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Friday, 13 July, 2001, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Gaddafi driven to support Mugabe
Gaddafi and Mugabe at the African Union summit
Gaddafi drove the 500km from Lusaka to Harare
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is visiting Zimbabwe to assess the impact of fuel shortages on the country.

He has also been speaking out strongly in support of President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform programme.

Talks were expected between the two leaders on Friday, but Colonel Gaddafi's itinerary has been shrouded in secrecy, with only the state media allowed to follow his visit.

Colonel Gaddafi arrived in a convoy of at least 80 vehicles on Thursday, having driven 500km from neighbouring Zambia where he had been attending a summit of African leaders.

Gaddafi came by road because he wanted to see for himself how serious our fuel problem is

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
The Libyan leader will, according to the state owned Herald newspaper, discuss the possibility of Libya providing petroleum products to Zimbabwe. Libya is a major-oil producing nation.

According to the Associated Press news agency, Colonel Gaddafi's motorcade was guarded by Zimbabwe military helicopters and escorted by armoured cars, police vehicles and motorcycle outriders during his trip from Lusaka.

Ban on air travel

Mr Mugabe visited the Libyan leader several times during UN sanctions against Libya that included a ban on commercial air travel.

Mr Mugabe once drove across the border from Egypt in an official motorcade to show support for Libya.

He said his Libyan counterpart "came by road because he wanted to see for himself how serious our fuel problem is. He does not want to see Zimbabwe under economic sanctions as proposed by the British."

Most western donors and financial institutions have suspended aid in protest at the illegal invasions and seizure of white-owned farms as well as political violence.

Farming towns

The land occupations have led to a shortage of export crops.

Economic activity has been badly hit causing a shortage of hard currency to buy imports like medicines and fuel.

Zimbabwe should be for Zimbabweans. Africa for Africans... Whites have no place in Africa.

Libyan Leader Col Gaddafi

During his journey to Harare on Thursday, Colonel Gaddafi's black limousine stopped briefly at two provincial farming towns.

He told ruling party groups there that he supported President Mugabe's programme to seize white-owned farms for the resettlement of impoverished, landless blacks.

He told them: "Zimbabwe should be for Zimbabweans. Africa for Africans. This is our sacred land... We died for it and the whites have no place in Africa as they belong in Europe.

Libya gave Zimbabwe $100 million last year.

See also:

18 Jun 01 | Africa
Fuel protest in Zimbabwe
06 Jul 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe targets all white farms
05 Jul 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe admits food crisis
10 Jun 01 | Africa
Farm invasion threatens business
09 Jul 01 | Africa
Q&A: African Union
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