INTERNATIONAL. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi unleashed a diatribe against the United Nations Security Council saying the five permanent members had created a “terror council” to punish small nations.
Taking the podium for the first time at the UN in his four-decade rule, Qaddafi focused the first part of his more than 90 minutes 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.
Qaddafi tried to rip into a pocket-sized copy of the UN Charter, charging that the council’s existence violated the provision that all UN members be treated equally. He called for power to go to the General Assembly, whose rotating presidency this year is held by Libyan diplomat Ali Treki.
"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."
“Sixty-five wars broke out after the establishment of the UN and the Security Council, and the victims are millions more than the victims of World War II,” he said. “Were these wars in the interest of all of us? No, they were in the interest of one country or three countries or four countries.”
Turning to the heads of state gathered in the assembly chamber, Qaddafi said, “You are just like speakers on Hyde Park Corner” in London. “You make a speech and then disappear.”
Qaddafi, who came to power in 1969, was subjected to U.S. 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 US$7.7 trillion 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 U.S. 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 at4 a.m. because of the time difference and was extremely tired.
Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just days after Obama urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to build two states living side-by-side in peace, Qaddafi said a two-state solution was “not practicable.”
“The solution is an Arab state without religious fanaticism,” he said. “Look at Palestinian youth, look at Israeli youth -- they want peace and want to live in one state.”
Qaddafi’s speech was delayed by at least 10 minutes, as the Libyan leader stayed in his seat in the Assembly hall greeting well-wishers as Treki banged his gavel and called in vain in English and French for the delegates and heads of state to take their seats.
As diplomats returned to their seats, Treki called on security to escort the Libyan leader, whom he called “the King of Kings of Africa” and “Leader of the Revolution,” to the podium.
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.