During a five-day visit to Washington, Viola Amherd, Switzerland’s defence minister, said that the war in Ukraine shows that Switzerland must strengthen its international cooperation including its cooperation with the US, reported RTS.
Serious, brutal violations of international law such as the one committed by Russia must not be tolerated, said the minister after meetings with representatives of the Biden administration in the American capital. When fundamental principles such as liberty, democracy and the right to self determination are violated, Switzerland must work more closely with nations that share the same principles, she added.
Amherd met with US vice-minister of defence Dr. Kathleen Hicks and discussed the evolution of security in Europe following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Dr. Hicks said that “we agreed to deepen cooperation on cyber security, discussed increasing the numbers of women in the military services, national security concerns caused by climate change and U.S. support for F-35 acquisition.”
Switzerland plans to buy 36 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, something Kathleen Hicks voiced firm support for during the visit. The deal, which includes defence systems, would cost Switzerland CHF 4.2 billion. Switzerland’s defence minister visited the US arms maker Lockheed Martin during her stay in the US. Amherd said that Switzerland must seize this opportunity to advance its technical knowhow and capacity to innovate.
When asked by the media in Washington about requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO, Amherd said that no such move was on the agenda for Switzerland because it was contrary to neutrality. However, neutral countries have room for manoeuvre to strengthen their own defence via international cooperation, she said.