Switzerland is facing a diplomatic dilemma over its decision not to go along with international sanctions against Russia, imposed by the European Union and the United States in response to the crisis in Ukraine.
Neutral, and not a member of the EU, Switzerland has chosen instead to ban the export of military equipment to both Russia and Ukraine, and says it intends to make sure financial sanctions imposed by the EU and the US cannot be broken in Switzerland.
The Swiss government says it is especially important to preserve neutrality amid the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, because Switzerland currently chairs the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and has offered its services as a peace negotiator between the two countries.
But some EU members have suggested the Swiss position is motivated more by self-interest, pointing to the fact that Switzerland did not adopt sanctions against apartheid South Africa – a move thought to have brought big financial gains to Swiss banks.
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