Switzerland can help Libya’s transition to democracy by disarming the population and contributing to demining efforts, the foreign minister has said.
Speaking to Sonntag newspaper, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey detailed three areas in which Switzerland could help rebuild Libya after its eight-month civil war.
“I can imagine Switzerland engaging in three concrete areas during the transition phase: in disarming the population, in reforming the security forces as well as in demining,” she said.
“Our security centres in Geneva have the necessary expertise. Switzerland is also ready to take part in a United Nations mission.”
Muammar Gaddafi was killed on Thursday after 42 years of eccentric one-man rule. Libya is now set to embark on building a democracy, with elections next year.
Calmy-Rey said Switzerland was on good terms with Libya’s interim government, the National Transition Council (NTC).
“Early on Switzerland acknowledged the National Transition Council as its single point of contact in Libya,” she said.
Calmy-Rey also said she hoped the some SFr265 million ($300 million) still in Switzerland could be unfrozen soon.
“Around 90 per cent of them belong to state-owned Libyan companies. We assume that the UN Security Council will make a decision about releasing these state funds relatively soon.”
Switzerland has already unfrozen SFr385 million and made them available to the new Libyan authorities for the Libyan National Oil Company and Libya Investment Authority.