UN General Assembly Debate Ends

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 8:44 pm (UTC-5)
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The annual debate of the United Nations General Assembly has ended, with Russia calling for the lifting of the No-Fly Zone over Libya, Pakistan reiterating its resolve to fight terrorism, and North Korea and Venezuela criticizing U.S. policies.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday said it is time that the U.N. Security Council-imposed, NATO-operated, No-Fly Zone in Libya is lifted. It was established in March to protect civilians from the forces of now-ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said her country is determined to wipe out terrorism, not just domestically, but from the region and the world. She called for enhanced international cooperation to assist in that effort. Earlier, a White House spokesman urged Pakistan to take action in dealing with the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, which Washington says conducts attacks in Afghanistan from its base in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region.

North Korea's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pak Kil Yon, blamed the United States for tensions on the Korean peninsula. North and South Korea are slowly attempting to improve ties that turned sour after the North's shelling of a South Korean island last November, and the sinking of a South Korean warship that Seoul blamed on Pyongyang.

Venezuela's foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, read a letter on behalf of President Hugo Chavez, who recently completed his fourth round of chemotherapy for an undisclosed form of cancer. In the letter, Mr. Chavez called on the world's countries to stop what he said is a new “imperialist war” launched by the U.S. after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He said the U.N. has done nothing to stop it.

Venezuela was angry about the Security Council's intervention in Libya, which led to the ouster of Mr. Gadhafi, a Chavez friend and ally.

U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged U.S. support for the new Libyan government and appealed to Moammar Gadhafi loyalists still fighting the transitional administration to lay down their arms and “join the new Libya.”

This was the 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly, which was attended by world leaders from more than 100 countries. South Sudan, the world's newest country, made its first appearance. Also last week, Palestinians submitted a bid for statehood and full U.N. membership. The Security Council is set to formally consider the request on Wednesday.