The EU Council has published its conclusions on EU relations with Switzerland, in which it notes Switzerland’s voluntary alignment to EU sanctions on a case-by-case basis. It encourages Switzerland to remain consistent in the application of sanctions, including in preventing their circumvention, and invites Switzerland to align itself further with EU sanctions on Russia over its involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.
The EU’s press release is here.
Switzerland has followed the EU (blog here) and US (blog here) in imposing sanctions on 6 Russian parliamentarians elected to represent the annexed Crimea region of Ukraine in September. Neither the EU nor US recognise the legitimacy of the elections.
The EU & Switzerland have joined the US in implementing the recent UN designations of Joseph Kony and his group the Lord’s Resistance Army (see previous blog). Under Kony’s leadership, the LRA is said to have been involved in the abduction and mutilation of thousands of civilians across central Africa, illicit trade in natural resources, sexual violence, murder, slavery, and the recruitment of child soldiers since the group was founded in 1987.
The EU designations are made by Implementing Regulation 2016/354 implementing Regulation 224/2014 and Implementing Decision 2016/360 implementing Decision 2013/798/CFSP and its notice to Kony and the LRA is here. Switzerland’s ordinance is here.
Switzerland has followed the EU in lifting its asset freezes and travel bans that relate to all but 4 people on its sanctions against Belarus (see previous blog). The Swiss government’s notice is here, and its consolidated list of Belarus targets is here.
Switzerland has followed the EU, US, and UN in de-listing Bank Sepah from its sanctions against Iran (see previous blog), along with Naser Bateni and the company he manages Hanseatic Shipping Trust, whose EU listings were annulled in October 2015 (see previous blog), and 3 entities connected to Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, also reflecting UN and EU modifications to their own sanctions.
The Swiss Government’s notice is here.
In response to the implementation of the JCPOA nuclear deal last Saturday (see previous blog), Switzerland has lifted a several of its own sanctions on Iran. The remaining Swiss sanctions on Iran are based on the corresponding UN and EU measures, and restrict trade in arms, dual-use goods, and nuclear goods as well as the provision of technical services for Iranian cargo aircraft, and impose asset freezes and travel bans on a limited number of people and entities.
In its announcement, the Swiss government notes that it “has always supported the process to negotiate and implement the agreement”, and adds that this “will enable political and economic exchanges to be intensified”.
Switzerland has said that it plans “in principle” to ease its sanctions against Iran, in accordance with changes made by the EU and UN to their own sanctions regimes following the agreement of the JCPOA nuclear deal in July. The Swiss government stated that it has asked the Economy Ministry to draft changes to the sanctions which “open new perspectives for cooperation with Iran”, though it has also said that sanctions would remain in place until Iran meets its obligations under the nuclear deal.
In August, Switzerland lifted a number of its sanctions against Iran, which had been suspended since January, in response to the agreement of the JCPOA (see previous blog).
Switzerland has lifted its a number of its sanctions against Iran, which had been suspended since January 2014. The Swiss government cited the nuclear deal (JCPOA) agreed between Iran and the E3/EU+3 last month, stating in its press release that “The Federal Council wishes today’s steps to be seen as a sign of its support for the implementation of the nuclear agreement and its interest in deepening bilateral relations with Iran”.
Switzerland’s sanctions regime on Iran had banned trade in precious metals with Iranian state bodies and required that all trade in and relating to Iranian petrochemical products be reported. The Federal Council has also increased the threshold values for reporting and licensing obligations in relation to money transfers involving Iranian nationals ten-fold. In addition, a new exemption clause has been introduced by the Swiss government to The Ordnance of Measures regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran, authorising moves to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (see previous blog).
The Federal Council stated that it will monitor the implementation of the JCPOA and adapt Swiss measures accordingly, adding that “should implementation of the agreement fail the Federal Council reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures”.