Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s visit to Rome this week has not been without controversy.

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Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s visit to Rome this week has not been without controversy. The Libyan leader recruited hundreds of hostesses from a local modeling agency to attend a lecture where he encouraged them to convert to Islam.

But Gaddafi’s proselytizing – free copies of the Koran were handed out – was not the real reason behind his trip.

Gaddafi’s appearance in Rome was timed to mark the anniversary of a friendship treaty signed with Berlusconi in Benghazi two years ago, an agreement aimed at strengthening business ties between the two countries. Italy has pledged to invest $5 billion in Libya over a 20-year period to make amends for its 30-year colonial occupation of the North African state prior to World War II.

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