Ambassadress in Washington
exclusiv in an interview with Ambassadress Claudia Fritsche Principality of Liechtenstein Embassy in Washington
• Your Excellency, you have been
the resident ambassadress
in Washington since 1st October 2002.
Your Excellency, what is your personal
upshot after four years?
The Liechtenstein embassy in Washington is well-established. The
contacts with the relevant authorities, especially with regard to the
Department of State, Treasury Depart-ment and Department of Justice,
are outstanding. A relationship network that existed only in a few
approaches four years ago was able to be considerably expanded.
However, continuous efforts are required to foster, solidify and expand
this network, since a continuous change takes place - particularly in
the civil service, but also in other areas.
To make Liechtenstein known beyond Washington in other parts of the USA
and to present it as a country – like we would like to have it
perceived and understood - is a continuous challenge. We would like to
meet this challenge, among other things, with the help of an
honorary consular network to be established. It is to be repeatedly
stated that the interest in Liechtenstein is considerable - starting
with economic relations and extending to cultural exchange and tourism.
• Your Excellency, according to your
personal assessment of the activity
as a diplomat, where were you able
to provide inspirations which were
accepted and implemented?
Among the main duties in Washington are the contacts with the
responsible US governmental agencies in the realm of financial
services; this includes the struggle against money laundering and the
financing of terrorism. In this respect we enjoy a very positive
assessment on the part of the USA. The steps taken in the past years in
Liechtenstein have contributed substantially to this appraisal. These
measures include the introduction of exemplary obligations to take due
care, as well as the installation of sweeping monitoring mechanisms;
and moreover, the legal assistance agreement - which has functioned
outstand-ingly since its entry into force.
Good relations with the U.S. Congress are indispensable for any country
represented in Washington. On the one hand, the contacts with the
members of the Senate and House of Representatives are established on
the personal level; and on the other hand via the wide-ranging staff of
every member of Congress. Public hearings of committees on relevant
topics contributed to a better under- standing, and are regularly
attended by the Liechtenstein embassy.
Insofar as the economy or the subsequently related public relations
are concerned, we have endeavoured to make
Liechtenstein more well-known as an industrial location; on this score,
the Liechtenstein economic success story is quite impressive.
Liechtenstein is well-known wherever Liechtenstein
business enterprises are settled. Moreover, quite a few initial
cultural accents were able to be set through exhibitions by
Liechtenstein artists in Washington and New York,
poetry recitals as well as in terms of
• Your Excellency, what are or were
personally important moments
in your activity as ambassadress?
The admission of Liechtenstein as a full member of the United Nations
on 18th September 1990 was a very edifying moment, just like the
admission to the Council of Europe on 23rd November 1978. The
presentation of my credentials to President Bill Clinton in December of
the year 2000 was impressive, since there is an opportunity at this
event to hold a brief conversation with the president. Every
successfully concluded endeavour is also among the important moments.
Examples for this are Liechtenstein’s removal from the black list of
«FATF» at that time, as well as the conclusion of the legal assistant
agreement with the USA. In addition, there are satisfying moments which
are much less dramatic. In my case, this includes the meetings with
students in which I have the feeling to have given the young people
something for their later life or to have at least encouraged them to
• Your Excellency, what does your time
management look like, or how can
the citizens of Liechtenstein envision
your daily agenda and the activity
as an ambassadress?
Regular discussions with desk office (in the American Department of
State) that is responsible for Liechtenstein as well as the
participation in events hosted by the various «think tanks» in
Washington are also among the ambassadorial tasks; furthermore, this
includes informal breakfast or lunch meetings with high-ranking
officials and representatives of the Washington society. Visits to the
embassy by student groups and lobby groups provide the opportunity to
inform people about Liechtenstein. Lectures at schools, universities or
roundtable discussions in a small setting serve the same purpose.
Moreover, it is important to meet with non-traditional pro-tagonists in
order to better understand developments «above all also
socio-polit-ical developments» in the USA. Among these protagonists are
artists, lobbyists and businesspeople just as well as one’s own
neighbours and friends. Observing social obligations and even giving
invitations are tasks of every embassy, also of the Liechtenstein
embassy. The social setting is suitable for promotion of
Liechtenstein’s image as well as for procurement of information.