NewsWorldWill Switzerland move away from neutrality and move closer...

Will Switzerland move away from neutrality and move closer to NATO? – BFM Business


In Switzerland, the conflict in Ukraine is sparking a debate on the country’s security. The Ministry of Defense is preparing a report that could have consequences for the neutrality status. The war in Ukraine has profound consequences in Europe. After Finland and Sweden’s desire to join NATO, it is now Switzerland that plans to get closer to the organization and move away from its neutral status. During a trip to Washington discussing the F-35 contract this week, Defense Minister Viola Amherd admitted that Switzerland should work more closely with the US-led military alliance, but not formally join it. Switzerland “cannot join any alliance because of its neutrality. But we can work together and the systems we buy are a good basis for that,” Defense Minister Amherd told SRF TV channel. considered that a debate cannot be avoided. “The law of neutrality is clear: arms exports are not allowed. But we must have a broad political discussion on the policy of neutrality”, declared the minister in a interview at Sonntagsblick. His cabinet is preparing a security report in which he would consider participating in military exercises with NATO countries. For Paelvi Pulli, head of security policy at the Swiss Ministry of Defence, these operations would have an impact on the interpretation of neutrality. This report will be submitted to Parliament for discussion and will serve as a basis for possible decisions on the future direction of Swiss security policy. The Ministry of Defense is also working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a project to adopt sanctions and export arms and ammunition. “There is a lot of unease that Switzerland cannot contribute more to help Ukraine “, Paelvi Pulli told Reuters. Although having an army and compulsory military service, Switzerland has not participated in any international conflict since 1815, when this principle was adopted at the Congress of Vienna. This rule prohibits him from sending troops to a country at war, arming or placing his territory at the disposal of the warring parties. This statute was updated in 1990, after the fall of the Soviet Union to allow international cooperation in humanitarian matters. The questioning of this principle, which was not even raised during the two world wars, has the support from an increasingly large part of the population. According to Reuters, the Swiss army is in favor of it to strengthen national defence. Public opinion, which has always refused this change, is modifying its point of view. In a poll conducted in April, 56% of the Swiss are now in favor of strengthening ties with NATO. They are even a third to want their country to adhere to it completely. The eye of Moscow Among politicians, the debate is done with nuance. Thierry Burkart, leader of the centre-right Liberal Democratic Party, which is part of the ruling coalition, believes neutrality “must be flexible”. “Before Ukraine, some people thought there would never be a “another conventional war in Europe. This conflict shows that we cannot be complacent,” he told Reuters, adding that he does not want full membership. Viola Amherd also has the support of the centrist party from which she came. Its president, Gerhard Pfister, has already asked the Federal Council to allow Germany to export Swiss war material to Ukraine.”Why does Switzerland supply arms to Saudi Arabia, but not to Ukraine? From when does neutrality become indecent?”, declared Gerhard Pfister during a meeting of his political party. ), a rapprochement with NATO is incompatible with neutrality. “There is no reason to change this foreign policy maxim which has brought us peace and prosperity,” Peter Keller told Reuters. In Russia these talks are being watched closely. Vladimir Khokhlov, spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Bern, points out that Moscow “could not ignore” this “radical” change which would have “consequences”.

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