News and Views [ January 2003 ]

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Friday, 31 January, 2003: Libya's ministor for African unity discussed the possibility of an emergency Arab summit with Arab league chief Amr Moussa on Thursday as a means to deal with the thorny issues of the U.S.-Iraq standoff and the Arab-Israeli conflict. "The situation requires the convening of a speedy Arab meeting on the highest level possible to let the world hear the Arab voice against a military strike on Iraq or the situation in the Palestinian territories," Ali al-Treiki (photo) told reporters. [AP]
Friday, 31 January, 2003: There are indications that campaigns to phase out the use of leaded fuel in Africa is yielding positive results. According to UN Environment Programme (UNEP), many countries in Africa are now switching to unleaded fuel. A survey carried out recently indicated that already, four countries, namely Egypt, Libya, Mauritius and Sudan, were fully lead-free. [ACIS]
Thursday, 30 January, 2003: The U.S. government has no evidence that a former Air Force master sergeant accused of espionage ever sent letters he wrote to Iraqi and Libyan leaders offering to sell them U.S. military secrets, an FBI agent testified yesterday. Brian Regan also never spoke with any potential foreign agents or engaged in other types of suspicious behavior while under constant surveillance, according to agent Steven Carr, who headed the investigation that led to Regan's arrest. Regan, 40, has pleaded not guilty to charges he offered sensitive information to Iraq, Libya and China. [The Seattle Times]
Thursday, 30 January, 2003: President Charles Taylor of Liberia arrived in Sirte international airport last night on a visit to Libya. He was received by General Abubaker Younis Jaber. President Taylor met Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi with whom he reviewed the latest developments in the African continent. The meeting was attended by General Abubaker Younis Jaber and the secretary of the General Peoples Committee for African Unity. [JANA]

Wednesday, 29 January, 2003: Director of the Engineering Services Export Department in the Iranian Ministry of Housing Ibrahim Gharacheh-daghi said on Tuesday an agreement between Iran and Libya is to be signed in the next year's meeting of Iran-Libya Joint Commission (ILJC) in Tripoli. Gharacheh-daghi told IRNA that the draft of the agreement was drawn up by the seventh follow-up committee of the ILJC held in Tehran. "The Libyan delegation expressed their interest in holding exclusive fairs in Iran and Libya, purchasing electrical appliances and tractors from Iran and making joint investment in the Central Asian and African states," he added. [IRNA]

Tuesday, 28 January, 2003: In the US, the first spy trial in 50 years that could result in the death penalty opened Monday with prosecutors portraying a retired Air Force master sergeant as willing to sell out his country and his lawyers saying he had nothing of value to offer. Brian Regan is charged with offering classified information to Iraq, Libya and China. If convicted, he could become the first American executed for spying since Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953. The Rosenbergs were convicted of conspiring to steal US atomic secrets for the Soviet Union. [AP]
Tuesday, 28 January, 2003: Relatives of Bulgarian medics tried in the Libyan HIV case demand that the torture complaints of the detained be tabled in the UN Commission on Human Rights. The chairmanship of the commission was currently taken over by Libya, the relatives reason. Three of them will place the demand in a letter to Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Passy on Tuesday. According to Antoinetta Uzunova, daughter of tried nurse Valya Chervenyashka, the six medics want more stir about the case, as they felt forgotten over the last year. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 28 January, 2003: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and President Idriss Deby of Chad have discussed ways to strengthen cooperation among African states, and the resolution of conflicts in Africa under the auspices of the African Union. [PANA]
Tuesday, 28 January, 2003: Libya's government-run National Company for Supply Commodities is seeking to buy 350,000 tonnes of durum wheat and 300,000 tonnes of soft wheat, a senior company official said on Monday. "We will issue the tender deals soon for purchasing 350,000 tonnes of durum wheat and 300,000 tonnes of soft wheat soon," the official told Reuters. The official cited France,Russia and Canada as possible origins of the planned quantity of wheat but ruled out German market because of the impact on quality from last year's floods. [Reuters]

The Sunday Times: Qadhafi In African Queen Mystery

Libyan Artist Ali Omar Ermes' Web Site

Monday, 27 January, 2003: Othman al-Bizanti, the Libyan lawyer of the Bulgarian medics, denied that they press for his replacement. The six Bulgarians are charged with deliberately infecting four hundred Libyan children with HIV and have been detained for nearly four years. Bizanti said that the health of the six medics is good but the uncertainty about the coming hearing is depressing them. He declined to forecast a date for the next hearing. [Novinite]
Monday, 27 January, 2003: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Passy said that the relatives of the Bulgarian medics in Libya sometimes stand in the way of the their trial's favourable outcome. Passy's comment came a day after Dr. Emil Uzunov, husband of one of the defendants in the case against the Bulgarian medics, announced he and his two daughters will go on a hunger strike in front of the Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry at the beginning of next month. [Novinite]
Sunday, 26 January, 2003: The US is considering using nuclear weapons in a possible future war against Iraq, William Arkin, a top US private military expert warned. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed in December 2001 a nuclear posture review that opened the possibility for nuclear weapons to be used against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack. Nations such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria were added to the list of possible targets. [AFP]
Sunday, 26 January, 2003: The Libyan government assumed the chair of the Geneva-based commission on a vote of 33-3. Only a handful of states objected, including the US and Canada. The courageous Europeans, who have lost lives directly to Libyan terrorist agents, merely abstained. These countries ought to be ashamed. The commission vote on Libya shows that the United Nations is willing to back any tinhorn dictator, no matter how reprehensible his actions or how much state sponsorship of terrorism undermines world peace. [The Advocate]

