Libyan Leader in Minsk Visit

ria novostiPutin and Gadhafi holding talks inside the Libyan leader's tent in the Kremlin's Tainitsky Park on Saturday evening.
MINSK — Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi joined Belarus' president in lamenting U.S. dominance of world affairs Monday during a tour aimed at securing new weapons and energy deals in the former Soviet Union.

Gadhafi is on a trip to Belarus, Russia and Ukraine that appears aimed at spurring competition between the countries for the best terms on arms and trade deals while seeking to rekindle the Cold War ties his energy-rich nation had with the Soviet Union.

Gadhafi may also be trying to increase the competitive pressure on Western companies, which have been seeking trade ties with Libya since it emerged from international isolation five years ago.

Both Libya and Belarus have faced criticism from the United States and other Western countries for alleged violations of human rights.

"The world has become unipolar because of violations of the balance of power," Gadhafi said in the Belarussian capital. "Nobody observes the principles of the United Nations, all international norms are being violated."

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been dubbed "Europe's last dictator" in the West, warmly welcomed Gadhafi, calling him "Brother Moammar," and declaring that "all ideas for cooperation are on the table" between Belarus and Libya.


Alexei Druzhinin / RIA Novosti / AP
The two leaders greeting the crowd at a Kremlin concert earlier that night.


The two leaders oversaw the signing of several agreements on taxes, communications and other areas. There was no mention of any military agreements.

Still, former Defense Minister Pavel Kozlovsky said Lukashenko was likely to hide any potential military cooperation with Libya from public view.

"Warm relations with Lukashenko and their status as world outcasts can only help … Belarus and Libya reach a deal," Kozlovsky said.

n Standard & Poor's said Monday that it revised its outlook on the sovereign credit ratings on Belarus to negative from stable.

At the same time, the B+ foreign currency and BB local currency long-term and the B short-term sovereign credit ratings were affirmed, the ratings agency said.