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Swiss army chief warns of terrorism and unrest

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Photo:www.he.admin.ch
10:25 CET+01:00
The head of the Swiss Armed Forces, André Blattmann, has warned against cutbacks in the military amid a heightened threat of terrorism around the world.

In a commentary in the “Schweiz am Sonntag” newspaper, the Lieutenant General said the world needed security – in areas including the economy, education, sport, research and even culture.

Speaking on the record for the first time since the November Paris terror attacks, Blattmann told the paper that despite a rise in security incidents over the past two years Switzerland's means of defence were being reduced.

“Even if we are not (yet) directly affected by the conflicts taking place around the world we are already experiencing some impact,” the army chief said.

“The threat of terror is rising, hybrid wars are being fought around the globe; the economic outlook is gloomy and the resulting migration flows of displaced persons and refugees have assumed unforeseen dimensions.”

Blattmann warned that another risk was that a weakened economy would increase competition on the labour market.

“Social unrest cannot be rule out; the language is becoming dangerously aggressive,” he said.

The Swiss army chief said he believed the basis of Switzerland's prosperity was at risk.

Reflecting on the Second World War he said waiting for disaster to strike was not a good plan.

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Blattmann will have a new boss from January. The Swiss ministry of defence will be led by the new member of the federal government, Guy Parmelin.

Current defence minister Ueli Maurer will take over the vacant finance portfolio.

 

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