Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 12:43 UK

US town bans Libyan leader's tent


Aerial view of the partly erected tent in Bedford, near New York

US officials have ordered workers to stop the construction of a tent for Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi near New York, a local attorney says.

The erection of the tent "violated several codes and laws of the town of Bedford", attorney Joel Sachs says.

It also emerged the Bedouin-style tent was being set up on property rented from real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Col Gaddafi had reportedly planned to use the tent for entertaining during the UN General Assembly in New York.

Libyan officials have so far not publicly commented on the issue.

Col Gaddafi - who arrived in New York on Tuesday - traditionally shuns official residences during his trips abroad.

Trump's statement

Bedford town attorney Joel Sachs said officials had given "a stop work" order to teams pitching Col Gaddafi's tent in the town, about 30 miles (48km) north of New York.

There is no such thing as diplomatic immunity when it comes to complying with local laws
Joel Sachs
Bedford town attorney

But he said the workers did not speak English and the order was then issued to the property caretaker.

"There is no such thing as diplomatic immunity when it comes to complying with local laws and ordinances," Mr Sachs was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

"This is a private piece of property and they have to comply with the laws of this municipality."

Mr Sachs said the authorities in Bedford had learned of Col Gaddafi's plans from the US secret service.

Col Gaddafi
Col Gaddafi is due to make his first visit to the UN General Assembly

Meanwhile, Mr Trump said in a statement that part of the estate "was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners, who may or may not have a relationship to Mr Gaddafi".

"We are looking into the matter," the statement added.

Last week, Libyan officials agreed not to pitch Col Gaddafi's tent in the grounds of a Libyan-owned property in the New Jersey town of Englewood because of opposition from local residents.

They protested against the warm welcome given in Libya to the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, following his release from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.

Dozens of families in New Jersey lost loved ones when Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Scotland.

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