Gadhafi Slams Security Council in Long, Rambling Addresss

Gadhafi Slams Security Council in Long, Rambling Addresss

Published September 23, 2009

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In his first U.N. appearance, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi issued a slashing attack on the Security Council and chastised the world body on Wednesday for failing to intervene or prevent some 65 wars since the U.N. was founded in 1945.

Gadhafi called for reform of the 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, Gadhafi said.

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

His speech followed President Barack Obama's first General Assembly address, but not before a recess of some 15 minutes was called by the Libyan president of the General Assembly so diplomats could take new seats.

The U.S. Mission was represented at a low level by a note-taker and an African expert. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice departed before Gadhafi ascended the podium.

After waiting for the room to settled, Gadhafi 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.

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

The chamber was half-empty as Gadhafi gave his first speech and held a copy of the U.N. 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.

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

He railed against the "inequality" of U.N. member states, quoting from a copy of the U.N. 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, Gadhafi said the use of military power was contrary to the spirit of the U.N., unless such actions are sanctioned by the United Nations.

Since the world body was founded in 1945, Gadhafi 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, Gadhafi said.

In his lengthy speech, Gadhafi cited U.N. chapter and verse in questioning the U.N.'s lack of action to halt 65 wars -- elaborating on many of them individually.

Gadhafi 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.

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

An hour into his speech, Gadhafi complained at some length about being jet-lagged from the 10-hour flight to New York, and having to get up early for the General Assembly.

Fatigue may have been endemic. Well into Gadhafi's long, rambling speech, more than half the General Assembly seats were empty as the lunch hour arrived.

Ninety minutes into Gadhafi's speech, the exhausted translator was relieved by another simultaneous translator.

The Libyan leader's speech ran an hour and 36 minutes, no threat to the length record set by Cuban leader Fidel Casto in 1960, at 4 1/2 hours. Speakers are supposed to limit themselves to 15 minutes.

Gadhafi's fatigue may have been complicated by his uncertain sleeping arrangements. He spent Tuesday night in his Bedouin tent in the suburban Westchester town of Bedford on property leased from Donald Trump.

But town inspectors planned to visit the property Wednesday in Bedford, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Manhattan, to make sure make sure the tent has been removed.

Gadhafi will likely face protests over Scotland's recent release of Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people.

Gadhafi had wanted to pitch a tent at Libya's five-acre estate in Englewood, New Jersey, and live and entertain there during the UN assembly. But local opposition turned him away.

Later, the Libyan government asked to use Manhattan's Central Park for a tent, but the request was denied.

Written by Associated Press

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