US official apologizes for remarks about Gaddafi
The US State Department's spokesman apologized Tuesday for remarks he had earlier made about Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi after Tripoli threatened to diplomatically retaliate.
Spokesman PJ Crowley said he did not intend to offend Gaddafi when asked last month about the leader's call for a jihad against Switzerland for a new law that bans the construction of minarets on top of mosques, dpa reported.
"These comments do not reflect US policy and were not intended to offend," Crowley said. "I apologize if they were taken that way. I regret that my comments have become an obstacle to further progress in our bilateral relationship."
The unusual apology came after the oil-rich nation threatened to scale back business ties that had been growing since the two countries restored diplomatic ties in 2004, and demanded an apology.
Addressing the controversy between Libya and the United States, Crowley referenced Gaddafi's lengthy speech at the UN General Assembly in September.
"I saw that report and it just brought me back to a day in September, one of the more memorable sessions of the UN General Assembly that I can recall," Crowley said February 26. "Lots of words and lots of papers flying all over the place, not necessarily a lot of sense."
Crowley announced Tuesday that Assistant Secretary of State Jeff Feltman will travel to Libya next week for discussions on bilateral relations.