Representatives of the Swiss leadership propose to visit Bashkiria to express condolences on a Tu-154 crash in southern Germany as soon as emotions subside, Switzerland's ambassador to Russia Walter Fetscherin told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
"We are not abandoning the idea of personally expressing our sympathy to Ufa residents on behalf of the Swiss people, but it is necessary that the emotions should settle a bit," he said. According to him, the Swiss side is in constant touch with the leadership of Bashkiria and the Russian Foreign Ministry.
President Kaspar Villiger of the Swiss Confederation had intended personally to attend a ceremony of burying in Ufa of the victims of the air crash, but his visit was cancelled on the insistent request of Bashkir authorities.
Russia's Foreign Ministry informed the Swiss leadership that, "as Bashkir authorities believe, the ceremony of parting between parents and dead children will no doubt involve high emotional strain and strong nerve shock". All this, in Moscow's view, could have "a negative effect on the atmosphere of stay of the Swiss president".
On the night of July 1-2, in the area of Bodensee in Germany, a Russian Tu-154 passenger jet of Bashkirian airlines and a Boeing-757 cargo jet of the DHL international delivery company collided in mid-air at an altitude of 11,000 metres. The Tu-154 was carrying 12 crew and 57 passengers -- 52 children going for a holiday, and 5 adult child-minders. Aboard the Boeing were two pilots.
In the view of most experts the blame for the crash lies with Swiss air traffic control, which was "handling" the aircraft at the moment of collision.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969