Published on AP, by FABIOLA SANCHEZ (AP), 29 sept 2009.
PORLAMAR, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi signed a declaration Monday night decrying what they call attempts by powerful Western countries to equate struggles against colonialism with terrorism.
In the declaration, Venezuela and Libya “reject intentions to link the legitimate struggle of the people for liberty and self-determination” with terrorism, but also adds that they “reiterate the importance of countering terrorism in all its forms.”
Neither of the two leaders commented publicly on the document. It does not specifically name any Western country, but Gadhafi mentioned both the United States and Britain during a speech after the signing.
During many of his 40 years in power, Gadhafi was accused of harboring terrorists and hosting militant training camps while sponsoring terrorist attacks. But the Libyan leader has taken steps in recent years to mend relations with the West, and says his government renounces terrorism and rejects being labeled as a sponsor of terrorist acts.
Chavez, meanwhile, has been accused by Colombia and the United States of supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been seeking to overthrow governments in Bogota for 45 years.
The Venezuelan leader denies aiding the FARC. He claims the United States is using Colombia as part of a broader plan to portray him as a supporter of terrorist groups to provide justification for a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela …
… Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya since he seized power in a 1969 coup, has sought a higher profile internationally in recent years and is currently chairman of the African Union.
During his speech at the rally Monday night, he criticized the “imperialism” of some wealthy countries, singling out the United States and Britain, and he repeated his denunciation of last week calling the U.N. Security Council an elite club where nations such as Libya have no voice.
“They do not give any importance to the (U.N.) General Assembly,” Gadhafi said. They think they are above all the nations of the world.”
Gadhafi also condemned the war in Afghanistan, predicting a defeat for NATO forces.
“Now they are waging wars in Afghanistan. We are totally against terrorism, without any doubt,” he said. “Are they going to conquer in Afghanistan? It’s impossible. Until the Day of Reckoning, they will never conquer.” (full text).