Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) will end the country’s prohibition of economic cooperation and business with Switzerland and Lebanon, which had been imposed by the region of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The freeze on business with the two countries was taken by “the tyrant Gaddafi in order to achieve personal interest”, says Libyan Undersecretary for Economy Ahmad al-Kouchli in a press briefing in Tripoli on 10 January.

Diplomatic relations between Libya and Switzerland soured in mid-2008 when the Swiss government arrested Gaddafi’s son, Hannibal over charges of assaulting a servant in a hotel. He was held for only two days and then released.

Switzerland has had informal relations with the NTC since mid-2011, dispatching an envoy to Benghazi.

The embargo also prevented Lebanese and Libyan companies from engaging in trade. It had also prevented the registration of Lebanese firms in Libya.

Libya closed its embassy in Beirut in 2000 after Tripoli was implicated in the kidnapping of an influential cleric in 1978.