Georgian and Swiss foreign ministers signed visa facilitation agreement between the two countries on September 13 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
The agreement, according to the Swiss foreign ministry, is based on EU-Georgia visa facilitation agreement, which went into force in March, 2011.
“It regulates, among other things, the facilitated issuing of long-term multiple-entry visas to various categories of visa applicants, such as business people, journalists and family members of Georgian nationals resident in Switzerland... It also grants a visa exemption to government officials with diplomatic passports,” the Swiss foreign ministry said.
During the meeting on September 13 Georgian and Swiss foreign ministers, Maia Panjikidze and Didier Burkhalter, respectively, also discussed the Swiss role as a mediator between Russia and Georgia, assumed by Bern after Tbilisi and Moscow cut off diplomatic relations following the August, 2008 war.
Switzerland will hold OSCE’s rotating chairmanship in 2014. The Swiss foreign minister said that contributing through dialogue and confidence-building to conflict resolution in the South Caucasus will be among the priorities of the Swiss OSCE chairmanship.
“Switzerland will endeavour to improve the situation of the affected population and to build trust between the parties to the conflict. In particular, exchanges between young people, professionals (e.g. disaster relief workers) and experts are to be promoted,” the Swiss foreign ministry said.
During her visit to Switzerland, the Georgian foreign minister also met president of the Swiss upper house of parliament, the Council of States, Filippo Lombardi, on September 12.