Coming up

Don't miss




Burkina Faso: Government seeks referendum

Read more


All the fun of the FIAC: Contemporary art fair rolls into town

Read more


Whistleblower James Wasserstrom slams UN over its failure to fight corruption

Read more


New garden concepts

Read more


Indian uranium mines take heavy toll on locals and environment

Read more


Calls for Mexican president to resign gain traction

Read more


Brazil: The battle for undecided voters

Read more


Drugmakers to join forces in tackling Ebola

Read more


Rape as a weapon of war: How to stop impunity in eastern Congo? (part 2)

Read more


Swiss president apologises for Gaddafi son's arrest


Latest update : 2009-08-20

Switzerland's President Hans-Rudolf Merz has apologised to Libya for the arrest one year ago of a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, paving the way for a "normalisation" of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Reuters - Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz apologised to the Libyan government on Thursday for the brief detention last year of a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, clearing the way for a return to normal diplomatic ties.


“We are apologising for what happened to Hannibal Gaddafi and the two sides agreed to form a committee to discuss the matter,” Merz told reporters in Tripoli.


Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi said the two countries had agreed on a “normalisation” of their relationship, a decision that was confirmed by Merz.


The row began when Hannibal Gaddafi and his pregnant wife Aline were arrested in a Geneva luxury hotel in July 2008 on charges of mistreating two domestic employees. Armed police forced open their hotel suite after being alerted to repeated altercations.


Libya cut back oil supplies to Switzerland and withdrew more than $5 billion in assets from Swiss banks in 2008 over the incident.


Geneva’s prosecutor dropped the case in September last year following the withdrawal by the plaintiffs of their formal complaint after they reached an undisclosed settlement with the Gaddafis.


A Geneva lawyer representing Libya and the Gaddafis said in April they had sued the Geneva authorities for more than 500,000 Swiss francs. A hearing on the civil suit was due next month.


Switzerland’s government said last month it wanted to hold a summit with Gaddafi to defuse the row and that Merz was prepared to meet the Libyan leader soon.


A Swiss statement said that two Swiss who have been detained in Libya will be able to leave the country “in the next few days”.


Swiss officials have named one of the Swiss prevented from leaving Libya as Max Goeldi, director of Swiss-Swedish electrical engineering conglomerate ABB in Tripoli, but have declined to identify the other.


“Both countries agree to set up independent arbitration to investigate the circumstances of the arrest of Hannibal Muammar Gaddafi and his wife,” the statement said, adding that Switzerland was prepared to apologise for the “unseemly and unnecessary” arrest of Gaddafi and his family.

Date created : 2009-08-20