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Swiss president speaks against lifting ban on weapons reexport to Ukraine

Alain Berset called for being careful in what concerns export or reexport of weapons in the current situation

GENEVA, January 26. /TASS/. As a neutral state, Switzerland should not allow reexport of its weapons to Ukraine, Swiss President Alain Berset said on Wednesday.

"Today, it is not time to change the rules of [weapons] reexport. Neither is it time to change the rules of neutrality," he said in an interview with the RTS television channel. "On the contrary, it is time to recall our basic principles, to stay committed to them and find a right path for the country in this situation."

He called for being careful in what concerns export or reexport of weapons in the current situation. He stressed that Switzerland has a "long practice" of neutrality and recalled that the country has "a different role from other states."

According to Berset, trust in Switzerland stems from the fact that it is a depository of the Geneva conventions and stands for promoting humanitarian law. He stressed that a refusal from this special role for the sake of export of weapons will not influence the situation on the ground. "A lot of weapons are being exported to Ukraine and Switzerland in not playing a decisive role in that," he said.

On Tuesday, the Swiss parliament’s international commission called for amending the country’s laws to lift the ban on the reexport of Swiss weapons to Ukraine. Heated parliamentary debates are expected soon. Switzerland’s biggest political force, the Swiss People’s Party, which is part of the four-party government, is against lifting this ban.

In November 2022, the Swiss government turned down Germany’s request for a permit to reexport munitions to Gepard self-propelled air defense systems to Ukraine. Spain was denied a reexport permit too.

However, despite its neutral status, Switzerland supported all the nine packages of the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions imposed amid Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

Switzerland has been put on Russia’s list of unfriendly states.