos.

The Ukraine war keeps Federal President and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis busy. Are the sanctions fair and is Switzerland still neutral? What threatens if the war escalates further? 20 minutes met Cassis for a talk.

As part of the “Live from the executive office” series, 20 Minuten visited Cassis in the Federal Palace in Bern. There he answered the questions of the 20-minute community.

You can see the most important questions and answers from the live chat here in the videos:

«Putin’s speech did not surprise me»

On May 9, Russia celebrated “Victory Day” against Nazi Germany. How does Federal President Ignazio Cassis interpret the speech? “The most important information was that there were no surprises. There aren’t many positives today, but it’s good that nothing bad happened that day,” says Cassis.

“We remain really neutral”

René asks why Switzerland doesn’t remain really neutral? “We remain really neutral,” assures Cassis. There are discussions about Switzerland’s neutrality in every war. “This time, however, Russia’s breach of the UN Charter was so great that we could not remain silent. We had to condemn it very loudly and strongly, otherwise the world would not be in order, »says Cassis. With an escalation of the war there is the possibility of atomic bombs. The Federal Council is also preparing for this case.

«We cannot deliver weapons to Ukraine»

Petra asks what Cassis thinks about the demand to deliver arms to Ukraine via third countries? “We can’t do that because of the neutrality law. You can talk about it, but it would need a change in the law to implement it,” says Cassis.

«Zelensky would like to invite me to Ukraine every day»

Cassis has called the Ukrainian president a friend. Has he been invited to Kyiv yet? «Zelensky would like to invite me to Ukraine every day to show how good our relationship is. But these are symbolic acts, our relationship doesn’t need them at all at the moment,” says Cassis.

«Our flower sofa is a must for my wife»

Kevin wants to know if Cassis still has his floral patterned sofa. «Yes we still have that, it’s a must for my wife. We now also have a portrait of the Queen above the sofa.”

The 61-year-old FDP politician Ignazio Daniele Giovanni Cassis has been the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in the Federal Council since 2017. In 2022, Cassis also became President of the Swiss Confederation. His parents immigrated to Ticino from Italy. At 15, Cassis and his three sisters received Swiss citizenship. He studied medicine and worked for more than ten years as a canton doctor in Ticino.

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