"Intense" Libya diplomacy yields progress

A second round of talks between Switzerland and Libya has yielded progress in the diplomatic row between the countries, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

This content was published on August 5, 2008 - 20:02

Nevertheless, Libya continues to demand an apology for the July 15 arrest of Moammar Gaddafi's son Hannibal and his wife at a Geneva hotel, said foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Philippe Jeannerat.

He added that the North African state also wanted a timeline for Swiss authorities to drop legal proceedings against the pair, who were charged with inflicting physical injuries and using threats and force against two staff members.

Both denied the allegations and have since left Switzerland after having been released on SFr500,000 ($476,500) bail.

The latest diplomatic push was led by Deputy State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Pierre Helg and lasted from Monday to Saturday of last week. Switzerland's first mission to Tripoli in July returned empty-handed.

"The discussions were intense," Jeannerat said. Officials from both sides have outlined the issues to be resolved and Swiss diplomats hope to restore relations to pre-crisis levels, he added.

However, Libyan authorities were still not granting exit permits to Swiss citizens, Jeannerat said.

Last week, two Swiss nationals who were detained on July 19 on alleged immigration violations were released on bail by a Tripoli judge. The Opec member state had last week reportedly cut and then restored crude oil shipments to Switzerland.

The foreign ministry said it would provide another update on Friday.

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