EU deplores Libya visa ban for Europeans


Hannibal Gaddafi's arrest sparked a major diplomatic spat

The European Commission has condemned Libya’s decision to stop issuing visas to the many Europeans whose countries are in the Schengen border-free zone.

The commission says it “deplores the unilateral and disproportionate” Libyan decision and the nations affected will consider an “appropriate reaction”.

Libya’s move came after Switzerland allegedly blacklisted 188 high-ranking Libyans, denying them entry permits.

The Swiss ban is said to include Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family.

Switzerland is in the 25-nation Schengen zone – European countries that have abolished mutual border controls.

Reports say Libya’s visa ban is already in force at Tripoli’s main airport.

The Times of Malta reports Libya has refused entry to eight Maltese citizens. It says one of them, an accountant with 25 years of business experience in Libya, had to spend about 20 hours in a room before catching a flight back to Malta.

“They treated us like hostages, not even allowing us out of the room to stretch our legs,” the passenger was quoted as saying.

The Schengen zone includes 23 of the 27 European Union member states. Switzerland is not in the EU but is in Schengen, as are three other non-EU countries – Iceland, Monaco and Norway.

SOURCED FROM BBC

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