Selling out Swiss Neutrality at the WEF – there is a need for resistance

by Dr iur. Marianne Wüthrich

“Switzerland wants to hold Ukraine peace summit” (SRF News), “Switzerland wants to win over China for peace summit” (“Tages-Anzeiger”), “Ukrainian peace summit. ‘It was quite a coup that this agreement was reached in Switzerland’” (Welt online) – this is how the media at home and abroad announced the alleged good news on 15/16 January. Anyone hoping that in a world of wars and humanitarian disasters this would mean the Federal Council returning to the task of neutral Switzerland is sadly mistaken.
  In fact, the “peace summit” was not even slightly what it claimed to be. On the eve of the WEF, on 14 January 2024, the Federal Council organised a meeting in Davos “within the framework of the Ukrainian peace formula”, at which Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis and the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, discussed “principles for a lasting and just peace in Ukraine” with around 80 “national security advisors”. This was the fourth “peace formula” meeting since June 2023.1 By the way, the number of 80 is misleading: it is not 80 states that support the Western agenda, since the meeting was also attended by diplomats from India, Brazil and other states in the Global South, who merely wanted to be informed rather than being part of the Western narrative.

‘Peace formula’ from Kiev

The formula consists of ten points and reads like a victor’s dictate to the loser.2 Unconditional surrender is what they call it – rather unrealistic in view of the fact that the Ukrainian army is less and less a threat to the Russians. And furthermore, in view of knowing that Ukraine would quickly go bankrupt if it were to be cut off from the drip feed of the USA and its networks. The ten points include the complete evacuation of the territories “occupied” by Russia (“occupied” at the request of the respective population, mw), the “complete withdrawal of all Russian troops”, a war tribunal and reparation payments at Russia’s expense, the integration of Ukraine “into the transatlantic security structures of NATO” and finally a “peace treaty” that would contain all the points mentioned here and a few more – as I said, an unconditional surrender by Russia.
  The Russian government was neither invited to the “peace summit” nor was it keen to dance along with the “geopolitical peacocks” at the “carnival” in Davos. Russian journalist Elena Karayeva comments: “In the Davos carnival club […] what is happening now is called the ‘peace conference on Ukraine’. Orwell would be green with envy. The proxy war unleashed by those who want to lead the discussion is now called ‘security guarantees for Kiev’. Almost two years ago, Moscow tried to obtain real security guarantees, but our voice wouldn’t be heard.”3

Media conference: 1.5 billion francs
of taxpayers’ money for ‘reconstruction’

At the media conference the day after the summit, Swiss President Viola Amherd announced that Switzerland was ready to organise a peace conference with a “special focus on reconstruction”, for which she had “allocated” CHF 1.5 billion over the next four years.4 This without asking Swiss taxpayers! Having just been appointed President of the Swiss Confederation, Viola Amherd was visibly enjoying herself. What Zelensky said at the conference was not available to listeners unfamiliar with Ukrainian, as the translation on SRF News did not work.
  However, there were three revealing questions from the media representatives. The first question was about Zelensky’s financial expectations (his main interest, as we know): Many schools and hospitals were destroyed, he said, but – and this is remarkable – the electricity infrastructure was less affected this winter than last year. Do you remember? At that time, it was mainly the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, occupied by the Russians, that was shelled – they would hardly have shelled themselves. The second question (Reuters) was about the planned peace conference: “Should China and Russia be involved?” Zelensky’s answer: “We are open to all countries that recognise our territorial conditions.” Note: So, the participation of the two major powers in the East is rather unlikely. Third question (“Neue Zürcher Zeitung”): “What role can China play?” Zelensky’s answer: “China is important, we would like it to join our peace formula. But our wishes are not the only thing that matters. All civilised countries will take part in this peace summit.”
  Does Kiev, London and Washington consider China to be a “civilised country”? In any case, the obedient Federal Councillor Cassis is getting ready “according to well-informed sources” to take the road to Beijing (“Tages-Anzeiger” of 15 January 2024). I wonder if he really wants to try to get China on Nato’s side? That will be rather tricky.

