The Swiss Senate has voted unanimously to extend the stay of soldiers protecting the embassy in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, for another two years. It follows a similar decision by the House of Representatives last week.
The military unit charged with protecting the embassy has been in place since January 2012, and will remain until January 2016 at the latest. The costs of the operation over the next two years – excluding the salaries of the up to 20 elite soldiers – are estimated at CHF1.95 million ($2.15 million).
Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter on Monday underscored the importance of maintaining an embassy in Libya, a country which functions as a bridge between Europe, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
However, he hoped the use of Swiss army members soldiers to guard the embassy could be discontinued as soon as possible.
The security situation in Libya is considered difficult. There have been many bombings targeting Western diplomats and their missions, including an attack on the United States embassy in September 2012 that killed the US ambassador.
swissinfo.ch and agencies