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New twist in Libyan-Swiss saga

Libya has no intention of stopping its oil deliveries, or of withdrawing funds from Swiss banks, the Swiss ambassador to Libya said on Sunday.

The Libyan authorities have denied reports to this effect which have appeared this week, ambassador Daniel von Muralt told the Swiss news agency.

News of the halting of oil supplies came late on Wednesday. The head of the Libyan Tamoil company was quoted in the media as saying that the decision had come from the government, not from the company.

Subsequently the head of Libya's central bank told the AP news agency that Libya had withdrawn all its deposits from Swiss banks.

On Saturday a spokesman for Geneva airport confirmed newspaper reports that the Libyan Afriqiyah airlines was reducing its weekly flights from three to one.

The Swiss foreign ministry has said that it has not been officially informed of any of these moves.

Tension between the two countries was sparked in July by the arrest in Geneva of one of the sons of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, Hannibal and his wife. Servants of the two had accused them of serious mistreatment.

Libya took a number of measures against Swiss firms and Swiss nationals at the time. Although the charges against the couple were dropped after the servants withdrew their complaint, Libya has demanded that Switzerland apologise over the incident.

Negotiations have been continuing between the two sides. Von Muralt said he thought both were now eager to conclude them.


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