Politics, Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

Swiss parliament allows arms re-export to Ukraine

Decision approved by Swiss Council of States with 22-17 votes, and to be retroactive

Beyza Binnur Donmez  | 07.06.2023 - Update : 07.06.2023
Swiss parliament allows arms re-export to Ukraine


Switzerland's Council of States, the upper house of parliament, on Wednesday allowed arms re-export to Ukraine amid oppositions that it may contradict the country's neutrality.

"Countries that purchase Swiss war material should be allowed, subject to conditions, to re-export it to countries involved in armed conflicts," the council said in a statement.

It noted that the decision is taken by 22 in favor and 17 against votes, with four abstentions.

According to the statement, the new provision would be retroactive and re-exports would be only permitted to "destination countries that do not violate human rights and do not use arms against the civilian population."

Also, the Federal Council will no longer have to take decisions on a case-by-case basis in the future.

Although Switzerland had adopted parts of the EU sanctions against Russia, including the freezing of Russian assets, Bern continued to block the transfer of weapons to Ukraine.

Almost two weeks ago, Swiss President Alain Berset accused supporters of the transfer of weapons to Ukraine of being a "war frenzy," but under public pressure he was forced to concede just a few days later that his "choice of words could have been wiser."

Those in favor of an exception argued that Switzerland should provide more support to Ukraine and contribute to European security.

Opponents, including the Greens and conservatives from the SVP party, feared a violation of neutrality and too close a rapprochement with NATO.

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