Photo: AFP
Gadhafi at UN General Assembly
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP
Protest sign outside UN building
Photo: AFP

Gaddafi blasts big powers in UN speech

Libyan leader says UN has failed to prevent 65 wars as hundreds gather in NY to protest his speech

In his first appearance at the world body, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi chastised the United Nations on Wednesday for failing to intervene or prevent some 65 wars around the world since the world body was founded in 1945.


Gaddafi called for a reform of the Security Council – abolishing the veto power of the five permanent members – or expanding the body with additional member states to make it more representative.


"It should not be called the Security Council, it should be called the "terror council," he said.


The veto-wielding Security Council powers, the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia, treat smaller countries as "second class, despised" nations, Gaddafi said.


"Now, brothers, there is no respect for the United Nations, no regard for the General Assembly," Gaddafi said.


While the Libyan leader spoke, hundreds gathered outside the UN Headquarters to protest the speech. The demonstrators carried signs with Gadhafi's picture saying 'Terrorist' and 'Murderer'.


Many were protesting his presence in New York due to his welcoming of the 'Lockerbie terrorist' back into Libya. Abd Al-Baset Al-Megrahi, who was convicted of a plot that caused a Pan-Am flight to crash over London, killing 270 people, received a warm welcome by Gadhafi upon returning, sick with cancer, to his home country.


Many of the protestors present Wednesday were relatives of the victims of the crash, which took place in Lockerbie, Scotland. 

Protest outside UN Headquarters (Photo: AFP)


Gadhafi's speech followed President Barack Obama's first General Assembly speech, but a recess of some 15 minutes was called by the Libyan president of the General Assembly so diplomats could be take new seats.


The US Mission was represented by two low- to mid-ranking diplomats. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Ambassador Susan Rice departed before Gadhafi ascended the podium.


After waiting for the room to settled, Gaddafi rose and swept his robe over him and strode to the stage, using the handrail on his way up. He wore a shiny black pin in the shape of Africa pinned over his heart, on his brown and tan Bedouin robes.


Gaddafi laid the yellow folder in front of him and opened some of the handwritten pages as he received scattered applause.


'The king of kings'

The chamber was half-empty as Gaddafi gave his first speech and held a copy of the UN Charter in his hands, each with a large, shiny ring. For a moment, it seemed he lost his place in his speech while he sorted through the pages of his yellow folder.


He appeared to be speaking without a text, looking at a set of notes before him on handwritten pages. He was not reading from the TelePrompTer.


Gaddafi welcomed Obama as the leader of the host nation for UN Headquarters, and hailed Obama's maiden UN General Assembly speech.


He railed against the "inequality" of UN member states, quoting from a copy of the UN Charter that calls for equality of nations, and then noting that five nations hold veto power on the Security Council and can block actions contrary to their interests: the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.


Speaking rapid-fire Arabic, Gaddafi said the use of military power was contrary to the spirit of the UN, unless such actions are sanctioned by the United Nations.


Since the world body was founded in 1945, Gaddafi said it had failed to prevent or intervene in dozens of wars around the world.


"But 65 aggressive wars took place without any collective action by the United Nations to prevent them, Gaddafi said.


Gaddafi was dressed in flowing brown robe, and a black beret that he patted at times. As he listened to speeches before he took the stage, aides huddled around him; he kept his glasses, a red handkerchief and a rumpled yellow folder in front of him on the desk.


There was a commotion in the room as President Barack Obama appeared. Gaddafi lightly applauded with others then listened raptly with the earpiece held to his left ear.


Gaddafi, introduced as the "king of kings" by his countryman and assembly president Ali Treki, remained in his seat for long after the introduction.


פרסום ראשון: 09.23.09, 18:54
 new comment
This will delete your current comment