‘WEF becomes a propaganda tool of the West:
Switzerland loses neutrality’

This is the title of an article by “Russian Market” in RT DE on 13 January 2024.5 The author unfortunately describes Switzerland’s political coordinates correctly, namely as partly imposed from outside, but also partly self-imposed: “In the midst of a paradigm shift in global diplomacy, Switzerland is noticeably retreating due to self-imposed EU and US sanctions. These decisions not only affect its neutral position, but also lead to a significant change in international perception. The former haven of diplomatic serenity is now in a phase of fading out.” Instead of Switzerland, Middle Eastern diplomats are now conducting negotiations, often successfully. The “peace formula meeting”, at which Russia is not welcome, is “another example of Switzerland’s dwindling neutrality.” Market concludes: “These days, Switzerland is not only experiencing the lowest temperatures of this winter, but also a frosty phase with regard to its traditional neutrality. Switzerland’s former mediation successes are fading and its role as a neutral platform for negotiations is faltering.”
  It is sad to read this assessment from Russia, but unfortunately it is confirmed by the constant attacks on Switzerland’s neutrality from transatlantic Swiss writing rooms: “[...] neutrality will only not degenerate into an empty formula in today’s world if it is used to serve Switzerland’s interests as a country open to the world. [...] It is therefore in its own interest that Switzerland supports the demands made in the Ukrainians’ so-called peace formula [...] – even if this means taking sides with Ukraine (and with European freedom).”6

President Vladimir Putin
debunks the ‘peace formula’

At least both the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” and Federal Councillor Cassis have realised that ultimately there can be no peace conference without Russia: Editor Fischer: “But Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis was also right when he emphasised in Davos that ultimately a peace agreement is only possible with Russia and that a peace conference must include Moscow and its supporters.” President Vladimir Putin has already made it clear what he thinks of the Davos peace theatre and what is at stake: the so-called peace formula of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is nothing more than a continuation of the “ban” on negotiations with Russia. The core of the peace formula is the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. Nobody can force Russia to give up the territories it has conquered so far, Putin said. “Everyone understands that this is not possible.” Putin stated that “the initiative on the battlefield [was] entirely in the hands of the Russian armed forces” and urgently warned Ukraine “against ending its existence as a state”. According to Putin, the conflict could have ended a year and a half ago if Ukraine had implemented the agreements reached during the negotiations in Istanbul. However, the “fools” in Kiev, controlled by the West, would then have decided to continue fighting.7
  So why not consider resuming the relationship with Russia that the Federal Council severed under pressure from the US/UK? However, this would require some effort on Switzerland’s part.

Back to our roots: a credible
policy of neutrality for peace

Finally, a word from the appeal “Left and Greens say yes to the neutrality initiative” – to the Federal Council and media editors in the notebook: “We advocate for an open and multicultural Switzerland. Paragraph 4 of the initiative calls for Switzerland to actively contribute to preventing and mediating conflicts in the future. Our country will not take sides in international conflicts but will unequivocally offer itself as a platform for negotiations to any state of the international community. As a meeting place for diverse cultures and worldviews, Switzerland can promote peace in the world. Our neutrality policy must also be credible towards countries of the Global South and those without Western-oriented democratic systems.”  •

1 “Peace formula: National Security Advisors discuss principles for lasting peace in Ukraine in Davos”. Federal Council press release of 15 January 2024
2 Fischer, Peter. “
Ukraine-Konferenz in Davos: Das ist der Zehn-Punkte-Plan von Wolodimir Selenski (Ukraine conference in Davos: This is Volodymyr Zelensky’s ten-point plan)”. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of 14 January 2024
3 Karayeva, Elena. “
Davos ist nicht wie früher: Die geopolitischen Pfaue haben den Kampf verloren (Davos is not like before: The geopolitical peacocks have lost the battle)”. In: RT DE of 15 January 2024
4 “Media conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd”. SRF News special of 15 January 2024. Editor: Beat Giger
6 Fischer, Peter A. “
Selenski am WEF: Es ist richtig, dass sich die Schweiz exponiert (Zelensky at the WEF: Switzerland is right to expose itself)”. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of 15 January 2024
7 “Gegenoffensive sei gescheitert. Putin prophezeit ‹irreparablen Schlag› für Ukraine (Counter-offensive has failed. Putin predicts ‘irreparable blow’ for Ukraine)”. of 16 January 2024

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