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US apologises over Gaddafi comments

Col Muammar Gaddafi
Col Gaddafi said Switzerland "deserved to be attacked through jihad"

The US state department has apologised for comments made about Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's call for jihad against Switzerland.

Department spokesman PJ Crowley, who made the dismissive comments, said they did not reflect US policy and were not intended to offend.

Col Gaddafi had criticised a Swiss vote against the building of minarets and urged Muslims to boycott the country.

Mr Crowley described it as "lots of words, not necessarily a lot of sense."

Libya and Switzerland are embroiled in a long-running diplomatic row.

Clarification

"I regret that my comments have become an obstacle to further progress in our bilateral relationship," Mr Crowley said.

Last week, Libya's National Oil Corporation warned US oil firms of possible "repercussions" over Mr Crowley's reaction.

The Libyan ambassador to the US sought to clarify Col Gaddafi's remarks saying the Libyan leader meant an economic boycott not "an armed attack".

"I should have focused solely on our concern about the term jihad, which has since been clarified by the Libyan government," Mr Crowley added.

"I understand my personal comments were perceived as a personal attack on the president," he said.

"These comments do not reflect US policy and were not intended to offend. I apologise if they were taken that way."



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SEE ALSO
UN slams Libya anti-Swiss 'jihad'
26 Feb 10 |  Europe
Gaddafi urges 'holy war' on Swiss
26 Feb 10 |  Africa


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