Head of the Armed Forces to welcome NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe on a working visit
Bern, 10.02.2023 - On 9 February 2023, General Christopher G. Cavoli, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), paid a working visit to the Swiss Armed Forces. Talks held with Armed Forces chief Lieutenant General Thomas Süssli focused on intensifying cooperation with NATO. There was also a meeting with the Head of Security Policy in DDPS, Ambassador Pälvi Pulli.
During the visit, Lieutenant General Süssli and General Cavoli discussed a range of topics, including the situation in Ukraine and the impact of the war on Europe and NATO. They also discussed the new strategic concept adopted by NATO at its summit in Madrid at the end of June 2022, which attaches great importance to cooperation and dialogue with partner countries such as Switzerland.
Cooperation increases defence capability
In its supplementary report to the 2021 Security Policy Report from September 2022, the Federal Council outlined its intention to strengthen international cooperation with partner organisations, in particular with NATO and its member states, while maintaining Switzerland’s legal obligations as a neutral country. Contributions to European security and deeper cooperation will increase the defence capability of the Armed Forces and thus strengthen Switzerland's security. Switzerland has participated in NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) since 1996. Within this framework, the Armed Forces have improved their interoperability with NATO.
Concrete possibilities currently under discussion include the secondment of Swiss staff and liaison officers to the NATO command structure and expanded participation in NATO Centres of Excellence (CoEs). Switzerland has already been engaged in the Cooperative Cyber Defence CoE in Tallinn, Estonia, since summer 2021. Lieutenant General Süssli and General Cavoli also discussed the possibility of Swiss troops participating in multinational exercises.
Swisscoy troops have been contributing to the UN-mandated, NATO-led peacekeeping mission KFOR (Kosovo Force) in Kosovo since 1999. Switzerland also runs numerous international military training courses, including the use of simulators by PfP partner nations.
Strengthening bilateral cooperation
In addition to his NATO role, General Cavoli is Commander of the United States European Command (USEUCOM). During his visit, ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation were also addressed. The basis for this cooperation is a training agreement that Switzerland concluded with the US in May 2020.
During his visit to Switzerland, the SACEUR also met Ambassador Pälvi Pulli, Head of Security Policy in DDPS, to discuss current developments, the importance of expanding cooperation at the security policy level, and specific ways and options to do so.
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