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Libya issues Switzerland deadline over Göldi

Libya has said it would retaliate if Switzerland did not hand over a convicted businessman staying in its embassy on Monday, the official Libyan news agency reported.

Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa summoned European Union ambassadors on Sunday night to hand them the ultimatum, Jana news agency said.

The agency quoted the minister as saying that by giving Swiss businessman Max Göldi refuge in its embassy in Tripoli, Switzerland was in violation of international conventions on diplomatic immunity. The country is said to have until midday (10am GMT) on Monday to hand the businessman over.

"Procedures will be taken in the event that the embassy does not implement what is required of it by the deadline," the news agency reported. No details were given of what action the Libyan authorities plan to take.

The Libyan authorities want Göldi to serve a four-month prison sentence after a court found him guilty of immigration offences. His case has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Libya and Switzerland stemming from the 2008 arrest of one of leader Moammar Gaddafi’s sons in Geneva.

The Libyans have prevented two Swiss nationals from leaving the country since July 2008. Officials recently returned the passport of the other of the two Swiss, Rachid Hamdani, but did not grant him an exit visa. Hamdani’s charges have been dropped. and agencies

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