Saturday, 25 January, 2003: The families of Imam Musa Sadr and those of his two companions who disappeared on a trip to Tripoli in 1978 said Thursday that Libya's election as chair of the UN Rights Commission was a "shock." A statement said news of Libya's election was received with "total regret." adding that the election of a Muslim and Arab country to an international post would please everyone under "normal circumstances." "However, the criminal record that has characterized Qadhafi’s regime over three decades does not permit satisfaction," added the families, who blame Libya for the disappearance of Sadr and his companions. [The Daily Star]
Saturday, 25 January, 2003: Fred Olsen Energy said its subsidiary Dolphin Drilling has won a 17 million euro drilling contract from Agip Gas. The contract is for an approximate 240 day drilling program on the Bahr Essalam field offshore Libya, with the semi-submersible Bredford Dolphin, it said. Drilling is scheduled to commence this spring. [AFX]
Friday, 24 January, 2003: The UN has shamefully elected Libya and its dictator, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, to lead the UN Commission on Human Rights. It's a slap in the face to every human rights activist and organization working to free the world's oppressed from tyrants like Qadhafi. So how did this happen? The elitist leaders of African nations took care of themselves instead of their people. They rewarded Qadhafi for paying off some of their old debts. [Lowell Sun]
Friday, 24 January, 2003: The US will work with the top UN human rights body despite the "regrettable" decision of member states to tap Libya as the panel's chair, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Thursday. "Libya has a dismal record on human rights, and from the president's point of view there would have been far better choices to have made to run that commission. "So this is a regrettable conclusion, but nevertheless the US will, of course, continue to work with the member states of the Human Rights Commission," said Fleischer. [AFP]
Friday, 24 January, 2003: Libya said Thursday it has brought together four rival factions of the Philippines' Muslim rebel movement in a bid to strengthen the group's 1996 peace agreement with the Philippine government, which was mediated with Tripoli's help. Libyan Ambassador to the Philippines Salem Adam said he was asked by the Moro Liberation Front factions to convene a meeting of their leaders Monday, which resulted in a declaration of unity and solidarity. [AP]

The Libyan League For Human Rights: Press Release

Times Online: Mad, Or Just Bad?

Thursday, 23 January, 2003: The United States on Wednesday slammed the 33 nations who voted this week for Libya to take the chair of the top UN human rights body, calling their decision "unconscionable." U.S. state Department spokesman Richard Boucher also took a dim view of the 17 countries that abstained from Monday's vote. Boucher reiterated the US position that Libya, given its poor human rights record, was not a suitable choice to lead the commission and said those who abstained from the vote had shirked their responsibilities. [AFP]
Thursday, 23 January, 2003: Chechnya's pro-Russian chief administrator, Akhmad Kadyrov, will leave Friday for Libya and Jordan for talks with Libyan leader Qadhafi and Jordanian King Abdullah II, Interfax reported Wednesday. The head of the Chechen administration will inform the Libyan and Jordanian leaders about the current state of affairs in Chechnya. [AFP]
Thursday, 23 January, 2003: Libya's state-run National Company for Supply Commodities is seeking to buy 60,000 tonnes of white sugar for March shipment, traders said on Wednesday. They said a tender was likely next week, adding that the state entity had been checking prices in recent days. [Reuters]
Thursday, 23 January, 2003: South African Foreign affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is tomorrow expected to chair a two-day ad-hoc ministerial committee meeting of countries representing all the African Union regions. Foreign ministers expected to attend include those from Algeria, Burundi, Chad, Equatorial-Guinea. Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia, and Zambia. [Bua News]

Wednesday, 22 January, 2003: Libya secretly offered a huge donation to the cash-strapped [British] Labour party as part of its attempts to end its international isolation, the Guardian can disclose. Ministerial sources say the Libyan proposal was instantly rejected. But a Guardian investigation has uncovered other recent attempts by Libya to use back channels to get close to Labour politicians. Libya's offer of an enormous donation came at a time when Labour had a £10m deficit last September. It originated from Ahmed Gadaff Al-Dam, Col Qadhafi's cousin and a senior figure in the regime, and was passed to the Labour peer, Lord Evans of Temple Guiting, by a London-based businessman, Wolfgang Michel. [The Guardian]
Wednesday, 22 January, 2003: African foreign ministers on Tuesday rejected Libya's controversial proposal for a "United States of Africa", saying the vast continent was not ready to merge into one country with a centralised administration. The two-day closed-door ministerial meeting in South Africa's holiday resort of Sun City was called to agree on an agenda for an African Union summit, and diplomats told Reuters the ministers agreed that the deepening political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe would top the list. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 22 January, 2003: Libya's election to chair the United Nations' top human rights body sparked dismay from France's left-wing opposition and a non-committal comment from the French foreign ministry Tuesday. "We will have to live with the consequences. France, along with all the other European countries, chose to abstain during this vote, which is pretty unusual," said foreign ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau. "We will be vigilant so that the Commission, which is an important commission in the United Nations, does a good job," he said. [AFP]
Wednesday, 22 January, 2003: Independent human rights groups are denouncing Monday's election by members of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission of Libya's ambassador to serve as the Commission's chair over the coming year. "The Commission has lots of problems to begin with, but I think this will paralyze its work for the next year," said Michael Posner, executive director of the New York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCHR). Human Rights Watch (HRW), also based in New York, echoed that view. "Repressive governments must not be allowed to hijack the UN human rights system," said HRW's Joanna Weschler before the vote. "Over the past three decades, Libya's human rights record has been appalling." [Yahoo]
Wednesday, 22 January, 2003: Libya has agreed to commute the death sentences imposed on a Nigerian and three Ghanaians convicted of murdering a Libyan, Nigerian officials said Tuesday. Last week Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo urged his Libyan counterpart Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to commute the sentences imposed on the west Africans for the 1995 murder of Mohammed Mustafa. The Nigerian, Nathaniel Notibo, and the Ghanaians were to have been executed last Friday. Libya's ambassador to Nigeria, Othman Mansour, on Monday told Nigeria's foreign ministery that Libya had agreed to commute the sentences. [AFP]

