Switzerland Celebrates Its National Holiday
09 August, 2012

 

he first of August is the National Day of Switzerland, one of the richest countries of the world. The date was celebrated with pomp and circumstance in a pleasant atmosphere. Its importance was affirmed by the fact that they were also celebrating the 20th anniversary of bilateral relations between our two countries.

 

The event took place in the open air, which was a good idea, as if they were also celebrating the beginning of the hottest month of summer (at least, in Georgia). It happened at the premises of the park where Expo Georgia is located; namely, at the cafe Terrace. The guests were abundant, the music was good. Fortunately, the forecast was not justified and rain did not interrupt the soiree. The food was nice, offering a variety of international cuisine, and the overall mood was very festive.

After quite a while, the band that played the rock-blues style music,  stopped playing temporarily and an interesting choir of women performed the national anthems of Swiss Confederation and Georgia. The surroundings were decorated with Swiss flags. However, the intrigue started from the very beginning: the guests were pleasantly surprised by the generous gesture of the Swiss embassy – every invited person received a nice gift from the Swatch at the entrance – what a lovely arrangement! Thus, people were helping themselves to tasty food and sweets, sipping wines, talking, holding the nice packages with anticipation, still not knowing what was inside, making friends or meeting with old acquaintances, and listening to nice tunes live. Among the invited, there was a considerable number of foreign diplomats, as well as representatives of Georgian foreign Ministry and opposition and other distinguished guests.

Georgian Journal did not miss the chance to talk to the main hero and host of the soiree, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, H.E. Geunther Baechler:  “Today it’s our national holiday – the 1st of August. It’s a traditional day. We have been celebrating it for over a hundred years. This day in Georgia is very special, as we celebrate the 20 years of our diplomatic relations. We can look back to very interesting relations developed in the last 2-3 years, because we have the mandate to represent the Russian interests in Georgia and vice versa, so we are quite busy endeavoring to open up the channel between Russia and Georgia. Last year, we negotiated the access of Russia to WTO, which was rather important, because everybody wanted to have Russia in this organization, in order to organize the trade according to international rules. This year, we are more busy with Georgian elections. We monitor the pre-election campaign. The embassy travels in the regions and observes what is going on, whether the preparations are on track. Of course, we are ready to participate in the monitoring officially. We’ll send both long-term and short-term observers, but always as part of the OSCE mission. I personally have been in the expert team of observers, twice in Ukraine, and in many other countries, so elections are quite interesting for me,” His Excellency told us.

Later on, Georgian Journal also talked to the “main guest” - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mr. Sergi Kapanadze, who was assigned by the Georgian side to congratulate the Swiss colleagues. “Today is the 1st of August, the National Day of Switzerland. We also celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Georgia. The relations over these 20 years have become extremely dynamic. Last year, we opened the embassy in Switzerland. Before that, we used to have permanent mission in Geneva. We have exchanged quite a few high-level visits with the Swiss President coming here and our delegation of Georgia also visited Switzerland. We have had an increase in the bilateral economic relations recently – Switzerland is one of the biggest investors in Georgia, who invests in different fields of agriculture. It is one of those countries who shares experience with us in various fields like tourism for instance. Overall, Switzerland gains a very crucial role in the bilateral relations of Georgia on the international arena. As you know, Switzerland represents the interests of Georgia in Moscow and the interests of Russian Federation here in Georgia. So, it plays a role of a mediator, which is a very important role. Also it has played a very instrumental role in WTO negotiations between Georgia and Russia. We are very glad that Switzerland was chosen as a mediator with so much experience behind it.”

On top of all the events, as a real culmination of the whole occasion, Mr. Ambassador approached the cake that had the shape of the Swiss flag and cut the first slice himself.

 

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