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Foreign ministers travel to Tripoli

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and her Spanish counterpart, Miguel Angel Moratinos, have travelled to Tripoli for talks with Libya.

This content was published on June 13, 2010 - 10:23

Their visit, widely reported by the media but as yet unconfirmed by the Swiss foreign ministry, added to speculation that Max Göldi, a Swiss businessman detained in Libya since July 2008, would finally be freed to leave Libya.

AFP news agency reported that the two foreign ministers were met at the airport at around 11.30pm by Libya's deputy foreign minister, Khaled Kaïm.

The agency said that according to an official Libyan source they were hoping to find a solution to the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Libya and Switzerland. A memorandum of understanding it expected to be signed.

Göldi's lawyer, Salah Zahaf, said he was expected to receive his exit visa on Sunday. His passport has been returned and all the procedures needed in order for him to obtain an exit visa had been carried out, noted Zahaf.

Göldi was released from a Tripoli jail on Thursday after serving a four-month sentence for visa violations. He is currently staying in a hotel in the capital.

News of his imminent release from Libya was greeted with cautious optimism by the Swiss government and the human rights organisation Amnesty International.

Libya has said that before Göldi leaves, an international arbitration tribunal needs to be set up to review the circumstances surrounding the arrest of one of the Moammar Gaddafi’s sons in Geneva in July 2008.

Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife Aline were arrested over allegations they had beat their staff while staying in a hotel in Geneva. The incident sparked off a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Shortly after Hannibal Gaddafi’s arrest, Göldi and fellow Swiss businessman Rachid Hamdani were detained in Libya and prevented from leaving the country. Göldi was eventually handed a jail term for visa violations, while Hamdani was charged and later cleared of immigration offences and violating business rules. Hamdani was granted an exit visa in February.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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