Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Libyan-Swiss relations continue to deteriorate

The poor relations with Switzerland, which have deteriorated sharply since summer 2008, continue to have ramifications for Libya. A report, released at the end of December 2010 by a Washington-based, not-for-profit think tank Institute for Science and International Security – led by former IAEA nuclear inspector David Albright - claimed that the CIA deliberately mishandled the prosecution of three Swiss nationals who were accused of assisting the Libyan nuclear weapons programme.

At the same time, a Swiss parliamentary fact-finding delegation examining the crisis with Libya has decided that there will be no lawsuit against the Swiss citizens who were responsible for leaking to the Geneva press the photos of Hannibal Qadhafi after he had been arrested by Swiss police. It is hoped that this means that the whole drama of the Libyan–Swiss confrontation will be over.

The release of information in Switzerland suggesting that a military solution for the rescue of the two Swiss hostages held under house arrest in Tripoli also remains a major point of dissatisfaction for the Libyan government. This leak in the Swiss political system will, however, apparently not become a legal case.

On the other hand, the case of the Swiss nuclear engineer, Friedrich Tinner (b.1937) and his two sons, who have been indicted for contravening Swiss laws on the export of nuclear raw materials to Libya and other countries, will be decided in court.

Switzerland is seen to have connived in the exclusion of Saif al-Islam Qadhafi from the World Economic Forum in Davos later this month. Saif al-Islam has made great efforts to obtain an invitation to the Forum but it is said in diplomatic circles that no high-profile Libyans will be invited to visit Switzerland until relations are much improved.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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