Chilean cuts short Swedish visit after earthquake

Chilean President Ricardo Lagos cut short his European tour Tuesday to return home after the strong earthquake which struck northern Chile, a Swedish foreign ministry official said.

Lagos had held talks with Swedish Prime Minster Göran Persson on Monday aimed at strengthening trade ties and technological cooperation between the two countries.

However he cancelled the rest of his Swedish itinerary, which included a luncheon with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and also visits to the Netherlands and Spain.

Lagos had also planned to meet International Criminal Court president Philippe Kirsch in The Hague.

At least eight people were killed on Monday in the earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale and whose epicenter was located deep in the Andes mountains, near Chile’s border with Peru.