Swiss waiting for Libya to honour deal

3rd September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz urges Libya Wednesday to release two Swiss nationals held since July 2008.

Geneva -- Switzerland said Wednesday that it would honour an accord with Libya aimed at ending a year-long dispute, but stressed that it also expected Tripoli to fulfil its part of the deal.

"The Federal Council decided today to honour the contract, but it is also waiting for Libya to do the same," said Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz.

Merz signed the deal in August in an effort to end a dispute between the two countries caused by the arrest of one of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's sons in a luxury Geneva hotel in July 2008.

Hannibal Kadhafi and his wife were arrested after two of their servants alleged they were mistreated.

The Kadhafi couple was held for two days before being freed on bail, while the complaint against them was later dropped after a lawyer said the servants had received compensation.

During his visit to Libya, Merz apologised to the Libyan people for the incident, sparking an uproar in Switzerland.

Pressure on Merz grew as two Swiss businessmen blocked from leaving Tripoli in retaliation since July's arrest were still unable to return.

Swiss authorities said on Friday that Merz had received a "written assurance" that the businessmen would be allowed to leave Libya before the end of August.

Reading a statement to the press on Wednesday, Merz said the two Swiss were "physically well" but that they were in an "intolerable" situation of not knowing when they could exit Libya.

Merz did not take questions from the media.

The pair, employed respectively by Swedish-Swiss engineering giant ABB and a small construction firm, were accused of immigration offences and prevented from leaving the North African country.

AFP / Expatica

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