Venezuela officials denies Gadhafi on his way

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez waves as Libya's President Moammar Gadhafi, left, looks on during the official photo at the Africa and South America Summit, ASA, in Porlamar Margarita Island, Venezuela, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos) (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

February 21, 2011 11:32:02 AM PST
Venezuela's information minister on Monday denied suggestions that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was headed to the South American country.

Andres Izarra said in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press that "it's false" that Gadhafi is flying to Venezuela. He did not elaborate.

Izarra was responding to inquiries about a statement by Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague, who said he had seen "some information to suggest" Gadhafi was on his way to Venezuela.

Hague spoke after a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday which sharply condemned Libyan authorities for their crackdown against pro-democracy protesters.

But EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton dismissed Hague's claim, saying she knew nothing about it.

EU officials who attended the ministerial meeting also described the report as "unfounded rumors."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is an ally of Gadhafi.

Chavez, who shares Gadhafi's antagonistic stance toward the United States, last met with his Libyan counterpart in October during a trip to Tripoli, where officials signed economic cooperation agreements.

During his visit to Libya Chavez received an honorary degree from Tripoli's Academy of Higher Education.