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Libya argues "ball is in Swiss court"

The Libyan ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva has repeated Libya’s demands for normalising diplomatic ties with Switzerland.

Ibrahim Aldredi said Libya was requesting the creation of an arbitration commission, a trial of those who arrested Hannibal Gaddafi in July 2008, an enquiry into the leak of his police mugshots and an end to visa restrictions against 188 Libyans.

“The ball is in the Swiss court,” the ambassador said.

In reply, Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel said Switzerland had always abided by its commitments in recent agreements with Libya.

"As before, Switzerland is still prepared to negotiate and to find a constructive solution with Libya through diplomatic means. In this respect we are being supported by the Spanish presidency of the EU and by Germany,” he said.

Aldredi also told reporters in Geneva on Thursday that “all things are possible” for Max Göldi, the Swiss businessman serving a four-month prison sentence in Libya after being found guilty of visa violations.

But he added that his fate depended on the courts and the “independent” judicial system.

Göldi has appealed against his sentence, which he started on February 22. He has already submitted a request to Libyan authorities for a pardon.

The Swiss businessman has been prevented from leaving Libya since July 2008, shortly after the arrest and brief detention in Geneva of Moammar Gaddafi’s son Hannibal and his wife. The couple were accused of mistreating two of their domestic staff. The charges were withdrawn after the servants accepted compensation.

But the affair has since escalated into a diplomatic dispute between Switzerland and Libya.

Switzerland is refusing to grant Schengen visas to 188 high-ranking Libyan officials and their families, which means they cannot travel freely around the 25 member states of Europe’s Schengen zone.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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