Swiss security lock down ahead of Davos elites' meet

24th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland has mobilised up to 5,000 soldiers to secure the area around the Alpine town of Davos, where world political and economic leaders gather this week.

The Swiss Defence Ministry also ordered a lockdown of the airspace from Tuesday to the following Monday to ensure security for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum from January 26.

"In the surroundings of Davos, army soldiers are protecting infrastructure and providing services for logistics," said the ministry in a statement.

"The air force will also carry out surveillance flights and air transport," it added.

The security operation is being carried out in cooperation with the military in nearby Austria.

On Monday, soldiers were setting up wire barriers at key locations in the Alpine town, including in front of hotels where delegates are staying and where some conferences will be held.

Switzerland said that the military mobilisation, which happens every year, will cost 1.5 million francs (1.15 million euros, 1.56 million dollars).

Even though its is a private event organised by the WEF, a private club for the world's business elite, the Swiss government agrees to pay for the security operation because of the event's significance for "the international interests of Switzerland."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is due to deliver the opening speech late Wednesday, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are due to attend along with other world leaders including Presidents Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

© 2011 AFP

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