Swiss boost UN observer mission in Western Sahara

Swiss military observers have been participating in UN missions for nearly 25 years VBS

Switzerland will send up to six unarmed military observers to join the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Western Sahara to reinforce its involvement in the region.

This content was published on August 20, 2014
Urs Geiser,

The defence ministry said the government on Wednesday decided to approve a request by the UN to contribute to an extended contingent of military personnel.

The unarmed experts are supervising the 1988 ceasefire agreement between Morocco and the Polisario Front group fighting for independence of Western Sahara.

Two Swiss mine clearing specialists have been working with the UN contingent since 2011. Up to 85 members of the Swiss Medical Unit also served in the region between 1991 to 1994, according to the ministry.

Efforts to organise a referendum on Western Sahara have stalled over disagreement on voter rights.

Switzerland has been taking part in military UN observers missions since 1990. Currently there are 26 military experts and staff officers stationed in the Middle East, Africa and south-east Asia.

Since 1999 it has also been involved in an international peace support mission in Kosovo. The 220 members of the Swiss army are volunteers and armed for self-defence. The mandate for the Swisscoy troops runs until 2017.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.