Swiss Federal Council
Statement on the Terrorist Attacks (excerpt)
Bern, Switzerland
September 21, 2001

In its meeting today, the Federal Council has considered the situation following the terrorist attacks in the USA. It reiterates its expression of sympathy for the victims of this disaster, and offers its condolences to their families, as well as its support to the many selfless helpers.

The Federal Council has taken note of the international efforts to bring together the largest possible number of states in a concerted effort to counter international terrorism. It reaffirms its strong determination to combat terrorism resolutely, and to co-operate closely with the international community in its efforts, in particular with the USA.

The Federal Council is convinced that international co-operation, including with the UN, should be accorded the highest importance in the fight against terrorism. The responsible federal and cantonal authorities are working in close co-operation and are in direct contact with their foreign counterparts.

The Federal Council will not tolerate abuse by terrorists of Switzerland's financial centre. In the fight against terrorism, Swiss banking secrecy can be lifted. It does not represent an obstacle to the prosecution of criminals or to international co-operation. A large number of police investigations are currently under way in the search for every possible trace of terrorist activity.

In the event of military strikes against terrorist targets, the Federal Council expects action to be measured and, above all, give due consideration to civilian populations. Military action must not lead to a spiral of violence. It believes that an effective campaign to counter terrorism requires a sustained effort to promote understanding between peoples and a reduction in economic disparities. Switzerland has always endorsed, and will continue to endorse this approach.