Swiss Federal Council
Statement on the Terrorist Attacks (excerpt)
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
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.