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Bern prepares for threat from Somali pirates

Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin says Switzerland is ready to send soldiers on board Swiss ships sailing in waters near Somalia to protect them from pirates.

Couchepin, who is this year's president, told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper that there was no other choice.

"There is no other solution than to send soldiers if our ships are threatened," he said.

Couchepin commented that such action was not an act of war but a policing operation with volunteers to protect Swiss ships.

However, he added that the legal, financial and practical consequences had to be studied.

Landlocked Switzerland has a merchant fleet of 35 ships (mainly container vessels) on the high seas.


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