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Reuters: Switzerland could lift ban of exports of Swiss weapons to war zones

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 7, 2023 6:26 AM 1 min read
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Switzerland could end a ban on exports of Swiss weapons to war zones as a shift in public and political opinion puts pressure on the government to end a centuries-long tradition of being a neutral state, Reuters reported.

The Swiss government prohibits countries that purchase Swiss arms from re-exporting them without permission. Swiss neutrality also dictates that Switzerland will not send weapons directly or indirectly to any side of a war.

The country also has an embargo on arms sales to Ukraine and Russia.

According to the Reuters report, the Swiss parliament's two security committees recommended the government's rules be eased in order to allow other countries to send Swiss-made military aid to Ukraine.

"We shouldn't have the veto to stop others from helping Ukraine. If we do that, we support Russia, which is not a neutral position," Thierry Burkart, leader of the center-right FDP party, told Reuters.

"Other countries want to support Ukraine and do something for the security and stability of Europe... They cannot understand why Switzerland has to say no."

Swiss public opinion has also shifted since Russia's full-scale war began in February 2022. Reuters cited a survey by the Sotomo Institute published on Feb. 5 that showed 55% of respondents favor allowing weapons re-exports to Ukraine.

Bloomberg also reported on Feb. 2 that "mainstream politicians" in Switzerland have called for selling the country's nearly 100 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic as replacements for the tanks that their governments plan to send to Ukraine.

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