(JTA) — Libyan President Muammar Gadhafi has canceled plans to stay in New Jersey next month.
New Jersey political leaders had been pressing U.S. authorities to bar Gadhafi from staying at property in Englewood, N.J. owned by the Libyan government, where he reportedly planned to erect and sleep in a tent while attending the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in September. The mansion is located next door to a yeshiva.
The State Department last Friday night confirmed the Libyan government’s decision to keep Gadhafi in Manhattan during his visit.
In recent years the Libyan dictator, who seized power in a coup in 1969, has improved ties with the West and agreed to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction program. However, Western officials were angered by the hero’s welcome Tripoli recently gave Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence agent convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, who was released from a Scottish prison for humanitarian reasons because he reportedly is dying of cancer.