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Question of the Day
The career ambassador whom Moammar Gadhafi appointed to replace diplomatic defectors at the United Nations is well-known in Washington, where he wooed oil executives and foreign policy analysts after the Libyan dictator ditched his weapons of mass destruction.
In a well-tailored suit and with a Cheshire-cat smile,Ali Abdessalam Treki spent the winter and summer of 2004 on a charm offensive to persuade American policymakers that Col. Gadhafi was sincere in his desire to normalize relations with the United States.
Mr. Shalgham and deputy U.N. envoy Ibrahim O. Dabbashi denounced Col. Gadhafi for his bloody offensive against government protesters. They claim they are still the legitimate U.N. representatives of the Libyan people, but not the Libyan dictator.
Col. Gadhafi created a diplomatic dilemma for the United Nations on Friday, when he announced that he was replacing Mr. Shalgham with Mr. Treki. The United Nations already had imposed sanctions on Col. Gadhafi and other Libyan leaders, and suspended Libya from the U.N. Human Rights Council.
If Mr. Treki returns to New York as Libya’s U.N. ambassador, he will be in familiar territory, where he strongly defended Col. Gadhafi and once earned a rebuke from the U.N. secretary-general for accusing Jews of running New York’s pornography industry.
His last assignment as U.N. ambassador was to present a makeover of the mercurial Col. Gadhafi, long associated with supporting terrorists, after the Libyan leader renounced his programs to develop biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
Col. Gadhafi scrapped those programs in the wake of the U.S. overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who also was suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction.
“This is a good gesture to prove we are sincere,” Mr. Treki told Embassy Row in February 2004.
Mr. Treki was in Washington on a groundbreaking mission, as the United States was re-establishing diplomatic relations with Libya. He was the first Libyan diplomat to attend a National Prayer Breakfast.
“We need the friendship of the American people,” he said in the interview.
In July, he returned to Washington as the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Idriss Jazairy, then Algeria’s ambassador to the United States. The soiree on a sultry summer evening was crowded with American oilmen eager to do business with Libya.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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