Libya has snubbed British offers for its top military cadets to train alongside Princes William and Harry at Sandhurst.

Despite a public thaw in relations between the countries, Tripoli has provided no reasons for repeatedly turning down places at the world-renowned Royal Military Academy.

The apparent slight was revealed following a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Defence.

Tony Blair pledged UK assistance to build Libya's conventional army in March 2004 after Colonel Muammar Gaddafi - previously a bitter opponent of the West - renounced nuclear and chemical weapons. There was speculation that the Libyan leader had deliberately insulted the Prime Minister during their groundbreaking meeting by pointing the sole of his shoe at him - considered offensive in Arabic cultures.

Mr Blair admitted the move to rehabilitate Libya was a "risk", but held out a number of co-operative measures, including allowing elite cadets to attend Sandhurst.

But a statement from the MoD said: "In the last two years Libya has been offered two places at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for Initial Officer Training."

No reasons were given for not taking up these places, said the statement.