Although the tradition of Swiss neutrality dates back to the 16th century, the war in Ukraine and Swiss insistence on remaining neutral has irritated many.Source: Jutarnji list
Although the tradition of Swiss neutrality dates back to the 16th century, the war in Ukraine and the country's insistence on not getting involved in the war that threatens the EU has irritated many.
The newspaper Foreign Policy recalls that Switzerland agreed that when the war in Ukraine began, it would impose sanctions on Russia, which included freezing the assets of Russian oligarchs, denying airspace to Russian planes and imposing a travel ban on some people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, Western diplomats believe that Switzerland should have done more. Thus, the U.S. Ambassador in Bern, Scott Miller, said that Switzerland could increase the freezing of assets belonging to Russian oligarchs from eight to 109 billion dollars.
He called on the Swiss to reconsider their neutrality. "Switzerland cannot be called neutral and allow any party to exploit that position," he said.
However, despite pressure from the West, Bern is not re-examining its neutral status or changing it. The only legal change they considered was an amendment to existing law that would allow third countries to re-export Swiss weapons and ammunition.
The Swiss parliament then debated a proposal earlier this month that would allow arms to be re-exported to Ukraine, but only if the suppliers were "like-minded", but the majority rejected the proposal, a vote that only confirmed how deep-rooted that tradition of neutrality is in that country.
Director of the Swiss Institute for Peace Research and Professor of political science at the University of Basel, Dr. Laurent Goetschel, points out that Switzerland will not reconsider its neutrality, adding that this is the attitude of all parties regardless of their orientation.
It is also reminiscent of the statement of Swiss President Alain Berset, who warned of "war madness", saying that Swiss weapons should not be used in war. "Pacifism is currently in a bad name, but warfare is not part of the Swiss DNA," he said.
However, four or five more legislative proposals are pending, including the so-called "Lex Ukraine" which would enable a one-time transfer of materials to Kyiv.
On the other hand, there is also the opinion that, when it comes to wars in poorer countries, Switzerland turns a blind eye to re-exporting its weapons, and now that Russia is involved, the discussion has become politicized.
It is recalled that Swiss weapons ended up in Afghanistan, and their "Sig Sauer 551" assault rifles are used by Saudi forces in Yemen, even against civilians. According to a research report, Swiss weapons have also been found in some of Russia's most advanced military systems.
All of this raises the question of whether the doctrine of neutrality is even sustainable anymore, concludes Foreign Policy, as reported by Jutarnji list.