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LIBYA: Road to United Nations bumpy for Moammar Kadafi

September 4, 2009 |  6:49 am


Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi’s first trip to the United Nations is not going as smoothly as planned.

Qaddafi, who is to address the United Nations in New York later this month, originally counted on staying in an Englewood, N.J., estate owned by the Libyan government until protests by residents and New Jersey politicians dissuaded the Libyan delegation.

After the U.S. Secret Service met with Englewood police to discuss security arrangements, there was wide public outcry against Kadafi's visit, exacerbated by the release of Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi, who was convicted in connection with the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. Thirty-eight of the victims called the Garden State home.

New Jersey Gov. John Corzine put it bluntly:

"Kadafi is not welcome in New Jersey.... I am angry, like every other New Jerseyan and every other American, about the release of Abdel Beset al-Megrahi."

Col. Kadafi planned to raise a Bedouin-style tent on the property in order to entertain guests, since the 25-room mansion on the property has been under construction since 1982, when the property was purchased. 

The self-described "King of Kings of Africa" suffered another setback again after a judge froze portions of the construction on the property.

This week, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice advised Kadafi against any inflammatory rhetoric regarding Megrahi's release during his speech before the General Assembly, which she said "has the potential to either further aggravate those feelings and emotions or not."

She advised him to instead focus in on the topic of nuclear weapons proliferation. 

Kadafi has special insight into the issue. Libya was home to a nuclear program before it ended it in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq..

Kadafi, who has ruled Libya for 40 years, is infamous for his antics and extravagance both and home and at international forums.

-- Jahd Khalil

Photo: Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi welcomes his guests attending a military parade in Tripoli on Tuesday for the celebrations marking the 40th anniversary since he seized power in the North African desert state. Credit: Ammar Abd Rabbo / AFP/Getty Images