ROME, March 10 (Reuters) - Libya’s sovereign investment fund will not halt business activities in Italy because of a visa spat with Switzerland that has escalated into a Europe-wide row, its ambassador to Rome said on Wednesday.
Hafed Gaddur told reporters the row with Switzerland “doesn’t change anything”.
“Libya will continue to invest with the countries that are its friends in areas it considers interesting,” the envoy said in response to a question from Reuters. “The funds have a clear mission. They invest where profits can be made.”
The Libyan Investment Authority has stakes in Unicredit (CRDI.MI) and oil company Eni (ENI.MI), a joint fund with Mediobanca (MDBI.MI), and plans with defence company Finmeccanica SIFI.MI in Africa and the Middle East.
Gaddur said Germany continued to mediate in the row with Switzerland, in which Libya blocked visas for citizens of the Schengen passport-free zone including most of the European Union and Switzerland. [ID:nLDE61E19Y]
Libya was retaliating for Berne barring entry to some Libyans, including leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family.
Italy, which has close business links with Libya, has accused Switzerland of misusing the Schengen agreement and taking its members “hostage” with the ban, which had forced other European states to bar travel by Libyans as well. (Reporting by Paolo Biondi; Writing by Stephen Brown; Editing by Dan Lalor)