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Libya to stop oil supplies

Libya has announced that it is halting oil deliveries to Switzerland and that it has withdrawn its money from Swiss banks, according to reports.

Issam Zanati, director of the Libyan Tamoil company, told the French news agency AFP that the decision to halt the oil supplies had come from Libya, not the company.

He was unable to give any reason, or to say for how long deliveries would be suspended.

Farhat Qadara, head of Libya's central bank, told The Associated Press that "Libya has withdrawn all its deposits from Swiss banks and transferred them to other European banks". He did not provide specific figures.

The moves come three months after a diplomatic crisis erupted between the two countries, sparked by the arrest in Geneva of one of the sons of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, "Hannibal" and his wife. Servants of the two had accused them of serious mistreatment.

Libya took a number of measures against Swiss firms and Swiss nationals at the time. It also threatened to halt oil supplies.

Although the charges against the couple were dropped after the servants withdrew their complaint, Libya has demanded that Switzerland apologise over the incident.

Rolf Hartl, managing director of the Swiss Oil Association, told the Swiss news agency that the country's oil supplies would not be affected. By the time any shortfall came to be felt, importers would have been able to compensate from other suppliers, he explained.

Switzerland imports about 20 per cent of its oil consumption from Libya. Libya owns one of the country's two oil refineries and 320 filling stations.


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