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Gadhafi heading to Italy to mark bilateral pact

From Hada Messia, CNN
Gadhafi is expected to inaugurate a Libyan academy while in Italy. He arrives there this weekend.
Gadhafi is expected to inaugurate a Libyan academy while in Italy. He arrives there this weekend.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The pact, signed in 2008, normalizes relations between Italy and Libya
  • It also closes the painful chapter of Italian colonization in Libya
  • Gadhafi went to Italy for the first time last year to mark its anniversary

Rome, Italy (CNN) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi plans to travel to Italy this weekend, a year after his historic trip there to mark closer ties between the two countries.

He is scheduled to arrive Saturday afternoon at Rome's Ciampino Airport and depart Tuesday, the Italian government said, though his travel plans have already changed numerous times.

Libya and Italy signed a pact in August 2008 that normalized relations and closed the painful chapter of Italian colonization in Libya. The pact was signed in Libya, and last year, Gadhafi made his first visit to Rome to mark its anniversary.

This year's anniversary will be marked with an equestrian show, for which Libya is sending 30 horses and riders. Italian Carabinieri, or military police, will also take part in the show with their own horses.

A gala dinner with about 800 guests is planned for after the show, according to the Italian government press office.

Gadhafi is also expected to inaugurate a Libyan academy in Rome.

Like he often does on foreign visits, Gadhafi plans to stay in a traditional Bedouin tent while in Rome, the press office said. Last year, he set up the tent in one of Rome's most beautiful central parks, Villa Pamphili.

The tent caused as much of a stir as the Libyan himself when Gadhafi visited the United Nations last year for the first time to deliver a speech at the General Assembly. His plans to erect the tent on Libyan property and in Central Park had to be canceled after public outcry, and he ultimately set it up on property belonging to Donald Trump in Bedford, New York.