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article imageGuinea Bassau promises a warm welcome to Gaddafi

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 11, 2011 in World
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has vowed to never leave the land of his ancestors. If he changes his mind though and fancies trying out exile, he will receive a warm welcome from the West African republic of Guinea Bissau.
As the hunt goes on for Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the West African Republic of Guinea Bassau has promised a warm welcome if the ousted Libyan leader opts to take up the offer of exile there. The country would be a safe haven against the reach of the International Criminal Court which has a warrant out for Gaddafi’s arrest, as it is not a signatory of the Rome Statute.
On Saturday Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior made a statement welcoming Gaddafi, as he attended the inauguration of Jorges Carlos Fonesca as the new president of Cape Verde. Alaribiya reports Gomes Junior said Gaddafi “Deserves all the respect of our government who will host him with open arms. He will be welcome in our country, if he needs exile in our country.” Gomes Junior went on to criticize NATO air strikes as a “Flagrant violation of the rights of a sovereign country. Behind this is the fact that Westerners want Libyan oil.”As one of the poorest countries in the world Guinea Bassau has benefited from the acknowledged friendship with Gaddafi, who visited in 2009 to support the presidential campaign of Malam Bacai Sanha. The president is currently recuperating from a hospital stay in neighboring Senegal according to Reuters.
Guinea Bassau has welcomed Libyan investment and is now demonstrating its loyalty for past favors. The green flag of Libya flies again after a brief raising of the rebel flag. The Telegraph reported that last week Gaddafi vowed "Gaddafi won't leave the land of his ancestors," but if he did choose to take at least temporary exile in Guinea Bassau he would find certain similarities to the Libya he claimed 42 years ago.
According to CIA statistics the former Portuguese colony has a population of just 1.6 million but boasts unexploited deposits of petroleum. The Guineans have comparatively low literacy rates but are enjoying a period of relative stability under Sanha. Drug trafficking is becoming one of the most lucrative trades.
Whatever charges are thrown against Gaddafi he successfully turned Libya around from one of the poorest countries in the world to the second richest nation in Africa. The Guineans may well be tempted to take his advice on running the republic if they lure him to seek refuge there.
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