Tuesday, 21 January, 2003: Libya, under fire for years from human rights activists, has been overwhelmingly elected to chair the top UN's rights body after the US broke with tradition and forced a vote. Libya will preside at the March 17-April 25 session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission which meets annually to survey the rights situation around the world. The Libyan candidate, diplomat and former journalist Najat al-Hajjaji (photo), won 33 votes in a secret ballot of the 53-country Commission, with 17 states abstaining and three voting no -- apparently including the United States. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 21 January, 2003: The Libyan ambassador dismissed the U.S. move [to prevent Libya from chairing the UN's Human Rights Commission] as "politically motivated", but she said that it would not prevent her from cooperating with all members in carrying out her duties. She would be guided, she said, by the words of an early Islamic leader who said: "I am not the best among you... if I make mistakes, please help me to correct them." Earlier Najat al-Hajjaji urged the African Group, which had planned to vote against Australia's candidacy for one of the three Commission vice-chairs, to forget retaliation for the U.S. decision and drop its opposition. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 21 January, 2003: A man arrested at the house in Manchester, England, where detective Stephen Oake was stabbed to death has appeared in court. Libyan Khalid Alwerfeli, 29, is charged with offences under the Terrorism Act 2000. Alwerfeli was arrested last Tuesday during a raid on a flat in Crumpsall Lane, Manchester, in which DC Oake died from multiple stab wounds to his upper body and chest. Also, Kamel Bourgass, 27, appeared in court on Friday charged with the murder of Mr Oake and the attempted murder of four other officers. [Sky News]
Tuesday, 21 January, 2003: Two suspects linked to the discovery of the chemical warfare agent ricin in London have been remanded in custody, including one arrested in a Manchester raid in which a police officer was killed. Prosecutors told Bow Street Magistrates court on Monday that Khalid Alwerfeli, a 29-year-old unemployed Libyan from Manchester "had been associated with" suspects arrested last week after ricin was found in a London apartment. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 21 January, 2003: Libya hailed as a "shining victory" its election Monday as chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission against stiff opposition from the US. "It is a shining victory which gives back their rights to the oppressed peoples," foreign ministry spokesman Hassuna al-Shawush told AFP. He said Libya's election... after a vote demanded by Washington shows "historic world recognition that Libya has a clean sheet with regard to human rights." He thanked "friendly countries which supported right and rejected pressures, above all Arab, Islamic and European countries, and particularly France, Italy and Britain." [AFP]
Tuesday, 21 January, 2003: Reacting to the countries that voted to prevent Libya from chairing the UN's Rights Commission, Libyan leader Qadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, said in a statement that their human rights records were also tainted. "The records of the US and Canada contain many holes and human rights violations and their position, is motivated by political considerations," Seif al-Islam said in a message to Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham. Being chairman of the rights body imposes on Libya "additional responsibilities and moral duties," he said. [AFP]

New York Times [Magazine]: The Makeover

Monday, 20 January, 2003: Libya, long accused by human rights activists of major abuses, is set to win the chairmanship of the UN top rights body despite firm opposition from the US. Diplomats say Libya will be chosen today by the UN Human Rights Commission to preside at the coming annual session at which the health of rights around the world will be scrutinised. For the first time since the Commission was founded in 1947, the decision will go to a vote after Washington said it could not reward Libya's "terrible conduct" and demanded a ballot. [Reuters]
Monday, 20 January, 2003: An official Libyan newspaper charged Sunday that the US was trying to block Libya from heading a UN human rights body to prevent it from criticising US and Israeli policies. African heads of state agreed last year to nominate Libya to head the UN Commission of Human Rights, triggering concern from the US and human rights groups. "The US is trying to deprive Libya of its right, as the representative of Africa" because it fears "Libya will unmask the Zionist American and Israeli practices," Al-Zahef Al-Akhdar said. [AFP]

Sunday, 19 January, 2003: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made a brief, unscheduled visit to Tripoli Saturday to brief Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on diplomatic efforts to prevent a US-led war against Iraq, and also hold talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mubarak's visit of several hours came just after Egypt announced it had agreed to attend a meeting proposed by Turkey in a bid to prevent a new Gulf war. Libya has not been invited to the meeting, which Turkey hopes will be attended by Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria. [AFP]
Sunday, 19 January, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi received a message Saturday from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein amid mounting tensions between Baghdad and Washington over the UN search for weapons of mass destruction, the official Jana news agency reported. The message "linked to the situation in Iraq" was delivered by Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tareq Aziz, in a morning meeting with Qadhafi. When he arrived Friday night, he said the visit was "part of moves to clarify the Iraqi position with regard to the US threats." [AFP]
HRW: Libya's Human Rights Record In Spotlight

