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Libya's Gadhafi Delivers Rambling Speech in First UN Address


Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has denounced the U.N. Security Council, defended the Taliban, and critiqued historic events during his first appearance before the General Assembly.

During a rambling, 96-minute speech, Mr. Gadhafi delivered remarks on a broad range of issues. Among them was his assertion of the need for $8 trillion in reparations for Africa from its former colonial powers.

Wearing brown robes and at times holding the U.N. charter, the Libyan leader called for giving Africa a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. He also criticized the United Nations for failing to stop some 65 wars since its creation in 1945.

He denounced U.S. military action in Iraq and Vietnam, and defended Afghanistan's Taliban, saying the group should be allowed to create a religious state. Despite those criticisms, he still praised U.S. President Barack Obama, saying he wished Mr. Obama could remain president forever.

Ties between Libya and the United States have long been strained during Mr. Gadhafi's four decades in power. But relations improved in 2003 after Libya publicly abandoned its weapons of mass destruction program.

The move has not appeased critics who still are angry at Libya's role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. Last month, Scotland released the terminally ill Libyan bomber, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, from prison.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution condemning Libya's "lavish" welcome home ceremony for Megrahi, and demanding that Libya apologize for the celebration. The measure also denounces Scotland's decision to free the convicted bomber.

Some of the anger regarding Lockerbie is also behind local opposition in New York to where the Libyan leader stays while he is visiting.

Mr. Gadhafi often takes a large Bedouin tent on his trips abroad to meet and entertain guests. But this week New York authorities ordered workers to stop building the tent on an large estate owned by real estate developer and television personality Donald Trump in Bedford, about 70 kilometers northeast of New York City.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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