Switzerland joins anti-piracy mission

26th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Swiss army will send troops to defend the Somali coast.

GENEVA - Switzerland will offer to send soldiers to take part in European Union anti-piracy naval operations off the Somali coast, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

"A participation of Switzerland on the EU Mission NAVFOR Atalanta will be limited to a military deployment for the protection of World Food Programme ships and can, if necessary, also extend to the protection of Swiss freight ships," said a statement from the ministry.

The deployment would involve up to 30 personnel, with an estimated cost of around CHF 9.8 million (USD 8.4 million).

"The assignment of the Swiss army covers merely the protection of ships and defence from attacks from pirates. A military offensive against pirates on land or in water that goes above the protection mandate of the military police, is ruled out," added the statement.

The offer still must be negotiated with the European Union, of which Switzerland is not a member. The country does not have warships.

After 165 attempted hijackings in 2008 in the region, more than a dozen countries deployed patrol ships to defend pirate attacks.

AFP / Expatica

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