Address by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) – Check against delivery

Speaker: Cassis Ignazio


I would like to thank General Manager Rafael Grossi for his speech.

Switzerland welcomes the continued commitment of the International Atomic Energy Agency - and its Director General - to ensuring the protection of civilian nuclear facilities in Ukraine.

Switzerland has often reiterated its position on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. We repeat our call on the Russian Federation to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory, and we condemn any attack perpetrated against civilian infrastructure.

Respect for international law in general and international humanitarian law in particular is, to Switzerland, the foundation of international security.

The 7 pillars set out by the IAEA perfectly sum up what needs to be done to guarantee nuclear safety in all armed conflicts.

Today, we have the opportunity to support 5 concrete principles to protect the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant.

- 5 principles for implementing the 7 pillars in this particular case.
- 5 principles to prevent a nuclear disaster with all its consequences for the population and the environment, beyond a generation.
- 5 principles, therefore, to ensure the protection of the civilian population.

Switzerland welcomes the Agency's efforts and fully supports these proposals.

What we are discussing here is a pragmatic and targeted approach. I am convinced that this is an important contribution in this crisis situation.

Switzerland calls on all members of this Council to support the 7 pillars and 5 principles proposed by the Agency.

We call particularly on the Russian Federation and Ukraine to fully implement these 5 principles. To commit to protecting the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Respect for international humanitarian law is a priority of Swiss foreign policy.
The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols give us a clear and serious responsibility:

- No civilian infrastructure may be attacked during armed conflicts; and

- The civilian population must be protected against the consequences of war - notably in occupied territories.

The rules to ensure this protection exist, but they are insufficiently implemented. The military situation is very tense. The danger around the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant remains.

We are all aware of the risks to the civilian population when a nuclear power plant is at stake in an armed conflict.
It is our duty to prevent them.

Switzerland welcomes the opportunity to discuss the challenges relating to the safety and security of the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant within the Council.

We are committed to protecting civilian populations: it is with this spirit that we have taken the Presidency of this Council.

Thank you for your attention.

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
E-mail: kommunikation@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Last update 29.01.2022


FDFA Communication

Federal Palace West
3003 Bern

Phone (for journalists only):
+41 58 460 55 55

Phone (for all other requests):
+41 58 462 31 53

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