Switzerland freezes talks on trade deal with Russia-led customs union

Switzerland freezes talks on trade deal with Russia-led customs union

YEREVAN, March 19. / ARKA /. Switzerland has decided to freeze talks on a trade deal with Russia as a result of the Crimea crisis, AFP reported quoting Swiss  economy minister Johann Schneider-Ammann as saying.

He said the talks with Moscow and  its  customs union partners Belarus and Kazakhstan had been put on hold "in such a situation of uncertainty."

"The reason is the difficult situation over Crimea ... We cannot of course pretend that nothing has happened," he told Swiss public radio station SRF.

"Free-trade deals are important. The Russian market is important, and the customs union's market is important, but not at any price," he said.

The decision marks Switzerland's first formal diplomatic move against Russia since Russia’s  takeover of Crimea, which Sunday voted to split from Ukraine and join Russia, in a referendum condemned by the West.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, which has decided to slap sanctions on Russia.

Schneider-Ammann said that the Swiss government was set to discuss the issue of sanctions over the coming weeks. -0-

19:05 19.03.2014

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