TRIPOLI, July 27 (Reuters) Libya has called on other Arab countries to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Bulgaria after it pardoned six medics that Libya had jailed for infecting hundreds of children with HIV, a news Web site said today.
''Libya yesterday asked for an urgent meeting of the Arab League to see if it can take a united decision to cut all diplomatic relations with Bulgaria as well as financial and economic relations,'' London-based Arabic online newspaper Libya al-Youm (Libya Today) reported.
It said the demand was made by Abdelmounaim al Houni, Libya's permanent representative at the Arab League, in a formal note given to the League's Secretary General Amr Moussa and would be discussed on Monday at the league's regular meeting.
No Libyan officials were available for comment. An Arab League spokesman said he could not confirm or deny the report.
''There is no official claim from Libya asking for breaking off diplomatic relations with Bulgaria,'' Bulgarian deputy Foreign Minister Feim Chaushev told national radio BNR today. ''We have also no official information the country has appealed to the Arab League either.'' Last week Libya commuted death sentences on the five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to life in prison after the victims' families were paid $1 million each in a settlement financed by an international fund.
The European Union then struck a cooperation deal with Tripoli that allowed the medical workers to leave Libya. The group flew to Sofia, where they were pardoned upon their arrival by Bulgaria's president.
Libya said the pardon violated earlier agreements with Bulgaria and the HIV victims' families condemned Bulgaria's ''recklessness'', demanding the medical workers be re-arrested by Interpol. Bulgarian officials said the pardon was legal.
Jailed since 1999, the six were twice condemned to death after trials that drew sharp international condemnation. The medical workers said they were innocent and that earlier confessions of guilt were extracted from them using torture.
Libyan officials will give a press conference on Saturday to provide details of the secret negotiations, said official Libyan news agency JANA.
It said they would name the countries that contributed to the international fund for the infected children and state the amount each of them paid.
Reuters JT VP0027