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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
Libya demands permanent UN seat
Colonel Gaddafi
Libya believes Gaddafi's cooperation on weapons merits a seat
Libya has told the United Nations General Assembly that it deserves a permanent seat on the Security Council.

Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalghem listed a series of Libya's achievements as reasons for inclusion, including abandoning its WMD programme.

He also highlighted Libya's key role in Africa and the influence of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Support is growing for attempts to expand the number of permanent members on the Security Council.

The council's five veto-wielding permanent members are China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.

The 10 other council members are chosen for two-year terms by regional groups.

"There can be no Mediterranean Sea without Libya," Mr Shalghem said.

Dead body?

The Libyan minister also called for a transfer of key powers from the 15-member Security Council to the assembly.

UN Security Council in session
The UN Security Council model dates from the end of World War II
"Before we can talk about the lack of democracy in the world, we must first admit that it is lacking in the United Nations," he said.

Mr Shalghem said that if powers were not transferred to the assembly, then the world should either "stop infusing money into this dead body" or enlarge the council's membership to include seats for the African Union, the Association of South-East Asian Nations and Latin America.

The veto power held by the five permanent members would also need to be rethought, he said.

A senior commission of experts is to deliver recommendations to Secretary-General Kofi Annan by the end of the year on United Nations reforms which will be agreed ahead of next September's 60th General Assembly ministerial meeting.

Moves to increase the number of members of the Security Council have been gaining support, with Germany, Brazil, India and Japan seeking permanent seats on the council for themselves and one African nation.

France and Britain, two permanent council members, have backed the move although Italy has expressed its opposition.

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