Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi unleashed a diatribe against the United Nations Security Council but took a shinning to America's new president in his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi addresses the general debate at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Sept. 23, 2009. The 64th session of the UN General Assembly kicked off its general debate on Wednesday. [Shen Hong/Xinhua]
Taking the podium for the first time at the UN in his four-decade rule, Qaddafi focused the first part of his one-and-a-half hour speech on denouncing the veto power of the Security Council, saying that he would not accept the veto power of the Permanent Members of the Security Council.
Calling the 15-nation Council, of which Libya is a member, a "terror council," Qaddafi alleged that powerful nations hide under the blue cloak to protect their interests and instigate terror against those more vulnerable.
"The Security Council since its establishment did not provide us with security but on the contrary provides us with terror and sanctions," he said, holding an Arabic version of the UN Charter. "It is used against us only. For this reason, we are not committed to adhere to UN resolutions."
Qaddafi, who came to power in 1969, was subjected to US and UN sanctions in the 1980s and 1990s for his country's alleged links to terrorism.
Relations, however, have since warmed. In 2003, the UN lifted its sanctions and in 2004, the United States resumed diplomatic ties after Libya publicly renounced weapons of mass destruction.
Qaddafi, who is known for his rambling and flamboyant speeches, appeared to ad lib the majority of his speech, glancing every so often at a hand-written piece of paper. At some points, he rummaged through his pile of papers and muttered something about making a point already.
The Libyan leader blamed colonial powers for the unbalanced power in the United Nations and demanded that European nations pay Africa 7.7 trillion US dollars in compensation for acts of slavery.
Dressed in a brown tunic and donning a black badge of Africa, Qaddafi suggested that Libya be given a permanent seat on the Security Council -- to much applause in the GA chamber. But then he also proposed that the Council be made subordinate to a reinvigorated General Assembly. He did not outline a clear strategy.
Turning his attention to the United States, Qaddafi called US President Barack Obama a "glimmer in the dark," but said he was afraid that after "our son" left office, relations between the two countries would sour.
"Can you guarantee how America will be governed after Obama?" he asked. "We would be happy if Obama could stay forever."
Qaddafi then suggested that the General Assembly debate be relocated, perhaps to Libya. That way, he said, he and other heads of state would not be jet lagged. He said he awoke this morning at 4 a.m. because of the time difference and was extremely tired.
The Libyan leader also said in a mocking tone that moving the debate would help shoulder the American's heavy burden of providing security. This, he said, would be their privilege.
As Qaddafi gave his speech, relatives of those who died in the Lockerbie, Scotland bombing protested outside the UN headquarters. Many are angry that the Libyan leader was granted a visa just months after the man convicted for the 1988 bombing, Abdel Baset al Megrahi, arrived in Tripoli to a jubilant welcome.
A Scottish judge released Megrahi on compassionate grounds, igniting condemnation from the United States.
(Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2009)