Switzerland to take part in G20 meet of finance ministers
Geneva/New Delhi: Switzerland, which has been often accused of providing safe haven to illicit wealth from across the world including India, on Wednesday, said it will take part for the first time in the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers next month.
G-20 is a block of the world's 20 most important developed and developing nations including India and plays significant role in global tax treaties and other issues related to international financial system.
The issue of alleged stashing of black money by Indians in Swiss banks has been a matter of huge debate in India, while a number of other countries including the US has also found instances of their citizens using secrecy walls of Switzerland-based financial institutions to evade taxes.
The Swiss government said in a statement that it would take part in four G20 meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors this year, while it also expects to "make an active contribution at a technical level in various working groups and preparatory meetings".
Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has been invited to take part in the G-20 meeting by Russia, which currently holds presidency of the 20-nation affiliation.
This year's first meeting of the finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 countries will take place on February 15-16 in Moscow.
Thereafter, three other G-20 meets will take place during the meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April and October in Washington, as well as in July in Moscow.
"It is important for Switzerland to be involved at this level. We will make constructive contributions in terms of our know-how as an important financial centre and we will be able to have and increasing influence when weighing up important decisions for the international financial system," Switzerland's Federal Councillor Widmer-Schlumpf said.
As a non-member of the G20, Switzerland had not been represented at the G20 meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors up to now.
Switzerland said that it has been invited by Russia to take part in the meeting, given an important role it has to play in the international financial system.
"Due to its experience, Switzerland can make an important contribution to overcoming global financial challenges," the Swiss government said.