Swiss Defence Minister Ueli Maurer has criticised the allies’ air raids on Libya, calling the move “a fire drill”.
In comments appearing in Friday’s Tages-Anzeiger and Der Bund newspapers, Maurer said the goal of protecting civilians could not be realised with air strikes alone.
His views come as raids on Libya to enforce a United Nations resolution to protect civilians continued for a sixth night. It has been announced that Nato will take command of the Libya no-fly zone.
“Ground military action would go further but the UN does not want to intervene here,” Maurer said.
Asked whether he thought the coalition’s course of action was right, Maurer said that as a member of the cabinet he supported the UN sanctions. But he added that, as his rightwing Swiss People’s Party has urged, Switzerland should remain neutral.
“The discussions within Nato and among our neighbours also show that the Libya issue can be judged very differently,” he said.