The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has been in close contact with the German Foreign Office in recent months concerning the question of reimbursement. Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey again discussed the matter with Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on his recent visit to Switzerland. Their efforts have now been rewarded. Thanks to the excellent collaboration between the FDFA and the Foreign Office in Berlin, Switzerland has been reimbursed the money which it had to pay to Libya as compensation in 2010.
Libya had lodged a complaint with a Geneva court concerning the illegal publication of photos of Hannibal Gaddafi taken by the police. As a result of this complaint, Switzerland agreed to pay compensation to cover the cost of the proceedings and legal fees, in the event that the competent Geneva authorities were unable to find and punish the guilty party or parties. This agreement was the condition for the release in June 2010 of Swiss citizen Max Göldi, who was being detained in Libya. The sum of CHF 1.5 million had previously been paid into a blocked account in Germany. As of 6 June 2011, this sum is once again in an account belonging to the Confederation.
Since the outbreak of the crisis and violent conflict in February 2011, Switzerland has been doing its best to assist the people of Libya in this emergency. Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA) has focused in particular on oppressed minorities and groups with special protection needs. It is for this reason that the SHA opened an office in Benghazi a few weeks ago. To date Switzerland’s humanitarian relief efforts in favour of the civilian population in Libya have cost more than CHF 3 million.
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