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Bush trip to Geneva cancelled

Former United States President George W. Bush will not come to Switzerland next weekend after all.

The Jewish organisation that had invited him for a Geneva gala event has cited growing protests as the reason for cancelling his visit.

The Swiss branch of the United Israel Appeal said it feared that demonstrations in Geneva could get out of control.

The charity's lawyer told the Tribune de Geneve newspaper on Saturday the calls for rallies had become more and more serious as various parties sharply criticised Bush's visit.

Some, including the World Organisation Against Torture, had called on the Swiss government to arrest Bush for war crimes such as torture via waterboarding.

However, the justice ministry responded that ex-leaders such as Bush had diplomatic immunity.

The lawyer said that calls for Bush's arrest were not the reason for the cancellation of his trip. Rather, the important issue was protecting people and property in Geneva.

The organisation said it had invited Bush to speak about his recently published biography at the February 12 dinner.

"We regret that the speech has been cancelled," Bush spokesman David Sherzer told The Associated Press on Saturday.

"President Bush was looking forward to speaking about freedom and offering reflections from his time in office." and agencies

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