News and Views [ April 2003 ]

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Wednesday, 30 April, 2003: Libya is willing to pay close to $3 billion to the families of victims of Pan Am Flight 103 after accepting "civil responsibility" for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Libya's foreign minister said Tuesday. The payout was agreed to during negotiations last month between lawyers representing the families and Libya, and is conditional on the lifting of sanctions, Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam (photo) told AP. The family of each of the 270 victims will receive $10 million, he said. [AP]
Wednesday, 30 April, 2003: The United States said Tuesday it had heard nothing official from the Libyan government about a decision to accept civil responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and pay billions of dollars in compensation to victims' families. The US State Department also hinted that an acceptance of civil liability for the bombing might not be enough to lift US and UN sanctions, and urged Libyan officials to take all the steps required. In Jan. 2001, a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands convicted Libyan national Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), and sentenced him to life in prison. [AFP]
Wednesday, 30 April, 2003: Britain has received no confirmation from Tripoli that Libya has accepted "civil responsibility" for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, the Foreign Office said. "We haven't had the confirmation on diplomatic channels," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam told AFP in Tripoli earlier Tuesday that each of the 270 victims' families would receive 10 million dollars in compensation. [AFP]

Tuesday, 29 April, 2003: A high-ranking US official on Monday voiced strong support for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons but added that Washington is still worried that Syria, Libya and N. Korea have active chemical weapons programs. "We are concerned about states not party to the convention (for the prohibition of chemical weapons) like Syria, Libya and N. Korea that have an active chemical weapons program," the US assistant secretary of state for arms control, Stephen Rademaker, said at a press conference in The Hague. [AFP]
Tuesday, 29 April, 2003: As the main rights body of the UN, the Commission on Human Rights is charged with promoting and protecting rights around the world. Yet according to activists, the UN body ended its annual six-week session in Geneva on 25 April doing too little for the victims of abuses. Aaron Rhodes, the director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), said he did not hold high expectations for this year's commission, which was chaired by Libya and counted as members many of the world's worst human rights offenders. [RFERL]
Tuesday, 29 April, 2003: Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi who is in Libya for an official visit told reporters that he is happy that the Libyan government has taken practical steps in fulfilling the pledge of building a state of the art hospital in the outskirts of Blantyre city. During the visit of Colonel Qadhafi to Malawi, President Muluzi requested the Libyan leader to consider constructing a new hospital for the people of Blantyre, which he obliged. [Malawi Standard]
Tuesday, 29 April, 2003: Jordan's national airline is resuming flights to Libya after Tripoli lifted a ban on nationals of 27 countries imposed due to the SARS epidemic, the official Petra news agency reported Monday. The decision "comes in response to a reversal of the decision by the Libyan government, which has exempted Jordan and the other Arab countries, but is keeping the ban on 17 other countries, particularly in south-east Asia," Petra added. [AFP]
Tuesday, 29 April, 2003: The Libyan capital, Tripoli, will Tuesday and Wednesday host the first ordinary session of the Conference of African Health Ministers. [PANA]
Monday, 28 April, 2003: The Philippines yesterday filed protests with Libya over a ban on hiring Filipino workers because of SARS. Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople said he had handed the protest to the Libyan ambassador after Tripoli Thursday indefinitely suspended the hiring of Filipino contract workers in case they brought Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) into the country. Libyan ambassador Salem Adam said that Libya would soon lift the ban on hiring Filipino workers after getting a report on the full situation of SARS in the Philippines. [AFP]
Monday, 28 April, 2003: The Board of Directors of Pak-Libya Holding Company has approved an investment of Rs 400 million in different projects relating to construction, textile, financial and communication. Pak-Libya is a joint company which commenced its operations in 1980. Equally owned by Pakistan and Libya, it operates within the framework of banking laws of Pakistan and its operations are routinely supervised by the State Bank of Pakistan. [Business Recorder]

Sunday, 27 April, 2003: The Bush administration may be ready to end a controversial registration program that has required tens of thousands of visitors from the Middle East and Asia to report to the federal immigration offices to be photographed, fingerprinted and interviewed, White House officials said. Visitors from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Syria must still register as they arrive at ports of entry and report 30 days later to an immigration office. [Union-Tribune]
Sunday, 27 April, 2003: Recently, the UN Commission on Human Rights upgraded Sudan's human rights status so that monitors will no longer be able to expose its jihad, which has resulted in the deaths of over two million, mostly black southern Sudanese. The chair of the commission, Libya, wants to proclaim that the struggle of southern Sudanese to overcome extinction is "untroubling". After all, the Libyan dictatorship does not allow UN human rights monitors within its borders and so what is good for the goose is good for the gander. [The Nation]

