Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hannibal Gaddafi: Libya imposes oil embargo on Switzerland...

Libya has halted all oil exports to Switzerland, the head of the country's state-run shipping company announced on Thursday afternoon.

It is the latest step by the Libyan government in an escalating diplomatic response to the arrest of the Moammar Gaddafi's son Hannibal in Geneva on July 15.

Ali Bilhajj Ahmed, the head of Libya's General National Maritime Transportation Company, said all the country's oil shipments to Switzerland stopped on Wednesday.

All ships carrying Swiss-made goods have also been prohibited from unloading their cargo at Libyan ports, Libyan authorities said in a statement shortly following a staged protest outside the Swiss embassy in Tripoli.

"Tankers will stop carrying oil that has Switzerland as final destination," Ahmed said.

He added that it was the "least they could do" after the arrest of Hannibal Gaddafi.

Hannibal and his wife, who were released on bail and have left the country, were charged by a Swiss magistrate with inflicting physical injuries and using threats and force against two of their staff.

Hannibal, whose real name is Motassim Bilal, has a history of violent incidents in Europe.

The Swiss government, which has urged Libya to show restraint, has asked the North African country work "to prevent a crisis between the two countries".

It has sent a delegation to Tripoli and has scheduled a media conference for Thursday afternoon.

Switzerland imports 60,000 barrels a day of oil from Opec member Libya - around 50 per cent of the Swiss crude oil supply.

But Rolf Hartl, managing director of the Swiss Oil Association, predicted an oil boycott would not significantly impact Switzerland.

"We have compulsory stocks which cover Swiss domestic demand for about two-and-a-half months for gasoline, diesel and heating oil and about three months for jet fuel," he told World Radio Switzerland on Wednesday.

"We would have ample time to adjust our supply scheme and to cover the loss of Libyan imports."


See also: Swiss press attack Gaddafi's "revenge" and criticize his regime...

And this: Hannibal Gaddafi: tension between Switzerland and Libya...

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