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Senate confirms military support for Davos

The cost of army support is estimated at SFr19.5 million Keystone

The Swiss army is to continue helping the police maintain security at the next two summits of the World Economic Forum in the Alpine resort of Davos.

This content was published on December 6, 2004 - 19:51

After last week’s approval by the Swiss House of Representatives, the Senate on Monday voted in favour of deploying a maximum of 6,500 military personnel.

Voting in the chamber, which represents the Swiss cantons, was 29 in favour and eight against.

Only the left was against the presence of the army at Davos, canton Graubünden, in 2005 and 2006.

Senator Michel Béguelin from the Social Democratic Party argued that since the Davos meeting was a private affair, the World Economic Forum should pay for the security measures itself.

Global dimension

But Theo Maissen, a Christian Democrat who represents canton Graubünden, countered that the Davos meeting had a global dimension and Switzerland should assume its responsibilities as the host country.

Both militia and professional soldiers will be asked to support the civilian authorities, after a request from canton Graubünden’s senate.

The army support role will extend from January 17 to 31, although the annual meeting itself runs only from January 26 to 30.

The defence minister, Samuel Schmid, said only a small number of the maximum 6,500 would actually be “at the front”.

About half would be responsible for controlling air space, while another large group would look after the transmission network.

On the financial front, the government will pay 80 per cent of the supplementary costs of ensuring security.

But this will be no more than SFr3 million ($2.64 million). Other costs will be borne by canton Graubünden and the defence ministry.

The total army costs are estimated at SFr19.5 million.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The WEF summit has taken place in Davos since 1971, except in 2002 when New York hosted the annual event.
Swiss troops have been deployed in and around Davos to bolster security since 1999.
The 2005 WEF summit takes place from January 26 to 30.

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In brief

The Senate on Monday voted by 29 votes to eight in favour of the Swiss army helping security operations at the WEF summit in Davos.

The House of Representatives approved the measure last Thursday by 109 votes to 45.

A maximum of 6,500 soldiers will be deployed at the Davos summit in 2005 and 2006.

In 2005, their support will last from January 17 - 31.

The 2005 annual meeting takes place from January 26 - 30.

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