The United States, Britain, France and other members walked out of a closed meeting of the U.N. Security Council late Wednesday after Libya compared the situation in Gaza to Nazi concentration camps in World War II, council diplomats said.It is a tiny step, but it shows that Arab hegemony at the UN is not as complete as it has been in the past.
The walkout was a rare protest by diplomats on the U.N.'s most powerful body against one of their own members. Libya is the only Arab representative on the council.
According to several diplomats, Libya's deputy U.N. Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi ended a long speech about the plight of the Palestinians by comparing the situation in Gaza to the concentration camps set up by Nazi Germany to exterminate Jews. Some 6 million Jews and between 220,000 and 500,000 Gypsies were killed during the Nazi Holocaust.
Immediately after Dabbashi mentioned the concentration camps, diplomats said, French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff, Britain's deputy ambassador Karen Pierce, Belgian Ambassador Johan Verbeke and Costa Rica's deputy ambassador walked out of the council's consultation room.
South Africa's U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the current council president, then ended the meeting.
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