Colonel Gaddafi wanted to exchange the Dutch helicopter crew held in Libya for his two fighter planes currently on Malta, the prime minister of Malta told a press conference in Brussels on Friday.
Lawrence Gonzi said he told Gadaffi on Tuesday there was no reason to hold the three-strong crew and he would not return the Mirage planes.
The Libyan pilots said they had rerouted to Malta after being ordered to bomb their countrymen. They have now asked for asylum.
According to Gonzi negotiations with the Libyan president continued for three days with the exchange still being mentioned, but he stood firm.
Earlier on Friday, defence minister Hans Hillen told a news conference the Netherlands did not apologise or make any concessions to Libya to win the release of the helicopter crew.
Now the crew is on its way home, parliament is asking for an investigation into how their mission to rescue two stranded Europeans could have gone so wrong. Hillen and foreign affairs minister Uri Rosenthal have said they will release some of the findings, but not all because of strategic interests.
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