07 January 2004

The Qaddafi factor: "Turning Western moralizing on its head, Qaddafi stated that 'there are, however, some practices in Europe which we cannot accept, like boxing, wrestling and bull-fighting. These are disgusting practices.'"
Qaddafi is a weirdo, but a smart weirdo. Watch this guy.
Most substantively, however, Qaddafi was critical of previous Euro-African agreements. "What is called 'partnership' or five plus five, Francophone Africa, Anglophone Africa, and Barcelona are colonialist projects. The African continent is one whole unit. We cannot accept it divided up under any name or project."

The remarks were all the more eyebrow raising since Libya is thought to want to join the Euro-Mediterranean partnership process, of which the 1995 Barcelona accord is the foundation.

European Commission head Romano Prodi, who's been serving as a sort of unofficial sponsor for Qaddafi in his dealings with European states, was not amused. Earlier in the year Prodi had tried to sponsor a Qaddafi tour of Europe but it was cancelled for lack of enthusiasm on the part of the host states. After Qaddafi spoke, Prodi stated that he was "strongly disappointed" by the Libyan's remarks, which went "against everything he had told me in private when we had our meeting" earlier during the summit.

Surely Prodi can figure out that Qaddafi, like Sadat seeking an agreement with Israel, has to position himself vis-a-vis the Arab world and can't be seen to be too much on the "other" side.