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Libyan anti-Swiss motion rejected

A Libyan motion calling for the dismemberment of Switzerland was rejected by the United Nations about a month ago, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

This content was published on September 3, 2009 - 08:35

Farhan Haq told the Swiss News Agency that Libya had submitted the proposal for discussion by the General Assembly. It was thrown out by the committee responsible for setting the assembly's agenda, since it contradicted the principles of the UN charter.

According to the charter, no member country can threaten the existence or sovereignty of another.

The document was therefore never circulated or published.

Swiss parliamentarian Christa Markwalder had told a Swiss public television news programme on Wednesday that Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi intended to present the proposal to the United Nations General Assembly, which he is due to address on September 23.

The Swiss UN mission in New York told swissinfo.ch on Thursday that the committee which decides on the agenda for General Assembly debates had not received any such motion.

Markwalder, who is vice-president of the House of Representatives external policies commission, had expressed concern that Libya would use its forthcoming year-long presidency of the UN General Assembly to damage Switzerland's reputation.

She said Swiss diplomacy needed to work hard to avoid a scandal at the UN meeting.

Gaddafi first mentioned the idea of dismemberment during the G8 summit in Italy in July. Switzerland "is a world mafia and not a state", he said, adding that it was "formed of an Italian community that should return to Italy, another German community that should return to Germany, and a third French community that should return to France".

The United States ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, noted on Wednesday that the upcoming UN meeting would be devoted solely to disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, adding it would be "irrelevant and misplaced" for any head of state to talk about unrelated subjects.

Rita Emch in New York, swissinfo.ch and agencies

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