28 Aug 2009

Countries deny they will attend Libyan celebration

2:59 pm on 28 August 2009

One of the organisers of a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of Muammar Gaddafi's government in Libya says the French and Russian Presidents are expected to attend.

Colonel Gaddafi came to power in a coup on 1 September 1969.

However, France denies that President Nicolas Sarkozy would attend, and Russia said President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would also stay away.

Officials in Rome have confirmed that Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi will be in Tripoli.

They say his visit is to mark the first anniversary of a friendship treaty with Libya.

Many African heads of state are also expected to attend. They will be in Libya in any case, for a summit meeting of the African Union.