Swiss army faces big cuts

17th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland plans to cut its army by a third by 2020, Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said Sunday.

Geneva -- Switzerland plans to cut its permanent army by a third by around 2020, Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said in an interview published Sunday.

"Today, we have 120,000 full-time soldiers and 80,000 reservists. In 10 to 12 years, the army will consist of 80,000 full-time and 40,000 reserve soldiers," Maurer told weekly newspaper SonntagsZeitung.

Cuts will also be made to heavy weapons, powerful guns and tanks in a bid to modernise the force, he said.

"Times have changed," Maurer said, adding that a war in Europe involving armoured vehicles was unlikely.

"Our army must become the most modern possible and be well-equipped and -trained," he said.

The defence minister, a member of the right-wing Swiss People's Party, added the reductions would begin around 2014 or 2015.

Switzerland has not been directly involved in an armed conflict since the 19th century.

AFP / Expatica

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