Gaddafi takes in French songstress' show in Moscow visit

Other News Materials 2 November 2008 15:21 (UTC +04:00)

Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi spent the last evening of his official visit to Moscow on Saturday at a concert of the French singer Mireille Mathieu with one of her long-time fans - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, dpa reported.

Gaddafi is on a three-day visit to Russia, in a move expected to reprise cordial Soviet-era relations between the two states, and lead to purchases of weapons by Libya.

Putin, 56, and Gaddafi, 66 went backstage to visit the 62-year-old chanteuse, who enjoyed considerable fame in Russia in the years of the Soviet Union. The two leaders reportedly conversed with Mathieu on the topic, among others, of the beauty of Paris.

Mathieu then joined the one-time African revolutionary and the former KGB agent on a walk through the Kremlin garden to Gaddafi's Bedouin tent, in which he customarily resides during official visits overseas, for tea, according to the Interfax news agency.

Prime Minister Putin remarked that "I don't think Mireille was ever in a Bedouin tent before," to which Mathieu replied that one ought to make a wish when one is somewhere for the first time.

On the relationship between Russia and Libya, Putin said to Gaddafi, "the fact that you have pitched your tent within the Kremlin walls shows that we are now much closer together," according to Interfax.

Gaddafi has signalled that on his visit to Russia he is hoping for closer cooperation on oil and gas sector matters. Russia is reportedly hoping Libya will back its plans for a gas-producers cartel with Iran and Qatar.

A contract of more than 2 billion dollars for the delivery of Russian SU-30 fighter jets, T-90 battle tanks and other weapons to Libya was considered to be on the table during the visit, business daily Vedemosti said, citing a source at Russia's state technology agency.

Advanced Russian Tor-M2E surface-to-air missile systems may be part of the weapons deal, the paper said.

Another business daily, Kommersant, said that Libya was prepared to grant Russia's request to establish a naval base for its fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

Moscow in April agreed to write off Tripoli's 4.6 billion dollar debt in exchange for various business contracts in Libya, including road construction, housing and other infrastructure projects.