The Swiss-Swedish technology concern, ABB, has issued an urgent appeal for the release of the two Swiss hostages in Libya – one of whom is an ABB employee.
CEO Joe Hogan said on the company's website that "ABB is very disturbed that it has not heard from [Max] Göldi or received any sign of life for five weeks".
The statement comes a day after a 60-day deadline for normalising relations between Switzerland and Libya ran out with no word on the fate of Göldi or the other Swiss businessman. They have been detained in Libya for over a year.
"ABB urges the Libyan and Swiss governments to continue their efforts to bring this deeply worrying situation to a successful humanitarian conclusion as a matter of urgency," Hogan said, appealing to the international community to actively support the effort.
Prior to ABB's appeal, the Spanish foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, indicated that Spain may be willing to mediate.
Moratinos said Spain, which takes over the European Union rotating presidency in January, enjoyed good relations with both Bern and Tripoli.
During a visit to Bern on Wednesday, the Spanish foreign minister told the Corriere del Ticino newspaper that Spain wanted to see if Swiss diplomacy would achieve results. He added that Spain would fulfil any requests for assistance it receives.
Meanwhile, a Senate foreign policy committee has met to discuss the Libya affair. Senator Dick Marty said the committee believed the government should develop a new strategy but refused to say what this could entail.
Marty compared the situation to a game of chess where players should not give away their next move.
swissinfo.ch and agencies