WT: Once Again The UN's Credibility Is Torn, Ripped, And Shredded

Saturday, 18 January, 2003: Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz arrived late Friday in the Libyan capital Tripoli to present Baghdad's view on the threat of a US-led war, the official JANA news agency reported. "This visit is part of moves to clarify the Iraqi position with regard to the US threats," Aziz said. He praised the Libyan people for backing Baghdad during mounting tensions with Washington over UN inspections for weapons of mass destruction. [AFP]
Saturday, 18 January, 2003: The likely election of Libya to a key UN post on Monday will put a spotlight on its human rights record and on efforts by abusive governments to undermine the international human rights system, Human Rights Watch said today. "Libya's election poses a real test for the commission," said Joanna Weschler, UN representative of Human Rights Watch. "Repressive governments must not be allowed to hijack the UN human rights system." Over the past three decades, Libya's human rights record has been appalling. It has included the abduction, forced disappearance or assassination of political opponents; torture and mistreatment of detainees; and long-term detention without charge or trial or after grossly unfair trials. [HRW]
Saturday, 18 January, 2003: A shipment of chemicals bound for Libya and recently seized by Italian customs officials was given the all clear by port authorities in the northwestern city of Genoa on Friday. Italian officials have been at pains to calm fears sparked by a newspaper report on Thursday that the shipment could be used to make weapons of mass destruction. "The cargo was perfectly in order. The products were found to be as stated on the manifest," said Genoa's port authority chief Fabio Capocaccia. [AFP]

Friday, 17 January, 2003: Italian police seized a 50-tonne shipment of chemicals bound for Libya on Thursday, officials said. The cargo was discovered in the northern port city of Genoa accompanied by documents suggesting it was morpholine, an industrial solvent and anti-corrosion agent, officials said. Two investigating magistrates have ordered laboratory tests to establish whether the description is accurate. The chemicals are understood to have been manufactured in Germany and transported to Genoa by a Belgian haulage firm. The cargo was split between three containers due to be loaded onto a boat bound for Libya. [AFP]
Friday, 17 January, 2003: Countries around the world witnessed no major loss of civil liberties in 2002, even as they struggled to find a balance between security and freedom in the fight against terrorism, according to an annual report on world democracy. Still, the progress of countries of the Middle East and North Africa remained stagnant, not only in the last year, but since the survey began in 1972, the nonprofit group Freedom House said it its "Freedom in the World" report. Forty-seven countries were rated "not free," and nine received the lowest rating. They were Burma, Cuba, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia. [AP]
Friday, 17 January, 2003: Immigration authorities in the United States are giving male visitors age 16 and older from 18 mostly Muslim countries another chance to register without fear of penalties, officials said Thursday. The decision to provide a grace period, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 7, comes as the Immigration and Naturalization Service expanded the registration program to add men and boys from Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Bangladesh. The grace period will apply to long-term male visitors from five countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria - who missed a Dec. 16 deadline, US Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement. [AP]
Friday, 17 January, 2003: Libya has frozen a deal to buy beef from Zimbabwe after the livestock industry failed to satisfy supply terms as agreed due to a shortage of slaughter stock. The mothballing of the 5,1 million kg annual quota comes at a time when the Libyans are understood to be keen to relinquish control over farms mortgaged to service the US$360 million fuel deal. Exports kicked off in November with Farirai Quality Foods sending its first consignment to Libya since 2001 when the deal was mooted. But diplomatic sources said the deal was doomed as Zimbabwe no longer had the capacity to meet demand. [Zimbabwe Independent]
Friday, 17 January, 2003: Arab interior and infrmation ministers have called for the immediate and final lifting of the unfair sanctions that were imposed on [Libya]. That was expressed in the final statement issued by the interior and information ministers in Tunis this week. [JANA]
Thursday, 16 January, 2003: Libya no longer wants to pull out of Arab league, the league's Secretary-General said [yesterday]. "The Libyan withdrawal issue had been definitely settled. The question has been ended. Forget about it. You have to erase this issue from your mind," Amr Moussa told reporters. Moussa made the remarks at a news conference in Tunis where he attended a joint meeting of Arab interior and information ministers. [SABC]
Thursday, 16 January, 2003: Canada said on Wednesday it would join the US in a bid to prevent Libya from chairing the UN's top human rights body on the grounds that Libya was guilty of numerous abuses. "I want to make it clear that Canada will be voting against the nomination of Libya," Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham told reporters. "The reasons for this are that we consider Libya's human rights record at this particular time to be inappropriate for that position," he added, saying the integrity of the commission had to be maintained. [Reuters]
Thursday, 16 January, 2003: Nigeria on Wednesday urged Libya to commute the death sentences of a Nigerian and three Ghanaians convicted of a 1995 murder, a foreign ministry statement said. The four west Africans could be executed as early as Friday, when a stay on their execution is due to expire. Nigeria's junior foreign minister, Dubem Onyia, has written to the Libyan authorities urging them to reduce the sentence to a jail term, the statement said. The four were convicted of killing Mohammed Nojeb Mustafa in the Libyan town of Ghat. [AFP]

Wednesday, 15 January, 2003: Libyan leader Qadhafi's son expressed frustration about intelligence sharing with the US in the war against terrorism, saying America wants help but is reluctant to give it. "There is a kind of hypocrisy because the Western intelligence are more interested in the people on the list, the people who represent a threat to them. But when we ask them about our list, they don't care about it," Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi said at a seminar in Rome. "We are not happy with this cooperation, and maybe, it's possible that we will suspend it." [AP]
Wednesday, 15 January, 2003: Washington can only object to but not overrule a move by African countries to promote Libya as chair of the annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission set to begin in March, Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam said Tuesday. "America does not decide this issue," Shalgam told The Associated Press. "This is decided on the basis of rotation among continents." Shalgam was responding to remarks by US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, who said Monday the US was opposed to Libya's candidacy. [AP]
Wednesday, 15 January, 2003: One of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's sons said on Tuesday that volunteers from many Arab countries would travel to Iraq to help defend it should the US attack. "Believe me, you will see many volunteers from Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia... all people who feel humiliated by the present international system will defend Iraq," Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi said on the fringes of an anti-globalisation conference [in Rome]. He also reiterated a Libyan denial that it could provide a safe haven for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his family. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 15 January, 2003: The Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (Lafico), controlled by the family of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, will maintain its stake of around two percent in Italian carmaker Fiat, Qadhafi's son said on Tuesday. "Personally I think we will keep our stake as it is," Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi told a news conference in Rome. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 15 January, 2003: Libya's government-run National Company for Supply Commodities bought 650,000 tonnes of wheat flour at a tender from a wide range of European and Arab suppliers, a senior company official said on Tuesday. "The price was 310 euro per tonne cost and freight for the 650,000 tonnes of wheat flour we purchased," he told Reuters. The company official gave no details on the flour origins but Italy is believed to be a major supplier. [Reuters]

