He did not repeat his earlier calls for the creation of a United States of Africa or the "abolition" of Switzerland – as he claims most of that country’s banks are "safe havens" for ill-gotten gains.
General Assembly on Wednesday was in some ways predictable, but only in that it
was long on rhetoric and short on substance.
In a rambling statement, the loquacious Gaddafi thrashed the big powers for
their veto powers, rebuked the United States for its military involvement in
Iraq and Afghanistan, and reiterated his call for the 53-member African Union
(AU) to be given a veto-wielding permanent seat on the Security Council.
At the AU election last February, the flamboyant Gaddafi, 67, was hailed as the
“king of kings” – an honor he readily accepted, perhaps as his political
Long reputed for his eccentricity, on Wednesday Gaddafi, who has ruled Libya since 1967, wore a shiny black pin
pinned on his chest, and his trademark brown and tan Bedouin robes.
He did not repeat his earlier calls for of a United
Africa or the “abolition” of Switzerland – as he claims most of that country’s
banks are “safe havens” for ill-gotten gains.
But he did catalogue a list of “injustices” committed, mostly by Western powers
accused of “looting” the economic resources of countries they occupied as
one-time colonial powers.
In his early remarks, Gaddafi suggested the H1N1 flu or swine flu virus was
created in a US military laboratory, though he later claimed it was
creation of . “What’s next? Fish flu?” he asked
He asserted that al-Qaeda’s , who is described as a mastermind
of the terrorist attacks on
States in 2001, is “not a Taliban nor an
“So why invade Afghanistan?” asked Gaddafi, who recently celebrated the 40th
anniversary of a bloodless military coup that brought him to power in Libya.
The terrorists responsible for the attacks were also not Iraqis. “So why invade
Iraq?,” he asked. “We should leave Iraq for the Iraqis and Afghanistan for
Afghans,” he said, pointing out that civil wars were best left to combatants on
the ground in native soil.
There was no “outside interference”, he said, during civil wars in
States, Spain or China.
Known for pitching a large Bedouin tent on his trips abroad, Gaddafi this time
pitched it on famous US entrepreneur Donald Trump’s 86-hectare estate in
Bedford, a town about 50 kilometers north of New York, after New York police
turned down his request to erect it in Central Park.
In his speech, Gaddafi chastised Nations for failing to intervene or
prevent some 65 wars around the world since the world body was founded in 1945.
He called for reform of the UN – abolishing the veto power of
the five permanent members – or expanding the body with additional member
states to make it more representative.
“Sixty-five aggressive wars took place without any collective action by the UN
to prevent them … It should not be called the
Security Council, it should be
called the ‘terror council’, he said.
Security Council members –
States, Britain, China,
France and Russia – treat smaller countries as “second class, despised”
nations, Gaddafi said in his 90-minute speech.
Although one of the most long-winded in recent memory, Gaddafi’s statement will
not find its way into the UN record books. The two record holders for sheer
verbosity are Krishna Menon of India, who addressed the
Security Council for
eight hours on Kashmir in January 1957, and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who held
forth for four hours and 29 minutes before the General Assembly in September
Gaddafi’s statement, sometimes incoherent and most times disjointed, covered
events going back decades: colonialism, the assassination of former US
president John F Kennedy and civil rights leader , the US
invasion of Grenada and Panama, the Vietnam and Korean wars, and the hanging of
former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
He also showed his disdain for his pet peeves: international sanctions (which
his country was subject to) and sodomy.
“It was vintage Gaddafi,” said an Arab diplomat speaking on condition of
anonymity. “I don’t think he missed anything of political significance that
happened over the last four decades since he came to power.”
Waving the UN charter from the podium of the General Assembly, Gaddafi detailed
a laundry list of “violations” that had taken place in recent years, implicitly
arguing that the charter was not worth the paper on which it was printed.
In contrast to Gaddafi’s meandering speech, most other world leaders were
focused in their addresses to the assembly on Wednesday, the opening day of the
Chinese President Hu Jintao said the international community should adhere to
the purposes and principles of the UN charter and seek peaceful solutions to
regional hotspot issues and international disputes.
“There should be no willful use or threat of force. We should support
United Nations in continuing to play an important role in the field of
South African President Jacob Zuma stressed the “devastating impact” of climate
change on Africa. “It will severely undermine development and poverty
eradication efforts,” he told the assembly.
“Developed countries bear the greatest responsibility for climate change and
impact. We must therefore strike a balance between adaptation and mitigation,”
Dmitry Medvedev said the world was witnessing growing
nationalist moods, numerous manifestations of religious intolerance and
He said it would be extremely useful to create a high-level group on
inter-religious dialogue under the auspices of the UN Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization. “This is especially relevant on the eve of 2010,
the United Nations as the Year for Rapprochement of Cultures,”
(Inter Press Service)