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Report: Gadhafi offers Russia navy base

MOSCOW, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Libya has offered to host a Russian naval base and plans to purchase billions of dollars in military hardware, Russian sources told the Kommersant newspaper.

An unnamed Russian military official was quoted in the Moscow-based Kommersant business daily as saying Libya "is ready" to let the Russian Navy use a Libyan port "as a guarantee of non-aggression against Libya from the United States," Med Basin Newsline reported Monday.

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The official told Kommersant that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is willing to host the Russians because the United States "is not in a hurry to embrace Gadhafi despite gestures of reconciliation."

Libya is also interested in buying air defense systems, combat aircraft and warships from Russia, Mikhail Dmitriyev, director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told Med Basin Newsline.

Gadhafi, who is on a three-day trip, was set Monday to meet with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk. Lukashenko greeted Gadhafi on his arrival in the country Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.

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