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Diplomat to strengthen ties in Benghazi

Switzerland will send a diplomat to the Libyan city of Benghazi with the aim of strengthening ties with the National Transitional Council.

In a statement on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said the envoy would open a liaison office in Benghazi within the premises of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid programme office which was opened in March.

“By sending a special envoy to Benghazi, Switzerland is signalling its intent to strengthen its presence there, and to intensify its political relations with the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC),” the ministry said.

“Until such time as a legally elected government is in place, the NTC is the sole legitimate partner for contact between Switzerland and Libya.”

The principal tasks of the envoy will be to safeguard Switzerland’s interests in Benghazi, the second-largest city in Libya, and to promote and intensify contact with the NTC, the ministry said.

For security reasons, the Swiss embassy in Tripoli has been closed since February 27.

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