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Friday, September 29, 2023


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WorldEuropeSwiss MPs vote against the transfer of Swiss arms to Ukraine

Swiss MPs vote against the transfer of Swiss arms to Ukraine

The vote in the Swiss parliament came on the day Swiss President Alain Berset was meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a European Political Group summit in Moldova, in a meeting where the pair discussed export of military equipment.

And 98 members of the Bern National Council voted against the parliamentary initiative prepared by a committee, while 75 members voted in favor.

Jean-Luc Ador, a deputy from the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party, the largest bloc in the National Council, said that approving the initiative would mean a “violation of neutrality”.

Switzerland has long adopted the principle of neutrality in military conflicts, given that the country has 8.8 million inhabitants and has no outlet to the sea. It still adopts compulsory military service for men.

Since the start of the Ukrainian war in February 2022, the debate on the principle of neutrality has been raging in Switzerland.

The wealthy country, which is not a member of the European Union, has followed the bloc’s lead in imposing sanctions on Moscow, but it has yet to show flexibility in terms of military neutrality.

Despite pressure from Cave and his allies, Switzerland has not yet allowed countries that possess Swiss-made weapons to supply them to Ukraine.

So far, it has rejected explicit requests from Germany, Spain and Denmark, citing the “War Materials Act” which prohibits re-export if the recipient country is involved in an armed conflict.

During the summit in Moldova, Kyiv and Chişinău urged European leaders to provide more support in the face of Russian military operations.

Berset announced in a tweet that he “had a meeting with Zelenskyy about the situation on the ground, Swiss humanitarian aid and reconstruction”.

Swiss state television reported that the meeting lasted 25 minutes.

Brisset said in a statement on Swiss television that he had discussed with the Ukrainian president the asset freeze, Switzerland’s role in mine clearance and the country’s position on the re-export of arms.

“I think the Ukrainians understand Switzerland’s position very well,” Bersih said, expressing his willingness to visit Ukraine at any time.

“We apply our laws. We have shown from the start that we are not indifferent to what is happening and we are firmly on the side of Ukraine,” added the Swiss president.

“The most important thing today is that we are united and that we do not tolerate what is happening in eastern Ukraine,” Bersih said.

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Arab Desk
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