Tuesday, 14 January, 2003: The US State Department on Monday flatly rejected a suggestion by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi that the US contribute to a fund to compensate the families of victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Spokesman Richard Boucher said the idea, floated by Qadhafi in a weekend interview, was a non-starter and recalled that Libya was required by the UN to pay the compensation itself if it wants UN sanctions to be lifted. "In addition, Libya must accept responsibility for the actions of its officials," Boucher said. "Libya knows what it needs to do and there are no shortcuts in that regard." [AFP]
Tuesday, 14 January, 2003: The US on Monday stepped up a campaign to deny Libya the chairmanship of the UN Commission on Human Rights, saying the body's credibility was at stake. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Washington would break with past principle and call for a vote on the leadership of the commission when it meets in Geneva next week to determine its new chair. Libya is currently the only candidate for the post. "We hope that other countries will do so as well," Boucher said, calling Libya a well-known "abuser of human rights" that has in the past supported terrorist acts such as the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. [AFP]
Tuesday, 14 January, 2003: Libya's nomination as the next chair of the UN's top human rights body is expected to cause a stir at a meeting in Geneva next Monday, with the US leading attempts to block the move. Next week's gathering is a preparatory meeting for the annual UN Human Rights Commission session, beginning in mid-March. Africa is the UN regional grouping entitled to choose the next chair, and it has put forward Libya. In recent days, it's been reported that the US may take the unprecedented step of forcing a vote to try to stop the move, although it has virtually no chance of getting the required majority of the 53 members to do so. [CNS]
Tuesday, 14 January, 2003: Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of a former U.S. intelligence analyst who faces a possible death sentence for trying to sell secret defense information to Iraq and Libya. Brian Regan, 40, has pleaded not guilty to a four-count indictment which accused him of writing letters to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi offering them top secret data about U.S. satellites, early warning systems and U.S. defense strategy for $13 million. [Reuters]

Monday, 13 January, 2003: The de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia said on Sunday he did not believe there would be war on Iraq and that the kingdom had proposed an initiative to fellow Arab states to resolve the crisis. "I see the fleets but, God willing, there will be no war," Crown Prince Abdullah said. The prince's comments follow reports that Arab governments were urging President Saddam Hussein to seek asylum in Libya to avert a possible war with the US. [Reuters]
Monday, 13 January, 2003: OPEC members agreed Sunday to boost oil production target by 6.5 percent to cover a shortfall in crude exports from Venezuela. The increase of 1.5 million barrels a day would take effect on Feb. 1. Oil ministers for four of the group's 11 members were unable attend due to prior commitments. A fifth minister, Libya's Abdulhafid Zlitni, was due to arrive Sunday but canceled his trip because a sandstorm prevented his plane from leaving Tripoli. [AP]
Monday, 13 January, 2003: The Telefonica Dakar Rally hit more drama today [Sunday] when a KTM assistance vehicle, truck #416 hit an unexploded mine. Crossing the border between Libya and Egypt, in a portion controlled by the Egyptian authorities, the truck destroyed one of its back wheels after an explosion. Luckily the three members of the vehicle were not injured. [Yahoo]

Newsweek: Interview With Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi

Sunday, 12 January, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was quoted on Saturday as saying Libyan terrorists were operating in the United States and Britain but his government was helping to eliminate them. In an interview with Newsweek magazine, Qadhafi said widespread support for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the Muslim world was a threat to his own rule, and members of the group had tried to assassinate him. Asked if he was providing the US with information on al-Qaeda, he said: "Intelligence agencies in Libya and the US are exchanging information. There are Libyan terrorists in America and in Britain. The Libyan intelligence service exchanges information (with Britain and the US) so that they will be wiped out." [Reuters]
Sunday, 12 January, 2003: The Libyan ambassador to Kenya was robbed of his car and cash by gunmen who ambushed him outside a restaurant in Nairobi, the Daily Nation reported Saturday. The gangsters pulled Ambassador Taher Ali Marwan from the driving seat, frisked him and then sped off in his vehicle, the report said. The Libyan ambassador fell into the gangster's trap when driving alone on Thursday evening to a dinner engagement at the Chez Lami Restaurant on Muringa Road in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. [Xinhua]
Sunday, 12 January, 2003: OPEC producers are preparing for emergency talks that will decide how far to open the oil taps to prevent a price shock as war looms in Iraq. Saudi Arabia, in control of most of the world's spare production capacity, wants an increase at the top end of the range. Others including the UAE, Iran, Algeria and Libya are fearful that an end to the Venezuelan strike could push prices sharply lower and prefer just one million barrels daily. [Reuters]
Sunday, 12 January, 2003: The death of French co-driver Bruno Cauvy cast a dark shadow over the Dakar Rally today. Cauvy was killed after crashing 270 kilometres into the 554km 10th stage between Zilla and Sarir in Libya. The 48-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene after his Toyota - being driven by Daniel Nebot, who escaped serious injury - overturned. [Sporting Life]


