PM Harris, Switzerland’s ambassador hold bilateral discussions

From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and Switzerland have taken steps to further strengthen bilateral relations between both nations following a meeting between the prime minister, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, and Switzerland’s ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency Urs R. Schnider.

Schnider paid a courtesy call on Harris at his office at government headquarters Wednesday. This was preceded by a meeting at Government House, where the visiting ambassador officially presented his credentials to the governor-general, His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton, GCMG, CVO, QC, JP.

Also attending Wednesday’s meeting with the prime minister were the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Andrew Skerritt, and the foreign service officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thouvia France.

During the meeting, which Harris described as “productive,” officials discussed a wide range of issues, including the parameters for establishing a permanent mission to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva. In this regard, Schnider noted that St. Kitts and Nevis stands to benefit from a range of privileges, immunities and facilities, in addition to financial support.

 “We want to feel the presence and the impact of our friends and allies in Europe,” Harris stated. “That, for us, is very important and we hope in your government we find a government that is willing to assist and to provide support for us so that we can grow and reach the proper levels of development that our people aspire to.”

It is the hope of Harris that Switzerland, being a world leader in banking services, advocates in the international fora for the maintenance of relations with the correspondent banks in the region, and more specifically, those in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Harris also impressed upon the visiting ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis’ intention to move away from the use of fossil fuel to alternative energy sources – including wind, solar and geothermal energy – and called upon the government of Switzerland to assist in this regard.

Harris ended by extending an invitation to Schnider to represent Switzerland when St. Kitts and Nevis’ celebrates its 34th anniversary of Independence Sept. 19.

During his current visit, Schnider is also expected to travel to Nevis, where he will meet with the premier of Nevis, the Honourable Vance Amory, as well as the deputy premier and minister of foreign affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley.

St. Kitts and Nevis and Switzerland established diplomatic relations Nov. 17, 1992. As of 2011, nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis have been able to travel to Switzerland for up to a period of 90 days without the need for a visa.