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Libya, South Korea End Diplomatic Dispute

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, 8 Sep 2010 (file photo)

Libya and South Korea have ended a months-long diplomatic dispute that was sparked by accusations of South Korean spying on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The agreement came after Lee Sang-deuk, a brother of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, met with the Libyan leader in Tripoli on Thursday. A South Korean official told news agencies in Seoul that Mr. Gadhafi had agreed to end the "unsavory" dispute.

The South Korean news agency Yonhap said Mr. Gadhafi has promised to work toward reopening Libya's de facto embassy in Seoul and releasing two South Koreans detained in Libya.

South Korea and Libya built strong economic ties after establishing diplomatic relations in 1980. But relations soured after Libya expelled a South Korean intelligence official for allegedly trying to collect information on Mr. Gadhafi, his family and key bureaucrats.

Yonhap reported at the time that the expelled man had worked for Seoul's National Intelligence Service at its embassy in Libya. Libyan authorities shadowed him for three months before arresting and expelling him.

Libya subsequently detained two South Koreans on charges of violating Libya's religious laws.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.