Switzerland: A Trusted Mediator in Global Conflicts

GS-2 Mains

Short Notes or Revision Notes

  • Upcoming Peace Conference on Ukraine:Switzerland to host conference on June 15-16, aiming to break the deadlock between Ukraine and Russia.

Switzerland’s Role in Global Crisis Management:

  • Represents US in Iran since 1979 hostage crisis.
  • Has a task force on the Middle East and supports a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine.
  • Recently called Hamas a “terrorist organization” while clarifying distinction from Palestinians.
  • Offered UNSC its good offices to facilitate peace talks in the Middle East.
  • Hosted historic meetings during the Cold War (Reagan-Gorbachev, 1985) and Bosnian War negotiations (1995).
  • Provided back channels for communication, such as for South Africa’s pre-democracy Archbishop.

Why is Switzerland Preferred for Negotiations?

  • Discretion, dedication, and strong work ethic of Swiss diplomats.
  • Experience handling complex diplomatic issues.
  • Hosted Biden-Putin summit in 2021, fostering positive atmosphere despite no breakthrough.
  • Longstanding democracy with emphasis on rule-based progress.
  • Highly literate population stays informed through diverse media.
  • Extensive citizen participation in decision-making at all levels (local, cantonal, federal).
  • Focus on consensus building, even if it slows progress.
  • Economic success with globally recognized brands across various sectors.

International Conference on Russia-Ukraine Conflict (to be held in Switzerland, June 2024)


  • Achieve comprehensive, just, and lasting peace for Ukraine (aligned with international law and UN Charter).
  • Create a common framework for peace and a roadmap for the peace process.

Expected Attendees:

  • Over 100 countries confirmed, including G7 members, EU representatives, Brazil, India, China, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia.
  • US President Joe Biden likely to attend.
  • Russia has declined attendance but maintains communication with Switzerland.

Switzerland’s Role:

  • Hosting the conference due to its reputation for neutrality and trust among warring parties.
  • Has engaged with both Russia and Ukraine.
  • Potential Bias Concerns:
    • Froze assets of Russian oligarchs in Swiss banks ($8.81 billion estimated).
    • Planning a Ukraine Mine Action Conference in October.
    • Swiss media reports on Putin’s family living in Switzerland.
    • Russia considering relocating South Caucasus talks from Geneva due to Switzerland’s stance.

India’s Role:

  • Foreign Minister Jaishankar met with Swiss counterpart to discuss the conference (March 2024).
  • May be seen as a potential mediator with Russia.
  • India’s official position on participation not yet confirmed.

Conference Outcomes:

  • No final document expected.
  • Emphasis on gradualism and back-channel diplomacy.
  • Aim to gather a large representation to discuss the war and human rights values.
  • Potential for a new approach to peace negotiations.


  • First major attempt to bring parties together since the conflict began.
  • Europe’s vulnerability exposed after decades of peace.
  • Raises questions about the future of human rights laws in wartime scenarios.


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