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Leak shows lean towards army shake-up

A leaked government discussion paper says Switzerland's army should stop preparing for a foreign attack and concentrate on internal security operations.

This content was published on May 6, 2010 - 20:22

The proposal, which said "the core purpose of the army is not the ability to conduct a war”, was obtained by the Swiss weekly magazine Weltwoche and published on its website.

A defence ministry spokesman confirmed that the document was produced by defence officials for discussion at a regular government meeting on Friday, but said he could not comment on a leak.

It also includes cutting funds for new weapons systems and reducing the size of the army.

The army should do more to provide security inside Switzerland, such as at events like the 2008 European football championship, assist in humanitarian operations abroad and help monitor Swiss airspace.

The leak follows the approval last month of a defence ministry report detailing Swiss security policy and the future of the country’s army. It is undergoing hearings and consultations with interested parties, before being submitted to parliament this summer.

Switzerland has one of Europe's largest armies but has not taken part in a foreign war since 1815.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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