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EU says Libya's visa ban is "disproportionate"

The European Union has “deplored” a decision by Libya to stop issuing entry visas to all European nations in the Schengen zone.

A European Commission spokesman described the ban as a “unilateral, disproportionate measure”. "At the same time, we really regret that even citizens from EU Schengen member countries who were in possession of a valid visa were refused entry and sent back," he added.

Officials confirmed on Monday that Libya had stopped issuing entry visas to the 25 European nations covered by Schengen. It followed an alleged decision by Switzerland to block 188 Libyan citizens from entering the country.

Members of the Schengen zone meeting on Thursday are expected to discuss a response to the Libyan move. The EU has expressed a wish to resolve the issue quickly and has been in contact with both Swiss and Libyan authorities.

Oea, a Libyan newspaper with links to the Gaddafi family, reported on Sunday that Switzerland had drawn up a blacklist of officials who would be barred from the country, including Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and his family.

Switzerland has not confirmed the ban or commented on the Libyan decision. Swiss foreign ministry did say that a continuing restrictive visa policy was in place against Libya and not Libyans in general.

The visa suspension left Europeans stranded at Tripoli airport and forced many to return home. The Libyan government gave no official confirmation or explanation of the measure.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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