News / Middle East

New Libyan, Egyptian Leaders Make UN Debut

Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohamed Kemal Ali Amr addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, in New York, September 24, 2011.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohamed Kemal Ali Amr addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, in New York, September 24, 2011.
Margaret Besheer

The Arab Spring blew through the U.N. General Assembly hall on Saturday as Libya’s interim prime minister made his debut at the podium and called on the international community to lift sanctions against his country. He was followed by Egypt’s foreign minister, who hailed his people for overthrowing long-time leader Hosni Mubarak in February.

New Libya

Libyan interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril spoke in New York as anti-Gadhafi forces in Libya made another push on Sirte, former leader Moammar Gadhafi's hometown and one of the few remaining towns that has not ceded to the National Transitional Council’s authority.

Jibril recalled Gadhafi’s one and only speech to the General Assembly annual debate in 2009, during which he ranted for more than an hour and dramatically tore up a copy of the U.N. Charter.

Libya's interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, chairman of the National Transitional Council, addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 24, 2011.
Libya's interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, chairman of the National Transitional Council, addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 24, 2011.

“Today I stand before you, excellencies, to show the world that a new Libya is coming to life," Jibril said. "Libya that looks forward; Libya that has a view to redevelop itself; Libya that wants to heal its wounds; Libya that wants to overcome its pain, to reach out to the entire world. It wants to rebuild itself, to reform its history.”

Frozen assets

Jibril said his nation has too many citizens living in poverty, there is high unemployment and very poor healthcare and education. He called several times for the United Nations Security Council to unfreeze the country’s assets so it can pay for development.

“The asset freeze on our funds must be lifted as urgently as possible. Let me appeal to you from this rostrum: let the Security Council soon take the historic resolution to lift the freeze. The regime has fallen even though we have not liberated the entire homeland yet,” he said.

The Security Council has taken steps toward lifting the freeze on some Libyan banks and corporations unfreezing more than $16 billion so far, but has not lifted all the sanctions.

Foreign policy shift

Jibril also said his people want a radically different foreign policy than that of Moammar Gadhafi.  He said Gadhafi sowed terror, fear and used blackmail in many regions of the world. He said the new Libya would seek international relations based on mutual respect, common interests and non-interference in the affairs of other states.

Jibril added that the United Nations, which intervened to protect civilians from attacks by pro-Gadhafi forces, would play a pivotal role in his country’s transition to democracy.

“We believe that the international organization, just as it was a faithful friend then, can now be a trustworthy partner in rebuilding my country. This is the major battle where we appeal for your help and assistance - political, economic, financial and technical,” he said.

New era, new face

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr also addressed the General Assembly, saying he stood before the gathering representing Egypt in a new era and with a new face.

“I am addressing you today whilst Egypt moves forward determined to complete the transition phase that arose from that remarkable transformative change,” Amr said.

He praised Egypt’s people who stood up for their belief in democratic reforms, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and praised the Army for supporting them, saying their stance would be remembered by history.

Palestinian statehood

But Minister Amr spoke more about the changes sweeping the region than in his country. He criticized the Middle East Quartet for their call Friday on Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table within a month, saying the Quartet’s vision is not “balanced” and failed to address the issue of Israeli settlements.

He also congratulated Libya and Tunisia for their revolutions, but expressed concern about lingering crackdowns on anti-government protesters in Yemen and Syria.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid