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Gaddafi to "personally" help free detained Swiss

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has assured Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz that he is committed to enabling the return of two Swiss citizens detained in Libya.

This content was published on September 25, 2009 - 09:25

"He told me that he would personally deal with this affair," Merz told Swiss television on Thursday evening.

"I made it very clear that this contract that we signed should be implemented by our Libyan partners and that the two Swiss must be returned," he said. Merz said releasing the two men was a precondition to normalising relations between the two countries.

The two leaders met for 40 minutes on Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Merz called the meeting "relaxed and calm".

Switzerland has been locked in a diplomatic crisis with Libya since July last year when Geneva police detained one of Gaddafi's sons, Hannibal, on suspicion of attacking his domestic staff.

Two Swiss businessmen have been detained in Libya ever since, and efforts to enable them to leave the country have so far been unsuccessful.

The two men are reported to have been moved to a location outside Tripoli.

Meanwhile, a civil case brought by Libya against the Geneva authorities over Hannibal's arrest has been suspended at the request of all parties. A court hearing scheduled for Thursday in Geneva was cancelled.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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