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OSCE Vienna Document contact event jointly hosted by Switzerland and Austria

As a participating states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and based on the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, Switzerland and Austria are jointly hosting a contact event from 16 to 21 September. This contributes to the implementation of regional measures and furthermore strengthens the tight bilateral contacts and good cooperation of the neighbouring states. Up to 48 military representatives from the various OSCE participating states will attend, along with representatives of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Center and other international organisations. The event will start on 16 September in Linz, Austria. The Swiss part of the contact event will follow from 17 to 19 September in the South-Eastern and Central areas of Switzerland. The closing events will take place in Austria on the 20 September.

11.09.2019 | D IS, Matthias Erny


As participating state of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Switzerland is required under the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures (VD11) to invite international military representatives for a contact event every five years. These events include a visit to an active military air base, a military facility or unit and, if applicable, the demonstration of newly introduced major weapon systems or equipment.

The Swiss part of the contact event will take place from Tuesday 17 September until Thursday 19 September. It will include a tour of the military tank firing ranges at Hinterrhein, Canton of Graubünden, and Wichlen in the Canton of Glarus. The following day there will be a demonstration of the new armoured vehicle-launched bridge system in Thun (Bern) in cooperation with the German forces. The Swiss programme will close with a visit to the Payerne air base in the Canton of Vaud.

Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBM)

The VD 11 requires from the participating states of the OSCE to regularly exchange information about their armed forces. This also includes inspection and evaluation visit on site according to the received information. On the operational side, the Swiss Armed Forces is in charge of implementing the CSBM under VD 11. It is in charge of the organisation and implementation of evaluation and inspection visits, if need be of observations, as well as contact events in Switzerland and also handles these CSBM activities outside Swiss territory.

A contribution to crisis prevention, security and stability in Europe

The OSCE is the only regional security policy organization to which Switzerland is a participating state. As a small neutral state, Switzerland can put forward its foreign and security policy interests, such as the upholding of international law and human rights, peaceful conflict prevention, arms control and security cooperation.

The hosting of the contact event provides Switzerland with a good platform to demonstrate to other OSCE participating states the concepts of Swiss neutrality, the quality and efficiency of the conscription system as well as the concept of traditional territorial defense. The contact event is closely linked to the political-military dimension of the OSCE: transparency and confidence-building measures enable crisis prevention, security and stability in Europe. The correct and extensive implementation of responsibilities ultimately strengthens the Swiss credibility in international negotiations. This in turn enables Switzerland to make substantial contributions, to promote issues of national significance, and thereby to uphold the interests of the DDPS and the Swiss Armed Forces.

Currently, the preparations for the contact event 2019 are in full swing. Along with the communication and coordination with Austria and Germany, there is an excellent joint collaboration between the air force, the armed forces and the many civil contact points to manage both the content and the logistical aspects of the event. The professional military personnel benefit from the support of 11 Swiss conscription soldiers in the preparations of the contact event.