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Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and historically has served as a neutral intermediary and host to major international treaty conferences.

The Swiss Constitution declares the preservation of Switzerland's independence and welfare as the supreme objective of Swiss foreign policy. Below this overarching goal, the Constitution sets five specific foreign policy objectives: further the peaceful coexistence of nations; promote respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; promote Swiss economic interests abroad; alleviate need and poverty in the world; and the preservation of natural resources.

Switzerland has a militia army with a small nucleus of about 4,200 professional staff and virtually no full-time active combat units but is capable of full mobilization within 72 hours. They are pursuing a reduction of the size of the military while maintaining a high quality of knowledge and equipment standards. Traditionally, Switzerland has avoided alliances which are bi-lateral in nature, however they contribute to U.N.-sanctioned missions within the construct of the NATO Partnership for Peace, and contribute significantly in places such as Bosnia and Kosovo. Switzerland has also offered to assist Libya with their transition and reconstruction efforts.

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