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Government upholds pressure on Libya

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey says efforts continue to resolve the crisis with Libya and seek the release from prison of a Swiss businessman in Tripoli.

“The government is concerned about the fate of [Max] Göldi. We try to do all we can to get him out. The situation remains difficult,” she told a news conference on Wednesday.

She added that Göldi, who began a four-month prison sentence on Monday for visa irregularities, was being held under acceptable conditions and was in good health.

She also expressed her gratitude towards the European Union for its help in obtaining Libyan permission for another Swiss businessman, Rachid Hamdani, to leave the country after 19 months.

Calmy-Rey said discussions were ongoing and the government would uphold its strategy towards Libya. The government has imposed a visa ban on members of the Libyan regime.

The policy, taken as part of European travel restrictions under the single border agreement, prompted criticism by Schengen member countries.

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf is expected in Brussels on Thursday for discussions over the Swiss visa ban.

The diplomatic row with Libya was triggered by the temporary arrest of a son of the Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, in Geneva in 2008 amid allegations that he mistreated his household staff.

Urs Geiser,

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