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Swiss to vote on arming peacekeepers

Voters are to decide in July whether Swiss troops should be able to carry weapons on peacekeeping missions abroad. The announcement comes after groups opposed to the measure gained enough public support to challenge the government's plan.

The government announced on Thursday that a referendum would take place on July 10, after two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) collected enough signatures to force a nationwide vote on the issue.

The NGOs involved were the Campaign for an Independent and Neutral Switzerland (CINS), and the Group for a Switzerland without an Army (GSoA).

The GSoA also collected enough signatures - 66,932 - to push through a referendum challenging the government's plans to allow Swiss troops to be trained on foreign soil, and foreign soldiers to be trained in Switzerland.

The Swiss constitution stipulates that any citizen can force a referendum by collecting 50,000 signatures.

swissinfo with agencies


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