“Such a massive and brutal violation of international law as that committed by Russia must not be tolerated,” said the head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), after meetings with Biden government officials in the US capital. The Valaisanne ended a five-day working visit to the United States.
When it comes to fundamental principles such as freedom, democracy and the right to self-determination, Switzerland must work more closely with like-minded countries, Ms. Amherd added.
The head of the DDPS met with US Deputy Defense Minister Kathleen Hicks. They discussed the evolution of security in Europe following the invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russia.
No NATO membership
Asked by media representatives in Washington about Finland’s application for NATO membership, Amherd said that such a move by Switzerland was not on the agenda. It would be contrary to neutrality. However, she stressed that a neutral country has room for maneuver to strengthen its own defense through international cooperation.
Kathleen Hicks reaffirmed that the United States strongly supports the sale of 36 F-35A aircraft and five ground-based air defense systems to Switzerland.
The head of the DDPS also took advantage of her visit to Washington to visit the American arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The purchases of aircraft and defense systems generate compensatory business of 4.2 billion francs. “Switzerland must seize this opportunity to advance its technical know-how and its capacity for innovation,” said the Federal Councillor.
In order to make contacts, Viola Amherd took representatives of industry associations and companies to visit Lockheed Martin. According to her, the arms manufacturer is already investing in Swiss companies, even if the contract has not yet been signed.
The Federal Councilor and Kathleen Hicks also discussed military efforts to combat climate change, initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion in the military, as well as ways to improve cyber defense.