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Army could be cut by a third

The Swiss Army could be slashed by at least a third over the next ten to 12 years, Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said in an interview published on Sunday.

This content was published on August 16, 2009 - 11:21

In a break from the Swiss People's Party traditional platform, Maurer, a member of the rightwing party, also said the defence ministry was prepared to send the army abroad on humanitarian missions.

In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, Maurer said no reductions would occur for five or six years.

Ranks could be culled from 120,000 soldiers today to 80,000 over the next decade, Maurer said. Reservists would go from 80,000 soldiers today to 40,000.

Heavy weapons divisions would probably bear the brunt of the downsizing. Maurer said a mechanised war with equipment like tanks now seems unlikely in Europe.

Maurer also said the army should reserve the right to revoke a weapon from a soldier who has a criminal background.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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