UN: Gadaffi demands $7.77trn

2009-09-23 22:14

New York - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Wednesday berated the West in a diatribe at the UN, demanding $7.77trn for Africa and reform to the "terrorist" global body.

Paying his first-ever visit to the annual UN General Assembly, the colourful Libyan leader was introduced to the podium by the title "King of Kings" as he took the podium after US President Barack Obama.

Sporting a sand-hued tribal robe with an oversized lapel pin in the shape of Africa, Gaddafi flagrantly defied orders by the General Assembly's chair - a fellow Libyan - to speak for 15 minutes and rambled on for more than an hour.

Gaddafi, who said he was speaking "in the name of 1 000 African kingdoms," demanded compensation from the West for colonisation of the continent and provided a precise figure - $7.77trn.

'Compensation the Africans deserve'

"$7.77trn - that is the compensation the Africans deserve from the countries that colonised Africa," said Gaddafi, who briefly put on a translation headset before giving up.

"The Africans will call for that and if you don't give that amount - $7.77trn - the Africans will go to where you have taken these trillions. They have the right and they will bring the money back," he said.

Gaddafi added, however, that he was not impugning Libya's former colonial power Italy, which he said had accepted responsibility for past misdeeds.

Gaddafi also demanded fundamental changes to the UN, likening the General Assembly to the famed Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park where people of all stripes are free to vent.

He denounced the Security Council - where five nations have veto power - for its monopoly on the right to declare when matters pose a threat to international security, saying it amounted to "terrorism".

"Superpowers have interests and they use the power of the UN to protect their interests. The third world is terrified and being terrorised.   Gaddafi, long a pariah, has been reconciling with the West after renouncing Libya's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

Gaddafi also thanked the US - with which Libya re-established relations last year - as the host of the UN. But he said that the UN should take a turn in the eastern hemisphere.