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EC condemns Libyan visa restrictions
Published on:Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 21:36
The European Commission has condemned Libya's decision to stop issuing visas to citizens of Schengen Area countries, which includes most EU member states plus Switzerland. The signatories to the Schengen Agreement of 1985 have scrapped customs checks at their mutual borders.
Libya's decision was apparently prompted by reports of a Swiss blacklist featuring the names of 188 senior Libyan officials, including the family of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya and Switzerland have been at loggerheads since Mr Gaddafi's son was arrested for abusing hotel staff in a Swiss hotel in 2008. Libya then halted oil exports to Switzerland, withdrew millions of euros from Swiss bank accounts and arrested two Swiss businessmen on immigration charges.
The German airline Lufthansa says it carried 60 passengers to Libya on Monday. Although most of them were allowed to enter the country because they had already been granted visas, the Dutch Foreign Ministry has told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that three Dutchmen were denied entry even though they had valid visas.
The Dutch ambassador to Libya is now advising travellers to check the information displayed on the Dutch Foreign Ministry’s website.