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Libyan leader’s son not invited to WEF

Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, regarded as a reformist among the sons of the Libyan leader, has not been invited to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this year.

According to the French-language newspaper La Liberté, Seif al-Islam has tried appealing to US business leaders and Hollywood stars to intercede on his behalf, but Klaus Schwab, the founder of the WEF, which holds its annual meeting in Davos every January, has remained firm.

The paper says Schwab has told the Libyans several times that none of their decision-makers will be invited to Davos until relations between Switzerland and Libya have improved.

The two countries have been at odds since the brief detention in Geneva in July 2008 of Hannibal Gaddafi, another son of Moammar Gaddafi, on charges of mistreating two servants. The Libyans took a number of measures in retaliation, including holding two Swiss businessmen hostage, and jailing one of them.

La Liberté says the Libyans are making an official complaint to the Swiss foreign ministry. But it quotes a ministry spokesman as saying WEF invitations are a private matter decided by the forum organisers.

The WEF told by email that Seif al-Islam “has not participated in any of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders' activities during the year and therefore does not meet the YGL criteria for an invitation to Davos in 2010”.

Seif al-Islam has been seen by many as a possible successor to his father, but he is also frequently reported to be involved in a struggle with his brothers and conservative elements in the Libyan regime. He himself has denied any power struggle with his family.

The World Economic Forum describes itself as an “independent international organisation committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas”. and agencies

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