Libya, Arab League mull Chavez mediation

Chavez proposed creating an international peace mission

CARACAS - Libya and the Arab League are considering a mediation proposal by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the North African nation, a Venezuelan minister said Thursday.
"We can confirm Libya's interest in accepting this proposal, as well as the Arab League's" interest, Information Minister Andres Izarra said.
"Today Venezuela presses ahead with its agenda in the Arab world and the world at large to seek peace in Libya," he said.
Chavez, an ally of Moamer Gathafi, recently spoke personally by telephone with Libya's embattled strongman to discuss the proposal, Izarra said.
Venezuela's president, the leader of Latin America's socialist left, on Monday proposed creating an international peace mission with forces from friendly nations to try to mediate the unrest gripping Libya and avoid civil war.
France has already rejected the Chavez mediation offer, with Foreign Minister Alain Juppe saying Thursday that "any mediation that allows Colonel Gathafi to succeed himself is obviously not welcome."
Juppe spoke after meeting in Paris with British Foreign Minister William Hague, who said he held "the view that the speediest way to bring about an end to the bloodshed is for Colonel Gathafi to leave."
Juppe stressed that Arab and African governments should also get involved in any measures aimed at stemming Gathafi's ability to use his air force to quell the protests against his regime that have been raging for more than two weeks.
Chavez said earlier this week that any foreign military intervention in Tripoli would be "a catastrophe." He routinely makes public condemnations of US "imperialism".