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NTC Given Libya’s UN Seat

UN General Assembly votes to give Libya’s seat in the UN to the National Transitional Council, proving Qaddafi's days are over.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/17/2011, 12:25 AM

The UN General Assembly voted Friday to give Libya’s seat in the UN to the National Transitional Council which led the rebellion that ousted former strongman Muammar Qaddafi.

The Associated Press reported that the resolution was approved by a vote of 114-17 with 15 abstentions. The vote means that a senior council official will be able to join world leaders and speak for Libya at next week’s ministerial session of the General Assembly and also participate in meetings, said AP.

Ahmed Omar Bani, a military spokesman for Libya’s transitional government, told AP the UN decision proved that Qaddafi’s regime was over.

“We are so proud because ... that means we are the right people who have the right to lead this country,” Bani said.

He added, “First, we would like to prove to the world that we are really a democratic country. Our culture is so far from the culture of Qaddafi and his loyalists. We spent more than 40 years in a dark tunnel, no colors and no voices except one voice, so now we would like to prove to the world that we are free people.”

AP noted that while Qaddafi’s government officially occupied Libya’s UN seat until Friday, the country has not had a representative in the UN for months after Libya’s own ambassador to the United Nations, Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgam, broke ranks with Qaddafi in February. He was followed by the deputy ambassador and the diplomatic staff. They have continued to staff Libya's UN Mission but were unable to participate in any UN activities until Friday’s vote.

Meanwhile in Libya, fighting resumed in Bani Walid on Friday following a dramatic failure by the rebels to take the town earlier in the week.

Bani Walid, 180km south of Tripoli, has been under siege for two weeks where die-hard Qaddafi loyalists hold the city center and plan a second-round of fierce resistance.

Earlier Friday it was reported that “columns” of anti-Qaddafi forces sped towards Bani Walid on Friday after their position came under attack. One fighter said they were planning to take the town, one of the last bastions of support for the ousted Libyan leader.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)