Gaddafi attacks 'terror council' UN

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi today attacked the United Nations, branding the Security Council the “terror council”.

The Libyan leader was addressing the UN in New York as those affected by terrorist attacks protested at his presence outside.

Colonel Gaddafi lambasted the UN’s “inequality” and inability to prevent some 65 wars breaking out since being founded in 1945.

His words came as relatives of victims of the Lockerbie bombing gathered on the roads leading to the UN compound to demonstrate against his appearance in front of the general assembly.

They were joined by those affected by the September 11 attacks in New York and family members of victims of IRA violence in the North.

As they united in their condemnation of Gaddafi, the man himself used the opportunity of speaking to world leaders to hit out at the UN’s structure.

He said Libya did not accept, acknowledge or recognise the UN charter and criticised the make-up of the Security Council.

Dressed in brown robes with a large black badge of Africa attached, Gaddafi read from hand-written notes contained in a yellow folder.

He called for an abolition of veto rights for the permanent council members.

“It should not be called the Security Council, it should be called the ’terror council’,” he said.

Gaddafi added that the body should be more representative with a place on the council for African nations.

He also attacked the UN’s inability to prevent conflict, noting that since 1945 “sixty-five aggressive wars took place without any collective action by the United Nations to prevent them”.

Gaddafi’s speech directly followed that of President Barack Obama.

The Libyan leader welcomed the US leader’s address, adding that he was “a glimpse in the dark”.

He contrasted it to the actions of the previous US administration, calling on the Bush administration to be held to account over the Iraq war.

He said that "those who have participated in mass murder against Iraqis" should be tried.

Gaddafi added that the US will never come to a “fruitful” result in terms of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gaddafi's long - it lasted for around one and a half hours - and at times rambling speech took in a number of topics, from the effects of jet lag to swine flu and even the assassination of John F Kennedy, but it was delivered in front of a half-empty chamber.

The US was represented by two low to mid-ranking diplomats, with secretary of state Hillary Clinton leaving the hall after President Obama’s address.

Likewise British foreign secretary David Miliband left the chamber shortly before the Libyan leader’s speech, a spokeswoman for the UK mission the UN confirmed.

The UK was represented by Ivan Lewis, the foreign office minister responsible for Libya.

Gaddafi’s first speech at the UN could not have occurred at a move sensitive time in relations between the African state and the West.

It comes just weeks after the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

The release was especially of concern to the US. Of the 270 lives lost when the plane crashed after exploding over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, 189 were American.

Even before he arrived, the issue of Gaddafi’s visit had provoked controversy and hastily rearranged plans as to where the Libyan leader would pitch his tent - Mr Gaddafi famously shuns hotels while on foreign trips in favour of a Bedouin-style camp.

Original plans to set up at a five-acre plot in New Jersey were changed amid local opposition – many of the victims’ relatives live in the state.

Later, the Libyan government asked to use Manhattan’s Central Park, but the request was denied.

Instead they opted for a site in Bedford, around 43 miles from the centre of New York. But this has likewise been greeted with protest from local residents.

Today anti-Gaddafi anger was taken directly to the UN. In the hours leading up to his address, anti-terror activists arrived to air their complaint over Gaddafi’s presence.

Many taking part in the protest had lost loved ones in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.

Kathy Tedeschi lost her husband Bill Daniels in the terrorist blast. The 60-year-old travelled from South Carolina to attend the demonstration.

She said: “I am horrified that Gaddafi is here and he is welcomed as a member of the UN and able to speak. I’m appalled and just so upset.”

Ms Tedeschi added: “He showed no compassion to me, my husband or the 269 other people (who died in the Lockerbie bombing).

Glenn Johnson’s daughter Beth Ann was also killed in the attack on the Pan Am flight.

The 67-year-old from Pittsburgh said: “It is a day to be angry. It is anger at being double-crossed.”

“The British really let us down,” he added in reference to the release of Al Megrahi.

William Frazer travelled from Northern Ireland to attend the protest.

He lost four family members including his father during the Troubles. He wanted to highlight the role Gaddafi played in supplying the IRA with arms and technology in the 1970s.

Now a spokesman for Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair), Mr Frazer said: “This was a rogue state that sponsored terrorism.

“They say Gaddafi has changed. Well, compassion has been shown to the Libyan government; what about the Libyan people? And what about compassion coming from Gaddafi to the people he helped (make) victims?”

The anti-Gaddafi protest was separated by two barriers from an equally large pro-Gaddafi lobby.

This welcoming committee was swelled by members from the Nation of Islam who turned out in large numbers.

They lined the roads at uniform intervals, dressed in dark suits and bow ties.

Despite repeated requests, noone from the organisation would discuss why they had turned out for Gaddafi’s arrival.

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