Saturday, 11 January, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Friday that ongoing UN inspections of Iraq's weapons are "the best" way to avoid a war following US accusations that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. "Ongoing inspections are the best way to avoid a war," because the use of force "can only lead to destruction," Qadhafi told visiting US journalists. Asked whether Libya would offer asylum to Iraqi President Saddam Huseein, Qadhafi said that this would be "wrong; Saddam Hussein remains in Iraq and he will not leave it even if he died."[AFP]
Saturday, 11 January, 2003: The United States Thursday launched a last-ditch campaign to prevent Libya from assuming the chairmanship of the UN Commission on Human Rights later this month, state department officials said. However, the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed doubt their effort would succeed and predicted Libya's leadership would badly damage the commission's credibility. "It is not appropriate for a country like Libya to hold the chair of the commission and so we are going to oppose it," one official said. [The Star]
Saturday, 11 January, 2003: AS the US$360 million fuel deal between Libya and Zimbabwe remains on the brink of collapse, the Libyans are now keen to relinquish control over farms mortgaged in the arrangement. Government sources said the Libyans were no longer interested in a block of six farms around Chinhoyi which they were given on a 22-year lease. "They now want out and are demanding an amount equivalent to the market value of those farms." Libyan leader Qadhafi visited the block in July 2001 when he travelled to Zimbabwe by road from Lusaka, where he had attended the Organisation of African Unity summit. [Zimbabwe Independent]
Saturday, 11 January, 2003: Venezuela's Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel on Friday called a grenade explosion at the Algerian ambassador's residence "an act of terrorism" by extremists trying to destabilize Venezuela. "There are sectors in the opposition that are taking extreme positions. This grenade was thrown to kill," Rangel said on state television. Libya's embassy received anonymous bomb threats Friday, Rangel said. [AP]

Friday, 10 January, 2003: Libya on Thursday denied it has offered asylum to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as a way to prevent a new Gulf war. "Libya has already denied these reports and I categorically deny them again," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna al-Shawesh told The Associated Press. Al-Shawesh said Libya does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and that reports about Saddam's stepping down originated on the Internet. [AP]
Friday, 10 January, 2003: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi appealed to Australian leaders Thursday to help avert a war against the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Australian officials said. Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi met in Sidney with Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson for talks that focussed on trade but also dealt with terrorism and the looming war in Iraq. Qadhafi said the growing crisis over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction posed a danger to the entire Middle East and he pressed Anderson to redouble Australia's efforts in seeking a peaceful solution. [AFP]
Friday, 10 January, 2003: In Addis Ababa, participants of the 10th Afro-Arab parliamentary conference asked the UN yesterday to solve peacefully the existing problems in Iraq and Palestine. They also asked the international community to protect Palestinians from the Israeli attack and give support for the continuation of the US-Iraq peace process. The participants also underlined the need to lift sanctions and embargo imposed on Libya. [The Daily Monitor]
Friday, 10 January, 2003: Kenjiro Shinozuka of Japan crashed his car in Libya during the Dakar Rally on Wednesday and suffered serious injuries, France's public radio said. Shinozuka, competing for the Nissan team, ended the seventh, 691-kilomter stage of the rally between Ghadames and Ghat on eighth place Wednesday and moved up to third overall position. [Kyodo]
LLHR: The Government Of Libya And Torture

Thursday, 9 January, 2003: Libya denied Wednesday claims by the US Central Intelligence Agency that it was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. "These are allegations the CIA habitually puts out to serve interests hostile to the peoples" of other states, said foreign ministry spokesman Hassouna al-Shawesh (photo), pointing out that Libya is a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The CIA made its claims in a report submitted to Congress last month that was made public Tuesday. [AFP]
Thursday, 9 January, 2003: States such as Libya, Syria and possibly Sudan are trying to acquire or expand secret arsenals of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the CIA has warned. The US Intelligence Agency has also concluded that Bin Laden "has a more sophisticated biological weapons research program than previously discovered." The CIA indicated that nations from the US' list of state sponsors of terrorism were involved in activities to obtain WMD. One of them is Libya, which, according the report, continues to develop its nuclear infrastructure. [Al-Bawaba]
Thursday, 9 January, 2003: Cuban President Fidel Castro has awarded the medal of friendship to Colonel of Staff Dr al-Mu'tasim Billah Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo), the Son of the Libyan leader Qadhafi in recognition of the historic role played by his father in supporting liberation movements across the world and his support for the Cuban revolution. It is also in expression of the appreciation for the support offered by [Col. al-Mu'tasim al-Qadhafi] to the Cuban armed forces. [JANA]
Thursday, 9 January, 2003: A senior Philippine official said today that Arab nations were urging Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to defuse a war with the US by stepping down and seeking asylum in Libya. Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople said he was told of the proposal during a meeting with Manila-based Arab diplomats on Monday. The US, which plans to at least double its 60,000 soldiers already in the Gulf, has declared Iraq in ''material breach'' of a UN disarmament resolution for omitting key details in a declaration of its weapons to the UN last month. [Reuters]
Thursday, 9 January, 2003: OPEC has called an emergency weekend meeting to decide how much more crude to pump to prevent a long-running strike in Venezuela and a looming war in Iraq causing an oil price shock. The OPEC announced it will meet on January 12 in Vienna. The cartel's most influential producer Saudi Arabia is pushing for a big increase while most other countries, including Kuwait, Algeria and Libya, prefer an addition of one million barrels daily. [Reuters]
Thursday, 9 January, 2003: The Algerian army, reeling from the loss of 49 soldiers in the worst rebel attack in years, is tracking down al-Qaeda operatives who sneaked into Algeria to fan an Islamic insurgency. Le Matin daily said on Wednesday the army captured a member of Osama bin Laden's network who said other al-Qaeda fighters had infiltrated the Algeria. The newspaper said he planned attacks against senior Algerian government officials, with the help of two men, part of a larger band of al-Qaeda members who crossed into Algeria from Libya. [Reuters]


