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Swiss president rules out re-exports of Swiss weapons to Ukraine – FT

Switzerland’s President Alain Berset has ruled out the re-export of Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine, trying to draw a line under a tense debate on the country’s longstanding neutrality, Financial Times reports.

“Swiss weapons must not be used in wars,” President Alain Berset said in an interview on 12 March, accusing opponents of engaging in “war frenzy” and calling for a rapid diplomatic solution to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Swiss laws require the government’s permission to re-sell and re-gift Swiss-made weapons, and those may not be sent into active war zones. Meanwhile, German, French, and Dutch diplomats lobbied to allow stocks of Swiss-made weapons they hold – particularly anti-aircraft shells for Gepard flak cannons – to be sent to support Ukraine’s war effort, FT wrote.

Switzerland keeps neutrality policy, barring weapons exports to Ukraine

Some Swiss politicians have asked for a change in their country’s stance. Moreover, FT says, a poll published earlier the month, found that 55% of the Swiss supported the arms re-exports to Ukraine.

“It is precisely because we are neutral and do not allow the transfer of weapons to war zones that we can do a great deal for this continent,” President Berset told NZZ. “Pacifism has a bad reputation right now, but warfare is not part of the Swiss DNA.”

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