A secret group was supposed to make counter-deals with the lesser manufacturing nations. It was Defense Minister Viola Amherd who gave the green light. At the time the technical evaluation of the types of combat aircraft on display was completed.
In the spring of last year, shortly before the end of the technical evaluation of a new combat aircraft for the Swiss Army, something amazing happened at the Federal Palace. The Security Committee of the Federal Council (SiA) met there on March 15, chaired by Defense Minister Viola Amherd. Also represented: Attorney General Karen Keeler-Sutter and Secretary of State Ignacio Cassis. The secretariats of the three departments participated in the meeting, which is unusual. That is why the commission called itself “SiA-special.”
“SiA-special” made a surprising decision, research by Swiss SRF radio shows: Although the technical evaluation of the combat aircraft has been practically completed after nearly three years and the US F-35A is swaying away, the “SiA-special” is making a surprising decision. All administrations evaluate “political counter-deals” with the submitting countries – with the United States, France, Germany and Great Britain. According to the motto: Tell us what else you can give us if we buy fighter planes from you for six billion francs.
Viola Amherd, head of VBS, who maintains to this day that no “counter-political deals” should be struck once a candidate is clearly ahead of the assessment, helped kick-start negotiations on such deals herself. By the time the Federal Arms Office (Armasuisse) should have already known that the F-35A would win the race by a large margin.
Negotiations progressed with France
A secret working group was formed to coordinate the delicate negotiations – chaired by Secretary of State Livia Liu of the State Department. The collection was first class: there was the Secretary of State for International Finance, Daniela Stoffel. Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Mary Gabriel Ignition Fleisch. And sometimes also Gabriel Lochinger, personal assistant to then-federal president Guy Parmelin. And Palvi Polley, Head of Security Policy at Viola Amherd’s Department!
The DDPS confirms to SRF radio that the working group exists and continues to write: “The Head of Security Policy reported to the DDPS Head of the results of the meetings in this working group.”
There should be a lot to report. Negotiations were particularly intense with France and culminated on June 23 – a week before the Federal Council’s decision on the selection of the new combat aircraft – in a request by the Paris Federal Council that it now also guarantee a “political counter-deal” in writing.
DDBS denies Amherd’s involvement
But how did Federal Chancellor Amherd deal with her allegations against federal advisors Ueli Maurer and Ignazio Cassis? According to their account in June, they were said to have continued negotiating with France behind their back. This is despite the fact that they were informed by early June at the latest that the American F-35A was clearly the best-rated.
The DDPS insists to SRF radio that Federal Chancellor Amherd knows nothing about the ongoing negotiations with Paris. Nor did Seybol’s chief of security policy, Balvi Poli. Because the secret working group met for the last time at the beginning of May, the DDPS asserts: “We cannot comment on communications from other departments with France. President Seybol was certainly not involved or aware of such communications ».
The Emirates Diving Association denies the existence of a private group
It remains a mystery why Balvi Poli knew nothing of the negotiations with France. And another strange thing. The State Department, whose Secretary of State Livia Liu headed the secret working group, responded to a request from SRF Radio with a surprising claim: “There was no group headed by Secretary of State Livia had it dealt with foreign policy aspects of the procurement of combat aircraft . . . “
Hence, the State Department denies the existence of the classified working group, which was confirmed by the Department of Defense and two independent sources to SRF Radio.
The National Assembly’s Audit Committee (GPK-N), which is considering the purchase of combat aircraft, still has a few things to clear before the National Assembly makes a decision on a $6 billion loan for the new fighter jet in September.
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