Wednesday, 8 January, 2003: The Qadhafi Foundation of International Charity Associations has launched a world-wide campaign to fight torture in the Middle East. The secretary general of the Human Rights Society in the Foundation declared the launch of the campaign in a press conference held in Tripoli yesterday, he said the campaign aims at fighting all forms of torture and all aspects of inhumane practices. He announced that this is a world-wide campaign with emphasis on the Middle East and Libya is to be the first leg of the campaign. [PANA/JANA]
Wednesday, 8 January, 2003: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila has accepted an official invitation from Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to visit Libya, the head of the Libyan leader's office, Bashir Bashir told reporters in the DRC capital Monday. Kabila's acceptance of the invitation signalled that relations between the two countries are returning to normal, after Libya was accused by Kinshasa of supplying arms to the Congolese Liberation Movement. In December, the DRC asked the UN to take urgent action to force Libya to withdraw troops which had allegedly entered the DRC in support of rebel groups. [AFP]
Wednesday, 8 January, 2003: Discoveries in Afghanistan show that al-Qaida's research into biological weapons was more advanced than previously estimated by the US, a new intelligence report says. While terrorists still prefer conventional bombs and other traditional methods of attack, they are becoming increasingly interested in using poisons, disease weapons and other biological weapons, the [CIA] report says. In addition, the report says Libya tried to covertly acquire technical information on nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. [AP]
Wednesday, 8 January, 2003: Counter-terrorism officials in Britain decided Tuesday to hold six North African men for further questioning about traces of deadly ricin found in a London residence, a discovery that may unravel a chemical terror plot. The six men were described as in their late teens, 20s and 30s and were North African, though no country was specified. North African countries include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. [UPI]
Tuesday, 7 January, 2003: Libya said Monday it was surprised the US renewed for another year its sanctions against Tripoli despite their warming dialogue and slammed the decision as a "Cold War" act. Foreign ministry's undersecretary for information Hassuna al-Shawesh (photo) said it was a surprise "considering the positive manner of the current dialogue, the meetings and confidence-building measures" with Washington. He called on the Bush administration to "abandon (its policy) of complicating things and take into consideration the interests of its economic institutions." President Bush renewed the sanctions Friday, saying obligations linked to them had not been resolved. [AFP]
Monday, 6 January, 2003: Arab League chief Amr Mussa blasted as unjustified Sunday the renewal for another year of US sanctions on Libya that were first imposed in 1986. "As the UN Security Council has suspended the sanctions ... there is no justification for any sanction," Mussa told reporters. US President George W. Bush renewed the sanctions Friday, saying obligations linked to them had not been resolved. These include ... acceptance of responsibility for the actions of Libyan officials and for compensating the [Lockerbie bombing] victims' families. [AFP]
Monday, 6 January, 2003: An American woman who entered a Libyan Internet beauty pageant has been granted Libyan nationality and been appointed Tripoli's honorary ambassador to the US. Libya's Foreign Ministry released a statement Sunday saying "American Miss Net" Tecca Zendik was granted nationality during a special ceremony in Tripoli, where she arrived Saturday. Libya last November hosted the "Miss Net World," won by Britain's Lucy Layton. [AP]
Monday, 6 January, 2003: South African church minister confessed that he had worked as a spy for the apartheid government for more than a decade. Riaan Labuschagne went on to tell the world about his 13 years as an undercover agent for the National Intelligence Service. After making his intelligence reputation by recruiting a Soviet spy, Labuschagne claims to have done the same with a senior Libyan diplomat. Having decided that the man had a weakness for sexual advances, Labuschagne alleges that he employed a well-known blonde TV actress to pose as a wildlife filmmaker and seduce him at Botswana's Chobe Game Reserve. [Sunday Times/SA]

Sunday, 5 January, 2003: Libya has become the 31st member of the African Union (AU) to sign the protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the AU. The representative of Libya to the AU Ali Abdulla Awidan, who signed the protocol on behalf of Libya, underscored the importance of the early establishment of Peace and Security Council and said the council would assist to prevent disputes and resolve conflicts within the continent. [Xinhua]
Sunday, 5 January, 2003: Egypt will start supplying Jordan with natural gas via a new pipeline in May, Jordan's Energy Minister Mohammed Batayneh said. Egypt has also plans to set up a pipeline to deliver natural gas to Libya for power generation and water desalination plants. This pipeline could be extended at a latter stage for export across the Mediterranean to Europe. [AFP]
Sunday, 5 January, 2003: Members of the Arab-American community of Toledo, Ohio, interviewed on Thursday said they feared not only that a U.S. attack [on Iraq] would produce heavy civilian casualties in Iraq, but that it would also stoke anti-American feeling in the Arab world to new heights. Abdul Hammuda, who left his birthplace in Libya at the age of 16 and now owns an Arab delicatessen said: "This war, if it happens, will blow up the idea that America wants to reach out to the Arab world. It will damage American interests all over the world." [Reuters]

