Chavez discusses mediation with Gaddafi

Last Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 14:27

Caracas: President Hugo Chavez has spoken
with Moamer Gaddafi about creating a bloc of friendly
countries to help mediate a resolution to Libya`s crisis,
Venezuela`s information minister said.

Venezuela`s leader, who has forged close ties with
Gaddafi and refused to condemn him for his crackdown on
protesters, spoke with the Libyan leader on Tuesday,
Information Minister Andres Izarra said through Twitter.
Venezuela has already reached out to its allies in Latin
America and beyond to discuss the creation of a friendly bloc
of nations dubbed the Committee of Peace to mediate the
crisis.

Venezuelan officials did not say how Gaddafi had
responded to the proposal.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said the creation of such
a bloc could help resolve the conflict in Libya, adding that
his government felt diplomacy rather than military threats
should be used to end the violence sweeping the North African
nation.

Maduro criticised US and European Union officials for
adopting policies aimed at isolating Gaddafi and raising the
possibility of providing military support to Libyans rebelling
against the embattled leader.

Such policies "point at giving the empire authorization
for an invasion against the Libyan people," Maduro said,
according to the state-run AVN news agency.

Chavez who shares a mutual opposition to Washington with
Gaddafi has he won`t cave into international pressure to
condemn Gaddafi and he has warned that Washington is preparing
a military invasion of Libya.
"Hopefully in the coming days we could create a committee
of friendly countries that go to talk with the government of
Col. Gaddafi as well as the opposition that his taken up arms
in some regions," Maduro said.

Officials in Washington and Europe have not publicly
raised the possibility of a military invasion.

Gaddafi has warned against US or other Western
intervention, vowing to turn Libya into "another Vietnam," and
saying any foreign troops coming into his country "will be
entering hell and they will drown in blood."

In a speech to chanting and clapping supporters in
Tripoli on yesterday, Gaddafi lashed out against Europe and
the United States for their pressure on him to step down,
warning that "thousands of Libyans will die" if US and NATO
forces intervene in the conflict.

Venezuela`s opposition has strongly criticized Chavez
for his close relationship to Gaddafi.

Earlier this week, a coalition of opposition parties
warned that Chavez`s failure to take a stand against Gaddafi`s
violent crackdown is smearing Venezuela`s reputation abroad.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 14:27

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