Libya's Gaddafi in Belarus, Lukashenko calls for "multipolar" world

Belarusian President Aleksander LukashenkoMinsk - Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko called for a "multipolar world" not dominated by any superpower, upon Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi's arrival in the former Soviet republic.

Gaddafi was in the Belarusian capital Minsk on the first of a two-day official visit.

Lukashenko, isolated internationally because of his authoritarian regime, in a welcome statement to Gaddafi argued smaller countries must band together, to block hegemony by a major country.

State-controlled Belarusian television broadcast live much of the pomp and ceremony from the Libyan visit. Announcers called Gaddafi's presence "evidence Belarus has an important role to play in the world."

Much of the Belarusian leadership - Lukashenko included - was until recently unable to visit most developed nations, because of Western retaliation for Belarus' poor human rights record.

Gaddafi's remarks in response were muted, the Libyan leader saying he was "pleased with how Belarusian-Libyan relations are developing," according to a Belapan news agency report.

Lukashenko and Gaddafi were scheduled to discuss trade relations, legal cooperation, and exchanges on communications technologies.

Gaddafi had visited Russia prior to Belarus, and was scheduled to travel onwards to Ukraine on Tuesday. (dpa)