Monday, October 27, 2008

Will Gaddafi get the hump?

Financial Times

The story of the weekend was surely the Mail on Sunday exclusive on Britain disposing of a camel saddle presented to Tony Blair by Muammer Gaddafi of Libya. The gesture of solidarity was apparently sold at auction for the princely sum of £20.

This revelation comes days after Gordon Brown withdrew an invitation for Mr Gaddafi to attend the London oil summit, which has been downgraded to ministerial level.

The conference would have given Mr Gaddafi, who travels with a bevy of female bodyguards and prefers to stay in a bedoin tent, the opportunity to make his first official visit to London after decades of being ostracised by the international community.

Withdrawing the invite has saved some poor protocol official in London from finding a place to pitch the Libyan leader’s tent (the picture below shows the solution French officials came up with). And Mr Gaddafi is likely to understand that heads of state probably no longer need to gather to discuss the rocketing oil price.

But will the newly improved relations between London and Tripoli survive the camel saddle sleight?


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