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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Libyan Leader Says Libya Should be Rewarded for Giving Up Nuclear Arms

Jerome Socolovsky | Washington 27 April 2010

Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi says the Obama administration made a political blunder in not inviting his country to a nuclear summit earlier this month in Washington. He says that is discouraging Iran and other countries from renouncing nuclear weapons.

Moammar Gadhafi spoke at the National Press Club via a live video link from Libya. Afterwards, he took only a few questions, which were screened by the event's organizers.

One questioner asked how Iran can be persuaded to renounce nuclear weapons, as Libya did in 2003. That decision helped end decades of the west treating Mr. Gadhafi as a pariah over his country's suspected sponsorship of terrorism.

The Libyan leader said he supported President Barack Obama's effort to secure the world's nuclear arsenals.

But Mr. Gadhafi said the failure to include his country at the nuclear security summit sent the wrong message to states with atomic ambitions.

"You see, the problem is that Libya has not been compensated for its good deed," he said. "Therefore, the Libyan example is not attractive to them."

Mr. Gadhafi said the United States and Europe, should help Libya develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses like generating electricity.

The Libyan leader devoted much of his talk to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and avoided discussion of the human rights in his country. Mr. Gadhafi portrayed his country as an island of stability.

"Libya is a peaceful country," he said. "No civil wars, no coup d'etats, no explosions, no terrorism, no al-Qaida."

Mr. Gadhafi is Africa's longest ruling leader, having come to power in a 1969 military coup. He said there is no need for an election in Libya because the Libyan people rule themselves.

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