Cabinet chooses to keep quiet over Libya crisis

The government says it prefers to remain silent over the continuing diplomatic crisis with Libya.

This content was published on September 30, 2009 minutes

The cabinet discussed the latest development at its regular meeting on Wednesday, but would make a statement only if there was news, according to a government spokesman.

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey asked the media to restrain itself from reporting on Libya for the time being.

"The best thing to do at this stage is to keep silent, I believe," she told journalists on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Federal Migration Office confirmed that visa regulations for Libyan citizens have been modified.

Officials said the policy changes were introduced at the beginning of June, but they refused to elaborate.

It is not clear whether the move was in response to an unsuccessful visit by Calmy-Rey to Tripoli at the end of May to seek the release of two Swiss businessmen who have not been allowed to leave Libya for more than 14 months, allegedly because they violated immigration rules.

Ten days ago the men were asked to leave the Swiss embassy in Tripoli for a medical check-up by the Libyan authorities, but have been apparently held at an undeclared location since.

Switzerland planned to send a delegation to Tripoli last weekend in an effort to resolve the crisis. It began in July 2008 after police temporarily detained a son of the Libyan leader, Moammar Gaddafi, in Geneva on suspicion of mistreating his household staff.

All attempts to seek the release of the two businessmen, including a visit to Tripoli by Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz in August, have failed.

Urs Geiser, and agencies

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