Chairman of the Freedom and Democracy Foundation NGO, Tomasz Pisula, told Polish Radio this morning that speculation that Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi could flee Tripoli for Belarus is a “realistic scenario”.
“Leaders of totalitarian regimes stick together,” Pisula said, following claims by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute that Gaddafi’s private jet had flown to Minsk on at least two occasions recently.
“What we know for a fact is that within the last seven days Gaddafi's own aircraft has made at least two flights from Tripoli to Belarus,” the institute’s Hugh Griffiths told Swedish television, citing “numerous sources” in Europe and the US.
Belarus’s President Aleksander Lukashenko and Muammar Gaddafi have shared good relations over the years, including signing trade deals and agreements on educational initiatives.
Hugh Griffiths from the Stockholm based institute – which tracks movements of arms across the world – said: "The [Libyan] aircraft came from a dedicated military base that only handles stockpiled weaponry and military equipment.”
Arms trading to Libya was legal until the weekend when the UN prohibited further shipments until the Gaddafi regime falls.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Minsk dismissed speculation that Belarus was either continuing to trade arms or was preparing to give Gaddafi and his family exile as “lies”.
"Lies about Belarus have started appearing in foreign media in the last few days. First they invented Belarusian mercenaries in Libya then they invented a plane with gold and diamonds from Libya landing in Minsk, today they accused [us] of defying the United Nations Security Council sanctions," said ministry spokesman in Minsk, Andrei Savinykh.
Tomasz Pisula from Poland’s Freedom and Democracy Foundation said that though it was not impossible that President Lukashenko may give Gaddafi asylum, the warmer weather in “either Iran or Venezuala” made those nations more likely destinations. (pg)