NRO: Talking To Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's Son

Saturday, 4 January, 2003: U.S. President Bush wrote the U.S. Congress Thursday that he was extending U.S. economic sanctions slapped on Libya some 26 years ago to Jan. 7, 2004. "The crisis between the US and Libya that led to the declaration of a national emergency on Jan. 7, 1986, has not been resolved. Despite the UN Security Council's suspension of UN sanctions against Libya upon the Libyan government's hand-over of the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects, Libya has not yet complied with its obligations... which include Libya's obligation to accept responsibility for the actions of its officials and pay compensation." Bush said. [PRNewswire]
Saturday, 4 January, 2003: A committee of Arab foreign ministers will meet on Jan. 13 in Khartoum to discuss Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's ideas to strengthen Arabs, mainly in the face of Israel, the Arab League said Thursday. The meeting was announced after Qadhafi insisted on Dec. 25 that he still planned to pull Libya out of the Arab League because it was not taking "effective action against the dangers facing the Arab world." [Middle East Online]
Saturday, 4 January, 2003: The long-running Western Sahara dispute between Algeria and Morocco hampered attempts on Friday to revive a largely dormant Maghreb regional grouping. Foreign ministers of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) held a regular meeting to inject life in a bloc which Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia founded in 1989. While four ministers insisted on the need to hold an AMU summit soon, Morocco said matters of "national sovereignty" -- widely seen to mean Western Sahara -- had to be resolved first. [Reuters]
Saturday, 4 January, 2003: The troubled trade agreement between Zimbabwe and Libya has been rocked by a fresh crisis amid revelations this week that the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) wants to defer implementation of a proposed joint-venture arrangement with Tamoil of Libya. Officials from Noczim, the Ministry of Energy and the Jewel Bank held a meeting yesterday to see how Zimbabwe could extricate itself from the deal which would have seen the Libyans taking control of key petro-chemical installations in the country. [Zimbabwe Independent]
Friday, 3 January, 2003: Libya's government is set to make a larger than expected purchase of wheat flour in the next two weeks. A Libyan tender to purchase between 5,000 and 20,000 tonnes of flour closed on December 2 but a purchase has still not been made. Traders said the purchase is likely to be much larger than the amount given in the tender. They said more than 100,000 tonnes could be involved. One trader said the total could be as high as 600,000 tonnes. [Reuters]
Friday, 3 January, 2003: Libya's oil and gas prospecting company Al-Waha plans to raise the output of the Defa-Waha gas field to 8.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), as part of the $5.6 billion Western Libya Gas Project. Waha sits atop gas, oil and condensate reserves estimated at 1.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), reported OGI. The block's development was undertaken by the Al-Waha Company for Libyan Oil, a subsidiary of the state-owned Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC), and Agip Nord Africa, subsidiary of Italian ENI, after US consortium Oasis Group had abandoned its Libyan operations in 1986, with the imposition of US sanctions on the country. [Al-Bawaba]
Friday, 3 January, 2003: Ambassadors of Senegal, Sudan and Eritrea accredited to Libya Thursday presented their letters of credence as permanent representatives of their respective countries to the general secretariat of the Community of Sahelo- Saharan States. [PANA]

Thursday, 2 January, 2003: Libya may soon be leaving the U.S.-led war on terror, say well-informed U.S. officials. U.S. analysts said that in spite of Qadhafi's willingness to provide information on al-Qaida, the Libyan leader was disillusioned by the renewal last August of Iran-Libya sanctions act. Qadhafi (photo) is also reportedly very upset by U.S. efforts to disarm Iraq, according to U.S. officials. Only a month ago, Qadhafi tried to leave the Arab League because of its weak resistance to U.S. designs in the Middle East, and only strenuous objections and long discussions with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak made him change his mind, according to U.S. sources. [UPI]
Thursday, 2 January, 2003: The British Heath government agreed to a secret arms deal with Libya despite concerns that Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was willing to support the IRA. According to Foreign Office papers released yesterday under the 30-year rule, UK officials suggested that Col Qadhafi should "not be taken seriously" for having suggested that he backed "revolutionaries in Northern Ireland". UK officials negotiated and signed a secret memorandum of understanding with Col Dakhil, the head of Libyan military procurement. This paved the way for the lifting of the ban on British arms sales in return for an assurance that no military support would be offered to the IRA. Libya later broke its pledge, supplying arms and explosives in 1973, and again during the mid 1980s - support that helped to fuel the IRA military campaign. [Financial Times]
Thursday, 2 January, 2003: Lebanese special forces surrounded a Beirut-based satellite TV station Wednesday to prevent it from airing a program criticizing Saudi Arabia. Information Minister Ghazi Aridi had asked New TV Chairman Tahseen Khayat not to broadcast the program scheduled for airing Wednesday night. Khayat's station supports the Lebanese political opposition and is widely believed to have close contacts with Libya, political sources said. [UPI]
Wednesday, 1 January, 2003: British diplomats in Tripoli in the early 1970s suspected Libya's Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was seriously ill but eventually concluded his failure to stick to his schedule was simply proof of his "crazy logic". In April, the Foreign Office received a report that Qadhafi had resigned, but it was only a symbolic gesture and did not mean he had relinquished power. "There is a sort of crazy logic in what he says and does," British diplomat Stephen Egerton informed the Foreign Office in a letter dated June 27, 1972. The reports were among thousands released on Wednesday under the so-called 30-year-rule, which ensures certain previously secret documents are placed in the public domain 30 years after they were written. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 1 January, 2003: Burundi and Libya have agreed not to sue Uganda over some $700 million in unpaid debts. Officials of the Ministry of Finance said last week that the IMF had prevailed on the two governments to drop their intention of suing Uganda, saying such a move would undermine the country's effort to manage its debt sustainably. [The East African]
Wednesday, 1 January, 2003: Libya has raised the selling prices for most of its crude oil grades in January by between 40 and 45 cents a barrel from December, trading sources said. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 1 January, 2003: A total of five African countries are expected to meet the midnight deadline set by Fifa for announcing intent to host the 2010 World Cup. Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia have all expressed their desire to stage the tournament, which will be the first ever held on the African continent. However, because Fifa's offices are closed for the new year, the official list of candidates will only be made available next Monday. [BBC]

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