UNITED NATIONS: (10/6/2009): Libyan diplomat Ali Treky was elected on Wednesday as president of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly (GA).
Treky, who previously served as Libya’s foreign minister and later as the country’s UN envoy, was elected by acclamation at a plenary meeting of the 192-member body.
He will replace the current GA president, Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, when the next assembly session convenes on Sept. 15.
In his acceptance speech, Treky said that under his presidency, the General Assembly will continue to push forward the reform of the United Nations, in particular the reform of the Security Council.
"UN reform, in all its various aspects, especially reforming the Security Council and revitalization of the General Assembly, must continue to be one of our priorities," he told the delegates at the meeting.
Correspondents say Treki’s election marks another step forward for the once-isolated country as it seeks an increasingly larger role in world affairs.
The one-year post rotates among nations on a regional basis. Treki, Libya’s minister for AU affairs will assume the new job when the assembly convenes in mid-September for its annual high-level ministerial debate.
It is more fitting to “welcome back” Treki than say “welcome” to him since he served previously as Libya’s UN ambassador, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
Ban noted Treki’s involvement at the AU in addressing one of the UN’s most pressing problems — the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan that has claimed 300,000 lives and has raged for more than six years. The Libyan’s “leadership will be crucial if the assembly is to respond with unified action” to new problems and threats, Ban said.
Oil-rich Libya, formerly isolated by its bellicose behavior, has been steadily reaching out to the rest of the world and trying to repairs its image as a pariah state.
In the 1990s, the US lifted sanctions against Libya when it handed over two suspects in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie Scotland, killing all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground. Libya also agreed to pay billions of dollars in compensation and renounce his weapons of mass destruction program.
The country has continued to re-emerge on the world scene with its current non-permanent seat on the 15-nation Security Council, where the real power at the UN is concentrated.
France‘s UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert praised Treki’s selection, and said France was happy that an African minister will be presiding in the coming year over such major challenges the global financial crisis, economic woes and climate change.
D’Escoto, who once aligned himself with Fidel Castro and the Soviet Union, often has railed against the US and the UN’s domination by its five permanent Security Council members: the US, Russia, China, Britain and France.
At his sermon-like press conferences, he has said the US demonizes Iran’s president and criticized the International Criminal Court for issuing an arrest warrant for Sudan’s leader on war crimes charges in Darfur. He also has compared the conditions imposed by Israel on Palestinians to apartheid.
D’Escoto said Wednesday that Treki will lead “with the same passion and determination that have inspired my presidency.’‘