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Protection of the Swiss embassy in Tripoli by the army – The Federal Council wishes to prolong the mandate – Dispatch to Parliament

By Switzerland - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Protection of the Swiss embassy in Tripoli by the army – The Federal Council wishes to prolong the mandate – Dispatch to Parliament
Protection of the Swiss embassy in Tripoli by the army – The Federal Council wishes to prolong the mandate – Dispatch to Parliament
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BERN, Switzerland, October 24, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- On Wednesday, 24 October 2012 the Federal Council approved the dispatch to Parliament on approval of the continued activity of the army to protect the Swiss embassy in Tripoli. The government believes that there are still real risks to which the staff of the diplomatic representation will be exposed in the coming months and that this justifies the prolongation of the provisions currently in place.

In a Federal Decree of 15 March 2012, the Federal Assembly approved the proposal by the Federal Council to mandate a detachment of the Army to protect the Swiss embassy in Tripoli. The troops concerned are members of the special forces - a reconnaissance detachment from the Army 10 and a special detachment of military police.

According to the second paragraph of the first article of the decree, the deployment of the army is limited to a six-month period. However the Federal Council is authorised to prolong the mandate without needing to request approval from the Federal Assembly by a further six months if the situation on the ground requires it. In fact it did this in July 2012 by prolonging the activity of the army's special forces from August 2012 to January 2013.

After analysing developments of the situation, the Federal Council believes that the staff of the embassy in Tripoli is exposed to real risks and that this is likely to continue for several months. It therefore believes that it is necessary to renew the mandate of the army special forces for a further period of six months from February 2013 to July 2013, renewable by the government if the situation requires. In its dispatch, the Federal Council requests a further authorisation by the Federal Assembly. If in the course of the first six months or the following six months it finds that the activity is no longer necessary, the government can interrupt it or end it.

The system of protection currently in the place has proved effective. It is regularly adapted to take account of changes of the situation. The activity of the army to protect the embassy is an appropriate and also an economical solution, as it means that there is no need to use the services of a private security company. Other countries that are exposed to a similar degree of risk to that of Switzerland are protected by their protection units, the size of which is similar to that of the Swiss detachment.

If the costs of salaries, which are paid by the defence ministry, are excluded, the expenditure connected with this activity will be the responsibility of the FDFA. For the first year of activity, this expenditure amounted to about CHF 990,000. For the new 12-month period (six-month periods that can be prolonged), the costs should also amount to about CHF1 million, provided that the number of people involved remains constant and there is no substantial unforeseen expenditure.