Швейцария сможет продать 25 танков ((Леопард)) Германии
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On Tuesday the House of Representatives followed the Senate and gave its greenlight to the operation. Germany has undertaken not to send the tanks to Ukraine.
The army will hand over the 25 tanks to their German manufacturer Rheinmetall to decommission them. They could be resold to other European countries, said Andrea Gmür-Schönenberger of the Centre Party.
German Ambassador Michael Flügger welcomed the decision, saying Germany was "happy and grateful".
He nonetheless reiterated Germany's criticism of the re-export ban on Swiss weapons. Germany had bought numerous weapons and components from Switzerland and it would like to pass some of these on to Ukraine.
"We understand that Swiss law does not currently allow these weapons to be passed on," he told Swiss public TV, SRF. However, the hope is that the relevant laws will be changed. Without a change, it would be "difficult to impossible" to continue to obtain weapons or ammunition from Switzerland in the future, he said.
+Swiss commission recommends selling 25 tanks back to Germany
The resale of the 25 Leopard tanks will not hinder the coverage of the needs of the Swiss army. Tanks cannot be sent to Ukraine, not even indirectly. Swiss neutrality is thus not engaged.“And we are thus strengthening cooperation with our partners as well as European defence,” said Gmür-Schönenberger.
The resale debate gave rise to a clash with right-wing senators. The Swiss People's Party tried to oppose it. According to the opinion of senior army officers, Switzerland already lacks tanks, said Werner Salzmann. The House of Representatives made its decision without being aware of the problem and foreign policy considerations should not take precedence in this matter, Salzmann said.
The army currently has 134 Leopard 2 tanks in service. The remaining 71 tanks placed in storage are sufficient for the Swiss army if necessary, insisted Defence Minister Viola Amherd.
The Radical-Liberal Party tried another approach. Parliamentarian Thierry Burkart proposed reactivating the remaining 71 tanks which are in storage, or replacing them with new systems by 2035.“We are thus giving a serious signal in favour of the defence of the country by taking into account the demands of the army,” he said.
“In our democracy, it is politics that must set its strategic objectives for the army, not the opposite,” said Charles Juillard, of the Centre Party. It is completely premature to make decisions based solely on army reports. The Senate voted in favour by 23 to 18, and 2 abstentions.
The Senate approved all military credits worth CHF1.9 billion planned for the arms programme, the real estate programme and the acquisition of equipment. The increase in the spending ceiling for 2021 to 2024 also passed easily. The envelope must increase from CHF21.1-21.7 billion.
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