(photo credit: AP)
“United Nations, please save Libya,” pled the country’s Ambassador Abdurrahman Mohammed Shalgham in an emotional speech Friday before the UN Security Council in New York.
Shalgham, a long time friend of Libya’s leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi, told the council that he has chosen the Libyan people over its leader.
“I regret to be in this position,” Shalgham said.
He could still recall how as a young man, Gaddafi defended freedom, but now he has told his people, “Either I rule over you, or I kill you,” said Shalgham.
The people of Libya are asking for freedom and democracy, he said.
“I [am telling] my brother Gaddafi, leave the Libyans alone.”’
To the United Nations, he said, “We want a decisive and courageous resolution from you.”
Speaking to reporters outside the meeting, Shalgham said, that it was important to the Libyan people that the Security Council stop the bloodshed.
“I hope they can do something tangible and effective to stop what is going on there,’ he said.
Any sanctions would be against the regime and Gaddafi and not the people, Shalgham said.
“When a government shoots its citizens, it cannot continue. You cannot be a leader while you are killing your people. It’s not a crime to say that you want to be free,” he said.
In the end, he said, he hoped Libya would be free, and that the citizens of other countries in the region would attain that same right.
“Within one year you will have another Arab world,” he said.
Earlier in the day in Geneva, a representative of the Libyan mission, M.
Adel Shaltut told the United Nations Human Rights Council that the
diplomats there had resigned from the government and from now on, would
only represent the people of Libya.
He called for a moment of silence for the victims of violence in his country and asked that a verse from the Koran be read.
“We in the Libyan mission have decided to serve only the Libyan people.
We will serve as their representatives in this august body and in other
international forums,” Shaltut said.
His words were greeted by a round of applause.