Venezuela’s embassy in Tripoli not sacked despite Chavez claim

Venezuela's embassy in Tripoli has been neither attacked nor sacked, an AFP correspondent said Thursday, contradicting claims made by President Hugo Chavez, a key ally of deposed leader Moammar Qaddafi.

The embassy was intact, with no trace of looting, burning or violence, and rebels standing guard in the street outside.

One of the rebels said that fellow fighters had been by on previous days since they entered the capital last week, believing that Qaddafi had sought refuge inside after entering through secret tunnels.

"That's nonsense," the rebel said.

Chavez on Wednesday alleged that his mission in Tripoli had been "assaulted and totally sacked," citing the ambassador.

"We must demand respect for the integrity first of our ambassador and all the personnel who work there," Chavez said.

Chavez has been an unyielding opponent of a NATO air campaign against Qaddafi and has extended his personal support to the Libyan leader on numerous occasions during the six-month-long uprising against him.

Qaddafi's whereabouts have remained a mystery since rebels stormed Tripoli this week, and overran his compound in the center of the city.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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