TRIPOLI, July 24: Libya said on Thursday it would halt fuel supplies to key oil client Switzerland in the latest reprisal for last week’s brief detention in Geneva of a son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

The supplies affected are those transported by ships operated by Libya’s General National Maritime Transport Company, a statement issued by the company said. Oil transported by commercial vessels will not be affected.

The announcement came as a Swiss delegation held talks with Libyan officials at the foreign ministry in Tripoli in a bid to defuse tensions, diplomatic sources said.

The Swiss foreign ministry has said that the delegation will provide explanations on the arrest of Hannibal Kadhafi, 32, and his wife, on July 15 in a Geneva hotel. The couple was accused of assaulting some of their staff members.

A spokeswoman for the Swiss economy ministry expressed “concern” at the Libyan measures but hoped that the fuel stand-off would be resolved “rapidly.”

“Diplomatic exchanges are under way right now,” the spokeswoman said in Geneva on Thursday, adding that there were no risks of fuel shortages in Switzerland. “Sources of supply can be widened.”

A joint statement by the maritime transport company and the port authority threatened further unspecified reprisals, and said Swiss-flagged ships had been banned from Libyan ports.

The statement warned of “new escalatory measures” against Switzerland and demanded that Bern “closes within the next few hours the case it fabricated” against Hannibal Kadhafi.

It also demanded a formal Swiss apology for the arrest of Hannibal who says he was mistreated during his detention.—AFP