Swiss government warns citizens against layovers in Libya

October 26, 2009 10:38 pm 

GENEVA, Oct. 27 — Switzerland's Federal Department of Foreign Affairs updated its travel advisory on Monday, warning Swiss citizens to avoid layovers in Libya.

Previously, the government only discouraged direct visits to Libya.

The move came after Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey accused Libya of "kidnapping" two Swiss businessmen last Thursday, after the two, who were banned from leaving Libya for one year, went missing when they left the Swiss embassy for a medical examination at the request of Libyan authorities last month.

Libyan officials said they were held in a "safe location."

The two countries went hostile to each other since july 2008, when police in Geneva arrested Hannibal Khadafi, son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, and his wife for allegedly mistreating two servants.

They were detained two days before charges were dropped, which indeed provoked Libyan authorities. A string of retaliatory measures against Switzerland were issued and two Swiss businessmen were accused of immigration offense by the Libyan government.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz flew to Tripoli, capital of Libya, in August and apologized over the incident, but failed to take back the two businessmen.

The Swiss government said Thursday that as Tripoli had "no intention to normalize bilateral relations," it would consider changing its way of solving the problem. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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