The Swiss army has confirmed that is considering the acquisition of telecommunications systems from Israel worth SFr150 million ($127 million).This content was published on February 19, 2005 - 16:05
The purchase, if included in the 2005 procurement budget, would be the first since 2002 from Israeli companies.
"Equipment from Israeli sources is among the options we are considering at the moment," said defence ministry spokesman Martin Bühler, confirming a report in Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.
No decision has yet been reached. No details concerning the type of equipment being evaluated were given, although Switzerland bought Israeli surveillance equipment in the late 1990s.
According to Bühler, technical, financial and political factors still have to be considered, and only then will the government be asked for its approval. Parliament would have the final say.
Military cooperation between Israel and Switzerland was substantially reduced after Israeli forces reoccupied towns in the Palestinian territories in April 2002.
Since then, the defence ministry has considered any possible order for equipment from Israel on an individual basis, a situation which the Israelis say discriminates against the country's armament industry.
Israel has tried regularly to convince the Swiss to be more flexible about their purchases.
The issue was brought up earlier this month when Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey visited Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Calmy-Rey said at the time that the government was not considering changing its position.
In March last year, the House of Representatives rejected a motion demanding Switzerland refrain from any defence purchases from Israel, as well as an end to technical and military cooperation.
The defence minister, Samuel Schmid, has come out against a ban on acquiring Israeli systems, adding that no other European nation had gone down that path.
swissinfo with agencies
In 2004, Switzerland exported no military equipment to Israel according to government figures.
Parliament is still debating the army's 2004 procurement programme, worth SFr647 million.
The Senate and the House of Representatives cannot agree on the purchase of two transport aircraft, worth SFr109 million.
This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: email@example.com
In compliance with the JTI standards