Swiss lawmakers vote down anti-piracy plan

25th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland will not send soldiers to EU anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast, after a parliamentarian vote Thursday.

Geneva -- Switzerland will stop a plan to send soldiers to the European Union anti-piracy naval operations off the Somali coast, after parliamentarians voted down the plan Thursday.

The Swiss government said in February that Switzerland would deploy 30 soldiers to the EU Mission NAVFOR Atalanta, but a majority of parliamentarians, including those from the far-right Swiss People's Party, blocked the project.

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said this decision would give Switzerland "an image of a state that shows no solidarity", and could affect the diplomatic activities of the country.

She added that as a country with a merchant fleet, Switzerland should not rely on others to fight piracy.

However, Swiss People's Party's parliamentarian Roland Borer said that the deployment would encounter legal difficulties.

Because Swiss soldiers would be aboard EU warships, it would be beyond their legal duty to fight on or defend the ships.

The EU's naval operations are expected to end 13 December 2010.

International navies have deployed dozens of warships around the Gulf of Aden since late 2008, in efforts to restrain attacks by pirates threatening the busy sea trade route.

AFP / Expatica

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