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Army mobilises troops for Davos

The army will be supporting civilian authorities during the WEF summit in Davos Keystone

Up to 5,500 members of the Swiss armed forces are to be deployed next week in the resort of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum summit.

This content was published on January 18, 2005 - 15:49

Over 800 more soldiers than last year are being mobilised to help the civilian authorities maintain security at the event, which brings together government and business leaders.

Three and a half thousand militia soldiers will constitute a special land taskforce, while the rest of the troops are to be deployed for air defence.

Extra costs will total about SFr2.5 million ($2.12 million).

Army authorities said on Monday in Chur, canton Graubünden, that some military personnel were already on duty in Davos, ahead of the summit, which begins on Wednesday week.

Professionals

They added that only professional soldiers would be deployed in the key zone inside the alpine resort.

The majority of the troops will be on duty outside of this zone, with the aim of protecting transport infrastructure, the water supply, and electricity installations, as well as providing logistical support.

The army will not maintain law and order in Davos, which remains the sole responsibility of the police.

Recourse to weapons is also not on the cards, although it cannot be ruled out “for certain cases and after discussion with civilian partners”.

Air security

Air force personnel are scheduled to maintain airspace security, carry out reconnaissance missions on the ground, as well as perform air transport duties.

Around 2,000 members of the armed forces are to be involved in these operations, including 80 fighter and helicopter pilots.

Surveillance of the air space is to be carried out in close cooperation with Austria.

Unauthorised aircraft entering the exclusion zone around Davos could be shot down by the air force. However, this will only be carried out if approved by the defence minister, Samuel Schmid, or by his representatives.

Parliament approved in December the deployment of 6,500 military personnel to help security measures at this year’s WEF summit.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

A maximum of 5,500 army personnel are to be deployed at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.
3,500 will be in the land taskforce and 2,000 in the air taskforce.
The soldiers will mostly be doing their normal army refresher courses.
Extra costs are estimated at SFr2.5 million ($2.12 million).

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