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Gaddafi, 15 years later… in Brussels

For fifteen years since he had set foot outside Africa, the Libyan leader was yesterday on an official visit to Brussels, received with great fanfare by his “brother” Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission

The press conference of the "guide of the revolution" with Romano Prodi, the President of the European Commission (credit: CE)
The “guide to the revolution” press conference with Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission (credit: CE)

(Archives B2) The last time Muammar Gaddafi was in Europe was in 1989 at the non-Aligned summit in Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia. Suffice it to say, a century ago. And yet... The Libyan leader is still there.

Certainly, the man is a little tired, his face is wrinkled. But the “revolutionary” flame still lives. Is it the pleasant female escort around him? In any case, in their shimmering blue and black fatigues, wearing a cap of the same ilk, with black tie and belt, his four Amazons look good. Responsible for following their idol step by step, from the gangway of the white and black plane to the extended white Mercedes to the podium of the press conference, where their fatigues merge with the twelve-star European flag, their presence holds however more decorum than security.

When someone manages to get within a few centimeters of the Colonel, to hand him a letter, the proof will be made. No matter, the masterful Libyan leader shines. Opponents were kept at bay. Instead, a hundred supporters, gathered (and paid?) for the occasion, celebrated, to the rhythms of drums, the “ founder of the African Union ". And if the former support of liberation movements around the world, as he still claims, has softened somewhat, he can still address some remonstrances to the world. At the end of a long soliloquy, which served as a press conference, we were able to realize this.

After warmly thanking his “brother” Romano Prodi, the President of the European Commission who personally welcomed him on the plane's bridge, he launched an appeal to all countries “ from China to America » so that they destroy all weapons of mass destruction. “ Libya has become an example to follow » he added, not without irony, before proposing to make the Mediterranean a demilitarized zone. Affirming his country’s commitment to peace — “ those who want peace can count on us —, Gaddafi then issued a thinly disguised warning. “I hope not to be forced to go back to the days of bombings and explosive belts on men's bodies, of house arrests as we see today in Iraq and Palestine ».

Not fooled by the sudden international interest in his country, he intends to make his country rich – “Libya has the largest reserves of gas and oil”, his new axiom. " Europe needs these imports, we need European and American companies”. Moreover, from today, in the Bedouin tent set up in the royal park of the Val Duchesse castle, where he spent the night, Belgian industrialists and companies will flock in delegation.

Nicolas Gros-Verheyde – Published in France-Soir, April 2004

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).