Davos: Switzerland is ready to act as a mediator to facilitate talks and create platforms to resolve the Ukraine conflict, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis said on Monday and condemned Russia’s “war of aggression” for reducing a sovereign state to rubble and turning cities into graveyards.

Addressing the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022, Cassis said the summit in Davos is a retreat from everyday life, but being removed from everyday life does not mean we are removed from reality.

“By withdrawing, we give ourselves the time to think. And in return, the possibility of being rewarded with fresh solutions. That is why we are here,” he said.

He said that for many, the past few decades have been decades of hope, the hope that the order established after the Cold War would endure.

“There were setbacks, of course, but overall, things were looking up. Open world markets and technological progress generated prosperity for hundreds of millions and provided a boost for more democracy, freedom and stability,” he said.

But suddenly the foundations upon which such hopes are built have fallen apart — first the financial crisis, then climate change, the pandemic and then Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the president said.

Almost overnight, this war of aggression reduced a sovereign state to rubble, turned cities into graveyards, robbed people of its livelihood and shattered an era of hope, he noted.

This war has a total disregard for everything the community of states has achieved in decades of civilisational progress. In view of this brutal violation of international law, especially international humanitarian law, Switzerland has strongly condemned the war and adopted the EU’s sanctions, he said.

Further, the president said democracy must be stronger than tyranny, international law stronger than subjugation, law stronger than power, self-determination stronger than repression.

“There is no neutral attitude towards the brutal violation of fundamental values, which are also our values. For these values are the epitome of freedom. Passivity tolerates the violation of law and can play into the hands of the aggressor,” he said.

Noting that history shows that wars always have their aftermath, he said, “When that time comes, Switzerland is ready to act as a mediator to facilitate talks and create platforms so that they may take place.”

Last July, the 4th Ukraine Reform Conference took place in Vilnius and the aim of these international reform conferences is to support Ukraine in the areas of democratisation, decentralisation and modernisation, he said.

The 5th conference, organised by Ukraine and Switzerland, will take place in Lugano, Switzerland, in early July. But this time it will be a recovery conference, he said.

“Because when the war is over and the weapons fall silent, all our efforts will be focused on rebuilding,” Cassis said.

“War is the embodiment of instability. And this war is driven by a destructive force that not only shakes the geopolitical security architecture, but also undermines other principles of civilisation,” he said.

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