European leaders to shun Kadhafi celebrations
European states dismissed on Thursday claims by Libya that they are set to dispatch top leaders to celebrations in Tripoli for the 40th anniversary of Moamer Kadhafi's regime. According to AFP, Paris said that President Nicolas Sarkozy would not attend. Sarkozy's office said the president would be represented by an official "of a rank which has yet to be decided."
Moscow conveyed President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would also stay away. "President Medvedev was invited to attend the ceremony in Libya but his agenda was already fixed and he will not go to Libya," a source in the Russian presidential administration was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. "On September 1, Vladimir Putin will be in Gdansk at the invitation of Poland. This visit has been agreed in advance," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax.
Italy, however, said that Premier Silvio Berlusconi is to travel to Tripoli on Sunday but there would be no official Italian representation at the Kadhafi anniversary commemorations.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has declared that he will attend the celebrations in Libya of the September 1, 1969 coup.