Gadhafi trying to replace UN ambassadors

AP News
Posted: Mar 01, 2011 3:05 PM
Gadhafi trying to replace UN ambassadors

Libya's deputy U.N. ambassador said Tuesday that Moammar Gadhafi is trying to replace him and Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham because they have both called for an end to his regime.

Ibrahim Dabbashi told The Associated Press on Tuesday that "certainly it will not be accepted by the United Nations."

But U.N. diplomats and observers say it could be complicated because, from a legal and protocol standpoint, the Gadhafi government is still accredited to the United Nations and therefore has the right to choose who represents it.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed "that the United Nations has received a notification from the Libyan authorities." He refused to elaborate, saying only that "the correspondence is being studied."

A U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the letter involved Shalgham and Dabbashi.

At the U.N., virtually all deputies have ambassadorial rank.

Dabbashi, surrounded by members of Libya's U.N. Mission, called on Gadhafi to step down on Feb. 21. Shalgham initially refused to oppose Gadhafi, calling him "my friend," but he did an about-face last Friday and denounced the Libyan leader.

The Gadhafi regime also informed the State Department that it was firing its U.S. ambassador, Ail Aural, who announced last week he was siding with the opposition. State Department lawyers are looking into whether the U.S. will accept the legitimacy of the request.