Switzerland may authorize the re-export of Swiss-made arms to Ukraine

January 25,2023 514
Switzerland may authorize the re-export of Swiss-made arms to Ukraine

The Security Policy Committee of the National Council, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, adopted a motion and a parliamentary committee initiative to clear the way for the re-export of Swiss-made arms to Ukraine, according to a press release on the Swiss Parliament website.

The motion suggests an amendment that would allow third countries to revoke their declaration of non-re-export of war material produced in Switzerland “in the event of a violation of the international prohibition on the use of force, and specifically in the case of the Russian-Ukrainian war.”

“The motion (23.3005) asks for the modification of article 18 of the federal law on war material (LFMG) so that the Federal Council [the Government of Switzerland] can repeal the declaration of non-re-export signed by the countries having purchased Swiss war material in cases which the United Nations Security Council has declared, in a resolution, to be contrary to the prohibition of the use of force provided for by international law. The declaration of non-re-export could also be revoked if the United Nations General Assembly finds, with a two-thirds majority, a violation of the international ban on the use of force. The Federal Council could maintain the ban on re-export if an overriding foreign policy interest of Switzerland were affected by a repeal,” the press release reads.

The parliamentary initiative (23.401) more specifically proposes to amend the same article of LFMG to “invalidate declarations of non-re-export if it is established that the re-export of war material to Ukraine is linked to the Russian-Ukrainian war. This amendment should be declared urgent and remain in force until December 31, 2025”.

“The majority of the committee believes that Switzerland must make its contribution to European security, which means providing greater aid to Ukraine. It is also of the opinion that the proposed amendments respect the law of neutrality since they will not allow the direct export of war material to conflict zones, but only concern declarations of non-re-export signed by the purchasing countries of Swiss war material,” stated in the press release.

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