- The Swiss government has protested against Libya's "retaliatory measures" to the arrest and detention of Muammar al-Qaddafi's son.
Apart from ordering Swiss companies ABB and Nestle to close Libya operations, Libyan security have also arrested Swiss staff and threw diplomats out of the country.
Swiss Foreign Ministry blamed the Libyan leader for launching a single-minded campaign against Swiss interests in general in retaliation to the last week arrest of Hannibal al-Qaddafi and his heavily pregnant wife. The couple, who were accused of assaulting two staff at a luxury hotel in Geneva on 15 July, face charges of bodily harm, threatening behaviour and coercion. They have denied any wrongdoing.
The development has prompted demonstrations in the capital Tripoli, with angry demonstrators calling for the North African country to cut off oil exports to Switzerland. Libya has been the biggest supplier of crude oil to Switzerland. The company responsible for oil shipments is run by Hannibal.
In a statement handed to the Swiss ambassador, angry protesters described the arrest as an "odious crime" and urged Libya to withdraw its deposits from Swiss banks if the Swiss authorities have failed to apologise for the arrest.
Swiss authorities have denied mistreatment of Hannibal and his wife who were released on bail two days after their arrest.
Libya has recalled its Swiss envoy and suspended issuing of visas to Swiss citizens. Besides, air links between Switzerland and Libya have been reduced.
The Swiss government had sent a delegation to Tripoli to convey explanations on the arrest and "prevent a crisis between the two countries."
Also, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey communicated her country's firm protest to her Libyan counterpart Abderrahman Shalgan. However, Swiss government want to avoid the issue from worsening.
"Since July 17, the Libyan authorities have taken a number of worrying retaliatory measures," Swiss Foreign Ministry said in a statement, ordering Swiss citizens from traveling to the North African country until further notice.
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