Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday called for a “re-founding” of the United Nations, during his first speech to the annual General Assembly of world leaders in New York. Maduro also spoke up in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, and criticized U.S.-led efforts to combat terrorism.
The Venezuelan leader's comments come amid increased cooperation among Latin American countries, and is seen as a bid to win Venezuela a seat at the U.N. Security Council next year. Venezuela's claim for the seat has reportedly faced hurdles because of the country's questionable human rights record. However, the U.S., which had blocked Venezuela’s quest in 2006, has reportedly said that it will not try to block it this time.
"It's President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government which have stopped the terrorists," Maduro said, according to the Wall Street Journal, adding: "Instead of bombing and bombing, we must make an alliance for peace."
Maduro accused Western nations of violating the world body’s original charter, Agence France-Presse, or AFP, reported, and demanded that the U.N. power structure should begin to reflect the recent changes to regional alliances around the world, according to Associated Press or AP.
In his speech, Maduro said that though the Ebola outbreak is the biggest threat to the world, the West is busy “bombing the people of Iraq and Syria,” AFP reported. On Wednesday, Venezuela pledged $5 million to fight the spread of the virus in Africa.
Maduro's comments, and his criticism of the West for demanding that Assad step down, echoed anti-Western sentiments expressed by his predecessor and former President Hugo Chavez, who, in 2006, had called former U.S. President George W. Bush the “devil.”
“Only an alliance that respects these nations’ sovereignty and the assistance of their governments, people and armed forces will truly defeat Islamic terrorism as well as all of the terrorist forces that have emerged like a Frankenstein, a monster nursed by the West itself,” Maduro said, according to AFP, referring to the airstrikes being conducted by the U.S., and its Arab and European allies, in Iraq and Syria.
Earlier in the year, Venezuela was rocked by pro-democracy protests against Maduro's government. Maduro, at the time, had accused the U.S. government and international media of inciting unrest in the local population.