Defence minister backs army chief

Defence Minister Samuel Schmid said on Friday that he stands "totally" behind the beleaguered army chief, Roland Nef.

This content was published on July 18, 2008 - 17:42

Speaking at a news conference in Bern, Schmid described Nef as "loyal, honest and responsible."

Nef, who took up his position in January, came under pressure this week after press revelations he had been the subject of a criminal inquiry after his former partner accused him of coercion, and that the case had been settled after he paid her an undisclosed sum of money.

Schmid has admitted that he did not inform his cabinet colleagues of the case when he recommended Nef's appointment to them.

He told the conference that since he knew Nef would have to undergo a security check he had always had the situation "under control."

While recognising that the media have the duty to keep a close eye on public affairs, he said that some had gone too far in investigating Nef's private life.

There has been widespread criticism of both Nef and Schmid in recent days, with calls from some quarters for both of them to resign.

Schmid's explanations failed to satisfy many of his critics. Several leading politicians said they wanted the cabinet to re-examine Nef's appointment after the summer holiday.

However, the Swiss Officer's Society welcomed Schmid's backing for their chief.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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