This file photo shows Libyan embattled ruler Muammar Gaddafi (L) and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Source: Press TV
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has denounced the Western-led military operation on Libya, saying that the West's intervention is aimed at seizing the North African country's huge oil reserves.
"They want to seize Libya's oil and they care nothing about the lives of the Libyan people," Chavez said on state TV on Saturday as a five-country coalition, including the United States, France, Britain, Canada and Italy, launched strikes on Libya aimed to cripple the country's ruler Muammar Gaddafi's air defenses.
"These are the men of war ... what irresponsibility. Behind this is the hand of the United States and its European allies, instead of taking the path that we have modestly proposed," he added, Reuters reported.
Chavez announced a peace plan this month for crisis-hit Libya and said his friend Gaddafi supported foreign mediation.
Chavez's plan fizzled after Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, said they did not need help from friends in the South American oil exporting nation who lived very far away and had “no idea” about Libya.
Meanwhile, France said allied warplanes launched operations to stop Gaddafi's forces from attacking the city of Benghazi.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the military operations by France, Britain, the United States and Canada, and backed by Arab nations, would continue unless the Libyan leader's forces cease fire.
Chavez denounced the military operations as a "pulverization" of international law and as a dangerous and unwarranted intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
"Another imposition of the warmongering policies of the Imperial Yankee and its allies is unfortunate, and it is unfortunate that the United Nations endorses the war, in contravention of its fundamental principles," Chavez said.
Libyan anti-government forces, inspired by revolutions that toppled authoritarian rulers in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, are fighting to unseat Gaddafi after suffering under his despotic rule for over 41 years.
Late February reports by human rights groups said that more than 6,000 people were killed in the first two weeks of crackdown on the anti-government protesters.
Pro-Gaddafi forces have launched airstrikes against revolutionary forces in the past weeks claiming the lives of hundreds more.