Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Lukashenko’

Belarus – not Venezuela – maybe Gaddafi’s bolt-hole

March 1, 2011

Soon after it was reported last week that Gaddafi was on his way to Venezuela, Hugo Chavez was forced to announce that this was untrue and that Gaddafi would not be given a safe haven in his country.

Yesterday the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said it suspected that arms were being transported from Belarus to Gaddafi and other reports implied that Gaddafi or his family could be shifting valuables and some family members to Belarus. AP reports:

An arms trade watchdog says it suspects Libya received a shipment of military equipment from Belarus as Moammar Gadhafi’s regime started a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, said Monday that an Ilyushin 76 aircraft left a military base near the Belarusian city of Baranovichi and landed at the Libyan airport of Sebha in mid-February.

That was before the U.N. Security Council adopted a weapons embargo on Libya.

“The aircraft came from a dedicated military base that only handles stockpiled weaponry and military equipment,” SIPRI arms trafficking expert Hugh Griffiths said.

The Sebha airport where the plane landed is Gadhafi’s “key military logistics space in southern Libya,” Griffiths said, adding the area is controlled by a tribe loyal to the Libyan leader.

He also said a Libyan government plane has made two flights to Belarus in the past week, though it was unclear who was on board or what cargo it was carrying.

SIPRI closely monitors weapons transfers around the world. Its annual yearbook is considered one of the most authoritative reviews on the global arms trade.

Other reports from Israel were about Gaddafis executive jet:

Dassault Falcon 900B: image wikipedia

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports in its Hebrew edition today that the private Dassault Falcon jet 5A-DCN belonging to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had flown to Minsk, in Belarus.

MaltaToday has established that the Gaddafi jet had been monitored around Malta’s flight information region.

According to a new flight-plan filed this morning, the 5A-DCN – which landed in Minsk on Friday afternoon – was destined to arrive in Tripoli at 12:30pm, having left Minsk at 9:30am (CET). The plane is believed to have landed in Mitiga airport, east of Tripoli.

Air spotters on Twitter and internet fora today noted that the Dassault Falcon had been “heard working with Hungarian and later Malta air control”.

Haaretz reported that it was unclear whether this was the same plane which the Lebanese transport minister had refused landing last Wednesday in Beirut. The plane was believed to be carrying a Gaddafi family member.

The Maltese government this week also denied that the name of Gaddafi’s daughter Aisha had been among the 14 passengers refused landing in Malta on Thursday.

The Dassault Falcon jet is one of three planes used by Gaddafi – the other two are an Airbus 300 and 340. It is unclear who was flying on the Falcon jet.

Haaretz reports that Belarus hosts the last dictatorship in Europe and that President Alexander Lukashenko is “a close ally of Libya militarily, economically and politically.”

“Belarus is a country of refugee dictators. Controversial figures hosted in the past include the deposed president of Kyrgyzstan, Courmnbeak Kiev, and the Holocaust denier Jürgen Graf. Belarus had also agreed to grant asylum to Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, who was a close ally of Lukashenko,” Haaretz said.

Today Belarus was emphatically denying all such reports. Belarus is already under sanctions and just this publicity may make it impossible for Gaddafi to use this country as a sanctuary but perhaps many family members will end up in Balarus. Swedish radio reports today suggested that one family member is already in Minsk.

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