Venezuela Denies Giving Refuge to Gadhafi Amid Libya Unrest

Britain's foreign secretary said earlier that he had 'seen information suggesting' that the Libyan leader was on his way to the South American country.

A senior source in President Hugo Chavez's government on Monday denied reports that Libyan President Muammar Gadhafi was in Venezuela, amid the unrest that has swept the North African country over the last week.

The Caracas government "denies such information," the source told Reuters.

Libyan President Moammer Gadhafi

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Kayem also denied the reports as " groundless. It has no basis."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said earlier that he had seen some information to Gadhafi had fled his own country and was on his way to Venezuela.

"You asked me earlier about whether Colonel Gaddafi is in Venezuela," he told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"I have no information that says he is, but I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there at the moment."

Diplomats said Hague was not referring to rumors circulating in the media about Gaddafi's whereabouts, but to separate sources for the information.

But European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton dismissed Hague's claim, saying she knew nothing about it.

EU officials who attended the ministerial meeting also described the report as
unfounded rumors.

Approximately 223 people have been killed since demonstrations began in Libya seven days ago, in clashes with forces loyal to the long-time leader.