Libya says Switzerland reiterating apology over publishing photos of Gaddafi son arrest

12:50, June 14, 2010      

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Switzerland "reiterated its formal apology" over publishing photos of the arrest of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Hannibal by Swiss police in 2008, Libya's official Jana news agency said on Sunday.

According to the report, the Swiss apology came for publishing photos of the "unjustified, unnecessary" arrest of Hannibal on July 15, 2008, in Geneva for allegedly maltreating two domestic employees, charges that were later dropped.

The apology came within an action plan agreement that was signed Sunday in the Libyan capital Tripoli between Libyan Foreign Minister Mousa Kousa and his Swiss and Spanish counterparts Micheline Calmy-Rey and Miguel Angel Moratinos who arrived in the city earlier in the day in a bid to end a diplomatic dispute between Libya and Switzerland.

Under the deal, the Swiss government announces its condemnation of the publication of the photos and "shoulders its responsibility, " the report said, without elaborating.

The deal envisaged that the Swiss government would be also committed to continuing a probe into the Sept. 4, 2009 publication of the photos and bring "perpetrators" to justice. If the Swiss government failed to identify those responsible, it will have to pay a compensation that the two sides would agree upon later.

Following the signing ceremony, the Swiss foreign minister termed the pact a step towards normalizing ties with Libya.

Calmy-Rey also told reporters that Swiss businessman Max Goeldi, who was released by Libyan authorities on Thursday night after four months in jail, would leave Libya on Sunday.

Goeldi was serving a four-month sentence for violating Libya's immigration rules. He, along with compatriot Rachid Hamdani, was dragged into the center of a Libyan-Swiss row when they were held for about two years over visa offenses.

In February, Hamdani was acquitted by a Libyan court, while Goeldi was sentenced to four months in jail by a Libyan court.

The diplomatic dispute erupted when the Swiss police arrested Hannibal Gaddafi for allegedly abusing his servants. He was released two days later.

Libya responded by a series of retaliatory measures, including pulling back its diplomatic mission from Switzerland and withdrawing deposits from Swiss banks.

Tension mounted further when Libya suspended issuing entry visas to citizens from the Schengen area of 25 European countries, including Switzerland, in response to Switzerland's visa blacklist that included 188 Libyan figures. The two countries lifted the bans after the mediation of European states.



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