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Swiss delegation to visit Libya

A delegation from the foreign ministry will go to Libya next week to try to settle differences between the two countries over the so-called Gaddafi affair.

A foreign ministry spokesman announced on Friday that the mission would leave on Wednesday and stay in Tripoli until Thursday. He gave no details about the composition of the delegation, except to say that it would not include Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.

Relations have been strained since July, when one of Moammar Gaddafi's sons, Hannibal, and Hannibal's wife were arrested by Geneva police over complaints of mistreatment made by two of their staff while at a hotel in the city.

Charges against them were dropped in September after the servants withdrew their complaint, having reached a financial arrangement with Hannibal. But Libya has demanded an apology for the arrest and has taken economic measures against Switzerland, as well as detaining Swiss nationals in Libya.

A Swiss legal expert who co-chaired a joint commission investigating the circumstances of the arrest found in December that the Geneva police had used "excessive" means. However, the Geneva authorities have repeated that they will not apologise, and stressed that that they acted within the law.

Switzerland has been making diplomatic efforts to solve the problem from the beginning, but the foreign ministry has given no details.


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