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Libyan minister says Swiss hostages are fine

The two Swiss men held in Libya - from whom there has been no word since last month - are both well, a Libyan minister has told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.

Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim was quoted as saying that the men were "both fine given the circumstances, even although they would rather be in another place".

In a short telephone interview, which was published on Sunday, Kaim rejected allegations that the two had been kidnapped. He said that Libya had simply taken precautionary measures.

He added that men were not being held in a prison but in a house, in a place where "no one can harm them".

The comments come just days after a 60-day deadline for normalising relations between Switzerland and Libya ran out with no word on the fate of the two Swiss businessmen. Relations have taken a nosedive following the arrest of one of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's sons in Geneva last year.

The men have been detained in Libya for more than a year. On September 18 they went for a medical examination and were then whisked off to an undisclosed location.


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The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting