by Dr iur. Marianne Wüthrich
The Offices of the National Council and the Council of States have approved a request by Ukraine to broadcast a video presentation by President Zelensky in the Swiss Parliament during the summer session. This invitation of a warring party is a blatant violation of neutrality, all the more so as another decision on the re-export of Swiss weapons to the Ukrainian battlefield is pending in this session.
What a crime to shower the bleeding Ukrainian people with more and more tons and tons of weapons! Neutral Switzerland must not participate in this. Our representatives should beware of driving our country deeper into the vortex into which Washington, London and Brussels want to drag us. Let us return to the Swiss values associated with the maxim of neutrality: Humanitarian aid, Good Offices, unconditional human and financial support for the ICRC, which is anchored in Switzerland. In order to be able to provide its indispensable assistance to the suffering people on both sides of the front in all wars of this world, the Red Cross depends on the protection of Swiss neutrality.
Objection against act
of parliament contrary to neutrality
From the media release of the Offices of the National Council and Council of States of 5 May 2023: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the Swiss Parliament in a video message during the summer session. The Offices of the National Council and Council of States have approved a corresponding request from Ukraine.”1
National Councillor Thomas Aeschi, who as President of the SVP parliamentary group is also a member of the Office, objected to this act, which is contrary to neutrality. He published his protest in a tweet: “I object to the Ukrainian president giving a video address in the National Council chamber (I made this request in the Office). Ukraine is trying to directly influence the parliamentary decision regarding arms/ammunition deliveries. Our neutrality is being violated!” (Thomas Aeschi@thomas_aeschi) National Councillor Aeschi is a member of the initiative committee of the “neutrality initiative” for which signatures are currently being collected in Switzerland.
The Russian news agency TASS picked up on the parliamentary decision and the objection by National Councillor Thomas Aeschi on 6 May under the title “Zelensky’s speech in the Swiss parliament violates the country’s neutrality”. It is good that Russian TV viewers are learning that not all Swiss want to deviate from the path of neutrality.
“We are losing the last fragile remnants
of our already trampled neutrality”
Another member of the initiative committee who protested against the Office decision is Stefan Millius, journalist and author from Appenzell. On his blog he writes: “[…] it contradicts everything that should be sacred to Switzerland. A video call by Ukrainian President Zelensky directly into the National Council chamber is an absolute outrage. And parliamentarians who allow or watch this are out of place.”
Millius continues, “We all think war is terrible. We all want it to stop. [...] But this is not about Russia or Ukraine. This is about Switzerland. About its values, about its position. If you broadcast the speech of a president of a country that is a war party – under whatever conditions – in the Parliamant Building in front of our parliamentarians, we too become a war party. We lose the last fragile remnants of our neutrality, which has already been trampled underfoot. It is as simple as that. It’s child’s play to understand.”2
SPC of the Council of States
wants to give Swiss neutrality the rest
Meanwhile, the Security Policy Committee of the Council of States (SPC-S) is preparing the ground for the final abandonment of our neutrality. At its meeting on 11 May, it approved by a majority the most adventurous variants of legislative amendments. In a nutshell, the Committee is proposing several initiatives to the Council of States in the coming summer session (from 30 May) to wave through the transfer of weapons purchased in Switzerland by NATO member states.3 All of them violate neutrality! Moreover, some of them blatantly violate the principles of the rule of law (prohibition of retroactivity4) or simply rewrite the UN Charter: According to the SPC-S, a veto in the Security Council can be overruled by a two-thirds majority of the UN General Assembly. It is particularly disturbing that the Committee simply ignores the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council of 3 April 2023. By 33 votes to 13 with one abstention, this resolution calls for the lifting of unilateral coercive measures that violate international law, i.e., all sanctions without a UN Security Council resolution.5
With its drafts that are contrary to international law and neutrality, the Committee is taking kowtowing to Washington and Brussels to the extreme. It is already clear that the small state of Switzerland is in a difficult position when the hyenas from all sides are baring their teeth to save the hegemon’s “rules-based order” from ruin. The situation of our ancestors during the Second World War was even more precarious, but they were determined to preserve neutrality as best they could. And they did so. Today, too, the Swiss people are challenged: We must “a d’Säck” (get to work)! •
1 The Offices of the National Council and the Council of States consist of the presidium, the tellers and representatives of the parties (parliamentary groups) of the respective councils. They are responsible for organising the work of parliament and draw up the programme of the session.
3 Security Policy Committee of the Council of States (SPC-S). Point de Presse of 11 May 2023
4 “Non-re-export declarations shall be deemed to be cancelled if they have been signed more than five years before the entry into force of this amendment by countries of Annex 2 [EU-Nato states plus associated countries] of the War Material Ordinance and fulfil the above conditions.”
5 see Current Concerns of 9 May 2023 (https://www.zeit-fragen.ch/en/archives/2023/nr-9/10-2-mai-2023/un-menschenrechtsrat-fordert-abschaffung-einseitiger-sanktionen)
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