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Ukraine crisis


Swiss stick to own foreign policy towards Moscow


By Urs Geiser



The government says it is tightening restrictions on the export of war materiel to Russia and Ukraine. It also plans to take additional measures to ensure that Switzerland is not used as a hub to sidestep sanctions put in place by the European Union.

However, cabinet stopped short of imposing sectoral sanctions in line with the EU.

The economics ministry has been asked to prepare a set of measures to be approved by the cabinet, according to a statement by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs following Wednesday’s regular cabinet meeting.

The restrictions on Swiss weapons exports to Russia and Ukraine are to be extended to include special goods, including products used for both military and civilian purposes.

Reports say the government may be trying to introduce a system of export caps, based on average figures over the past few years.

Similar measures were applied by Switzerland in the 1980s following United Nations economic sanctions against the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

Dialogue

The Swiss government again called on all sides in the conflict to prevent an escalation of violence in the region. It again condemned the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea peninsula by Russia in March.

Switzerland has banned new business transactions with some 20 companies and about 90 individuals, but it stopped short of joining the sanctions regime imposed by the EU and the United States.

Critics say the government is dragging its feet over sanctions in the financial and energy sector.

The government argues it has a special role as current head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

On Tuesday, the defence ministry announced it was cancelling the participation by Russian pilots and aircraft in the Air14 air show.

By Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch



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