Monday May 23, 2022

German conservative leader warns against Russian SWIFT suspension

Published : 17 Jan 2022, 01:29

  DF News Desk

Friedrich Merz. File Photo: Jonas Güttler/dpa.

The incoming leader of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Friedrich Merz, has warned against suspending Russia from the international banking payment system SWIFT, reported dpa.

"Calling SWIFT into question could be an atomic bomb for the capital markets and also for goods and services," he told dpa ahead of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock's scheduled visit to Ukraine and Russia on Monday and Tuesday. "We should leave SWIFT untouched," Merz urged.

"I would see massive economic setbacks for our own economies if something like that happens. It would hit Russia, but we would be damaging ourselves considerably," Merz warned.

He fears major repercussions not only for European-Russian trade in goods and services, but also for global trade. The suspension of Moscow "would basically break the back of international payment traffic," Merz said.

Baerbock plans to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev on Monday, before travelling to Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday.

Merz described Ukraine's request for arms deliveries amid a build-up of Russian forces on its border as legitimate. However, the new centre-left coalition under Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed reluctance over such a move.

"Just the deployment of troops on its eastern border poses a massive threat to the country, and in this respect I can understand the desire very well." However, the response should be European, he said.

"It is important that the European Union speaks with one voice here," the conservative lawmaker said, adding that before the German government made any commitments he wanted to know that there was a common European stance.

After being elected CDU chairperson-designate by the party membership in December, Merz is due to assume the leadership of Germany's biggest opposition party at a conference on January 22.