N.J. town's mayor: Keep Gadhafi out

Aug. 25, 2009 at 6:57 PM
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ENGLEWOOD, N.J., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The mayor of Englewood, N.J., says members of Congress and President Barack Obama should stop Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from pitching his tent in the town.

Mayor Michael Wildes said he blamed the president and lawmakers for not preventing Gadhafi from staying in a tent outside a Libyan-owned Englewood mansion during his visit to the United Nations for a meeting next month, Politico reported.

"The truth is that it seems like they're just going through the motions, and it's a fait accompli," Wildes said. "I'm disappointed that nobody's got moxie."

In an interview with FOXNews.com, Wildes said allowing Gadhafi to stay in the town would be an affront to the 33 New Jersey families who lost relatives in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 by a Libyan terrorist.

"You can't give them their lives and memories back," Wildes said.

But Rep. Steve Rothman, D-N.J., a former Englewood mayor who represents the town and also opposes Gadhafi's staying there, told Politico Gadhafi needs State Department permission and could be prevented from staying at the Englewood property under terms of a 1983 letter from then-President Ronald Reagan requiring the property only be used for the Libyan ambassador and his family.

Rothman said the White House had confirmed existence of the letter Monday night.

"And my expectation is that the Obama White House and the State Department will at the very least uphold the 26-year-old restriction on Libyan diplomats, including Gadhafi," Rothman said.

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