Chavez: Gadhafi wants U.N. to visit Libya

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    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Venezuela’s leader says Gadhafi wants to show “the reality of what’s happening”
    • Chavez has proposed sending a goodwill commission to mediate in Libya
    • The two leaders, who have a close relationship, spoke on Tuesday
    • Chavez decries “the Yankee empire that tries to dominate the world”

    (CNN) — Venezuela’s president says embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was receptive to the idea of an international commission coming to the North African country when the two heads of state spoke this week.

    “I consulted with him. I asked him if he was willing to accept a commission of countries,” Chavez said in remarks broadcast on state-run VTV Thursday night. “And he told me, ‘Look, Chavez, not only of countries; I hope the whole United Nations come here to see the reality of what’s happening before they start condemning the Libyan government or the Libyan people, before they start thinking as they are now, and preparing to invade Libya.”

    In a speech in Caracas Monday, Chavez proposed sending an international “goodwill commission” to mediate in Libya. He has not provided details about the makeup of the group, or said whether there are any plans for such a commission to travel to Libya.

    Chavez has spoken out several times since unrest erupted in Libya, accusing the United States and other countries of blowing the situation out of proportion in order to justify an invasion.

    On Thursday, Chavez described alleged preparations to invade Libya as “a madness, and in front of that madness, as always, the Yankee empire that tries to dominate the world, at the cost of fire and blood.”

    Chavez and Gadhafi have a close relationship, having bonded partly over shared opposition to U.S. global influence.

    At a lavish Tripoli celebration commemorating 40 years of Gadhafi’s leadership in 2009, the two leaders sat side-by-side during a two-hour military parade. That same year, a new football stadium in Benghazi was named after the Venezuelan leader.

    As rumors swirled about Gadhafi and his whereabouts last week, some suggested that he may be en route to Venezuela. Those reports proved to be false; the Libyan leader later spoke publicly in his country’s capital.

    But the close ties between the two leaders remain strong. On Monday, Chavez said Gadhafi “has been my friend and our friend for a long time” in remarks broadcast on Venezuelan state television.

    “We must be cautious. We know what our policy is: we do not support invasions, or massacres, or anything, no matter who does it. But there is no doubt that, regarding Libya, a campaign of lies is being woven — the same that has been woven about Venezuela for a long time,” he said.

    On Thursday. Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president, denounced what he said was the inevitable U.S.-backed invasion of Libya by NATO to get its hands on that country’s oil.

    The U.N. Security Council over the weekend voted for tough restrictions and possible war crimes charges against the Libyan regime. The United States has said all options are on the table.

    CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet and Nelson Quinones contributed to this report.


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    Chavez: Gadhafi wants U.N. to visit Libya