Expatica news

Swiss ready to send troops to fight Somali pirates

GENEVA – Switzerland is ready to deploy military personnel to defend its merchant ships from pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa, Swiss President Pascal Couchepin said in remarks published Sunday.

"There is no formal decision, but the position of the government is clear – we are in principle ready to send Swiss soldiers to Somalia," Couchepin told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

Without detailing the scope and scale of such an operation, the president said: "There is no solution other than to send some soldiers when our ships are threatened."

The government now is clarifying "what juridicial, financial and practical consequences" such an action would take, he added.

Five days ago the UN Security Council authorised co-operating nations to act inside Somalia to combat piracy, following more than 120 attacks by Somali pirates on shipping in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean this year.

Landlocked Switzerland has an ocean-going merchant fleet comprising more than 30 privately-operated tankers, container ships and bulk cargo veseels, flying the Swiss flag in international waters.

[AFP / Expatica]