Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi considers the US president a blessing to the Muslim world. In a speech published in London-based al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday, Gaddafi praised Barack Obama, called him a "friend" and said there is no longer any dispute between his country and the US.
Speaking in the Libyan city of Sirt at an event marking the 24th anniversary of an American attack on Libya, he said, "At the time, we were the target of the American cannon, the American navy challenged us in the gulf of Sirt and attacked us all along Libya's shores. America tested Libya, and the Libyan people resisted the large country, but today, thank God, the difference is great."
He said, "Now, ruling America is a black man from our continent, an African from Arab descent, from Muslim descent, and this is something we never imagined – that from Reagan we would get to Barakeh Obama."
Gaddafi stressed that Obama's presidency is "a major historical gain" and said, "He is someone I consider a friend. He knows he is a son of Africa. Regardless of his African belonging, he is of Arab Sudanese descent, or of Muslim descent. He is a man whose policy should be supported, and he should be assisted in implementing it in any way possible, since he is now leaning towards peace."
He continued, "I urge all peoples to give him this chance and to support this policy, because America is a country that, when its policy is bad – harms the world, and when it is good – it helps the world."
The Libyan leader also expressed hopes that, "the dream that Obama has for a world free of nuclear weapons will come true. This is something that no previous American president has proposed. Obama is a man who opposes wars that previous American presidents were entangled in; he has declared that he will withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq – something which has never been proposed before."
Despite the warm sentiments towards the American leader, he stressed, "The Arabs hate America, there is no doubt. There is not an Arab that loves America, and even the leaders who the United States considers allies or friends – hate it. The external love is merely hypocrisy or pragmatism. The reason for this is clear – Palestine."
In this context he said, "The Palestinians today are like the Jews of the past – dispersed in exile and persecuted. Now the Palestinians are at a point where they deserve to have the United States on their side and not on the side of the Israelis."
He reiterated his demand to allow the millions of Palestinian refugees around the world to return to the land where, according to his vision, a nuke-free democratic state by the name of Isratine should be established.