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    Libya says Russia emerging as counterbalance to U.S. dominance

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    Libya said the conflict in Georgia and its breakaway republic of South Ossetia has signaled an end to the dominance of the United States in global affairs, a Russian daily reported on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, August 14 (RIA Novosti) - Libya said the conflict in Georgia and its breakaway republic of South Ossetia has signaled an end to the dominance of the United States in global affairs, a Russian daily reported on Thursday.

    "What happened in Georgia is a good sign, which means America is no longer the sole world power setting the rules of the game," the Libyan president's eldest son Seif al Islam Qaddafi said in an interview with Kommersant.

    "There is a balance in the world now. Russia is resurging, which is good for us, for the entire Middle East," said Seif al Islam, who runs the Qaddafi Foundation, a non-governmental body, told the paper.

    He said the Arab world has welcomed the withdrawal from Iraq by Georgian troops, describing the Caucasus state, which enjoys strong backing from the U.S., as "an occupier."

    Georgia, which announced the withdrawal of its contingent of 2,000 personnel from Iraq over fighting with Russia, maintained the third largest force in the embattled Middle East country after the U.S. and Britain.

    Western nations have strongly criticized Russia for a "disproportionate" use of force in its counterattack against Georgia's military offensive, aimed at regaining control of the separatist region.

    Moscow has accused the West of bias and injustice, saying it had no choice but to reinforce its peacekeepers in the region and protect the civilian population.

    Russia said at least 1,600 civilians and 74 Russian troops were killed in South Ossetia, and tens of thousands were forced to flee the region during the fighting. Georgia has reported 60 civilian deaths in the city of Gori, near the South Ossetian border, after Russia bombed an arms depot on Saturday.

    Libya, notorious for its poor human rights record, has improved ties with the West in recent years. American oil giants are lavishly investing in the desert nation, which holds the largest oil reserves in Africa. Weapons producers have also been in fierce competition with each other for Libya's lucrative market.

    Libya's reinvigorated contacts with Russia have worried the West that fears the North African state could join a natural gas cartel proposed by Russia and other gas producers, influencing prices.

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