Swiss Parliament postpones debate on banning re-export of arms to third countries until May

Archive – Flag of Switzerland – RAMIL SITDIKOV / SPUTNIK / CONTACTOPHOTO

The Political and Security Committee of Switzerland’s upper house of parliament voted Wednesday to postpone until May debate on amending laws banning the re-export of military equipment, amid pressure from its partners to break with its historic neutrality in favor of Ukraine.

By seven votes in favor, four against and one abstention, the committee decided not to take up the issue again until a forthcoming session on May 11, when questions on the UN peace plan, international law and Swiss neutrality policy will be »clarified».

The commission believes that time should be taken to consult experts and clarify outstanding issues so that future decisions can be taken on a sound basis,» the Council of States committee explained in a statement.

On March 10, the government already ruled out changing its neutrality policy and thus indicated that it would not allow the transfer of Swiss-made armaments and war materiel to third countries, despite pressure from some of its partners, such as Spain, Denmark and Germany, in the context of the Russian invasion.

Two months earlier, two committees of the Swiss Federal Assembly had recommended that the government relax the legislation. However, following the March 10 meeting, the Government opted to maintain its commitment to the values represented by neutrality, clarifying that adhering to them does not amount to »indifference» to Russian aggression.

Switzerland has repeatedly and strongly condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, demanding the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine,» it said, while recalling that the country has joined all sanctions launched by the European Union.