Berlusconi to meet Gadhafi in Libya amid Lockerbie protests

Italy's premier will go ahead with a trip to Libya next week despite international protests over the welcome Tripoli staged for the freed Lockerbie bomber, officials said Sunday. Silvio Berlusconi had long planned to meet with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on August 30 to mark the first anniversary of a compensation and immigration accord that has helped stem the tide of illegal migrants reaching Italian shores. The premier's office confirmed the visit was going ahead despite outrage in London and Washington over the warm reception Libya gave to terminally ill Abdel Baset Megrahi, who was freed Thursday by Scotland on compassionate grounds. A Berlusconi ally, Margherita Boniver, said the premier will ask Gadhafi for an explanation when the two leaders meet next Sunday.