On June 26, Switzerland’s Directorate of Political Affairs at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) issued a ban on services provided by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“The Directorate of Political Affairs has reviewed the services supplied by Pilatus Aircraft in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, which include technical support, replacement parts management and rectifying faults affecting the Pilatus PC-21 aircraft. These services qualify as logistical support for armed forces and must therefore be declared in accordance with the Federal Act on Private Security Services Provided Abroad (PSSA).
Having investigated the matter carefully, the Directorate of Political Affairs has concluded that support services supplied by Pilatus Aircraft to the armed forces of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are in breach of Article 1 para b of the PSSA, as they are incompatible with the federal government’s foreign policy objectives. The FDFA has therefore called for these services to be discontinued.
Pilatus Aircraft now has 90 days to pull out of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. However, the FDFA saw no grounds for prohibiting the company’s activities in the service of the armed forces in Qatar and Jordan,” the FDFA said.
The Swiss Foreign Ministry said it had gathered “sufficient evidence” that Pilatus failed to declare activities backing foreign militaries, as required by Swiss law. The ministry has reported the shortcomings to the nation’s attorney general for further investigation.
In 2017, Pilatus signed a contract with Saudi Arabia to support a fleet of PC-21 turboprop planes operated by the Royal Saudi Air Force. Earlier, the company delivered 55 PC-21 planes to Saudi Arabia and 25 more to the UAE. These armed planes were later used by the Saudi-led coalition to strike targets in Yemen and support its proxies combating the local forces resisting to the invasion: Ansar Allah (the Houthis) and detachments of the Yemeni Armed Forces loyal to the Sanaa-based Yemeni government.
By the decision to ban Pilatus from supporting the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the Swiss government demonstrated that it sees the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen as an illegal act. In fact, actions of the Saudi-led coalition in the country caused a broad humanitarian crisis and thousands civilian casualties.