The European Union’s foreign ministers have been grasping for a common strategy over Libya. They are grappling with a threat by its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, to end efforts to hold back illegal immigration to Europe from north African shores, if Europe supports the opposition surge in Libya.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague told journalists:
“You asked me earlier about whether Colonel Gaddafi is in Venezuela. I have no information that says he is, but I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there.”
Venezuela has denied this.
With the Europeans struggling to form a united front, foreign policy high representative Catherine Ashton left the ministers’ meeting in Brussels to fly to Egypt.
Ashton said: “We are extremely concerned by the events which are unfolding in Libya. We condemn the on-going repression against demonstrators, and deplore the violence and the death of civilians.”
Ashton is scheduled to meet Egyptian officials, opposition leaders, youth groups and women’s groups. British Prime Minister David Cameron, at the start of a Middle East tour, got to Cairo before her, the first leader to visit Egypt since Hosni Mubarak was forced out as president.