Swiss government 'worried' over safety in Geneva

15th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Swiss government Monday said it was "preoccupied" by the security situation in Geneva, a city more famed for its chocolate and banking than for high levels of criminality.

"The federal deparment of foreign affairs is worried about the deteriorating security situation in Geneva," it said in a statement.

Swiss media have been fretting over an internal United Nations email distributed on July 21 where the UN security service, citing an attack on the son of a UN staff member, urged its staff to remain cautious when going about town.

"All staff are advised to exercise caution and prudence when out in the evening or early morning hours in downtown Geneva," it said.

In the press release, which did not refer to the incident, the department of foreign affairs said the presence of international organisations in Geneva constituted a "pillar" of Switzerland's foreign policy, and that the safety of the city was a top priority for the UN and diplomatic missions.

It added that the minister of foreign affairs, Micheline Calmy-Rey, would be meeting with Geneva authorities on September 12.

UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told AFP that the internal email was more of a "general warning" to its staff and "does not affect the excellent relations between our institution and Geneva".

Geneva ranked as the third most livable city in the world in 2011, according to Mercer's quality of living survey. It is also the European headquarters and second biggest centre for the UN after New York.

© 2011 AFP

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