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Libyan leader Gaddafi not to stay in suburban New Jersey

Last Updated: Saturday, August 29, 2009 - 10:01

Washington: Respecting the sentiments of Americans, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi would not pitch his Bedouin tent in the New Jersey suburb Englewood during his visit to the country next month to attend the annual UN General Assembly session in New York.
"In keeping with prior arrangements, the Englewood, New Jersey property is not available for any use in connection with the upcoming visit," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.

This has been done in consultation with the Libyan government, he said.

Earlier Congressman Steve Rothman, who represents Englewood in the House of Representatives, said he has been informed by the Libyan government that Gaddafi would not be staying in Englewood, which houses the residence of the Libyan Ambassador to the United Nations.

"I am very pleased that Muammar Gaddafi will apparently not be coming to Englewood. His appearance would have presented unnecessary safety and security issues for the residents of Englewood and the Libyan diplomats," Rothman said.

Several lawmakers including Rothman, and residents of Englewood, besides human rights groups had objected to Gaddafi`s stay in the city during his trip to the country in September.

They are outraged at the hero`s welcome accorded to Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Libyan convict of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, who was released by the Scottish authorities early this month.

Megrahi who is suffering from cancer was released on compassionate grounds. Doctors have given him three months of life.

"I want to thank President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the literally dozens of their appointees I have had the pleasure to work so closely with over the past seven days in achieving this result," Rothman said.

"I also want to thank the Libyan government for their hard work and consideration in resolving this matter in such a positive fashion," he said in his statement.

Meanwhile, media reports said the Libyan officials are now searching for a hotel in the New York city where their leader can stay on the first floor due to his refusal to ride in elevators.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 29, 2009 - 10:01
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