Saturday, 26 April, 2003: Libya on Thursday banned its citizens from travelling to 27 countries, including Jordan over SARS fears. The no-go list comprises the Gulf states, most of the Southeast Asian countries, the US and Canada. Citizens from these countries were also barred from entering Libya. A Royal Jordanian source said flights between Amman and Tripoli will be suspended indefinitely. Countries such as Syria, Egypt and Lebanon were not on the list. [Jordan Times]
Saturday, 26 April, 2003: The UN Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR) on Friday condemned abuses by Saddam Hussein's former regime and said the international community must do more to protect Iraqis in the future. But a vocal minority of the 53-nation UNCHR said U.S.-led coalition forces themselves should come under investigation for possibly violating the rights of Iraqis. Critics including China, Libya, Cuba and S. Africa said the resolution was one-sided and failed to address the coalition's role during the war and as an occupying power. [AP]
Saturday, 26 April, 2003: The six-week annual meeting in Geneva of the UN Commission on Human Rights has traditionally sought to bring pressure on countries that are grave violators, but activists said there had been an increasing trend to stop pointing the finger at individual states. "A growing bloc of repressive governments -- including Algeria, China, Cuba, Libya, Russia, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe -- have become more aggressive in blocking or obstructing resolutions critical of any specific country," the New York-based Human Rights Watch said. [Reuters]
Saturday, 26 April, 2003: The new Central African Republic (CAR) government is to review the contracts which the former Bangui administration signed with Libya, CAR Foreign Minister Abdou Karim Meckassoua has said. [PANA]
Saturday, 26 April, 2003: African Union Commission interim Chairman Amara Essy arrived in Tripoli Friday to begin a working visit with Libya authorities. [PANA]

Friday, 25 April, 2003: The Libyan government has suspended the entry of Filipino workers to Libya as part of its precautions against the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). In a verbal note to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Libyan Embassy in Manilla said "no airline is allowed to transport Filipino workers bound for Libya." [Xinhua]
Friday, 25 April, 2003: One of the six Bulgarian medics charged with infecting 393 children with HIV in Benghazi denied the allegations of her husband who insisted that the medics' Libyan lawyer tortured them. Nurse Valya Chervenyashka told the Bulgarian National Radio that the Libyan lawyer Osman Bizanti (photo) has never taken part in the tortures she suffered during the questioning. She said her husband who went public on Tuesday to accuse Bizanti probably acted out of nervousness. [Novinite]
Friday, 25 April, 2003: The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) backed a call for a halt to the death penalty, pushing aside objections from countries such as the US and China. The resolution, submitted by the EU, represented the seventh consecutive year the UNCHR has urged states to place a moratorium on capital punishment with a view to its abolition. The US joined nine countries - amongst them China, Saudi Arabia and Libya - in opposing the resolution. [Reuters]
Friday, 25 April, 2003: Algerian Prime Minister Ali Benflis on Thursday reiterated his government's call for the immediate lifting of UN sanctions against Libya. [PANA]
Friday, 25 April, 2003: The Philippines plans to protest Libya's indefinite ban on acceptance of Filipino workers over reported SARS cases in the Philippines, officials said Thursday. The Department of Foreign Affairs would lodge a protest Friday against Libya's "discriminatory" move, they said. Libya told the Philippines Wednesday that any Filipino contract workers arriving by air in Libya would be deported back to the Philippines at their own cost. [Kyodo]
Friday, 25 April, 2003: Egypt said that it was agreed to take immediate measures with Libya to remove all obstacles in the way of the passage of individuals and their belongings through crossing points between the two countries. It was agreed to set up one joint crossing point to check identities without any customs duties as regards individuals and to regulate the speedy flow of goods between the two countries. [Arabic News]
Friday, 25 April, 2003: Afghanistan has asked to join the 146-member World Trade Organisation (WTO), but it could take years before it is admitted. Afghanistan would join a waiting list of 26 countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia and Serbia. Requests by Iran, Syria and Libya have been blocked by the US and as a result they do not even enjoy observer status. [BBC]
Friday, 25 April, 2003: Iraqi embassies around the world remain open and in the hands of diplomats appointed by Saddam Hussein's regime, raising fears that they could facilitate the escape of wanted Iraqi officials, U.S. and foreign diplomats say. An unofficial review shows that Iraqi diplomats appointed by the old regime are still at work in many countries, including Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Russia, Belarus, China, Libya and Tunisia. [The Washington Times]

Thursday, 24 April, 2003: The head of Libya's OPEC delegation Abdulhafidh al-Zlitni (photo) said on Wednesday that the cartel needed to adhere to current quotas to correct market oversupply. "For the moment I think it will be sufficient -- that will keep the prices stable," al-Zlitni told reporters on his arrival for the Thursday meeting. He said that he did not yet see a need to cut current output quotas to arrest oversupply, which he estimated at around two million barrels per day. [Reuters]
Thursday, 24 April, 2003: An Algerian terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda is holding hostage the 31 European tourists who disappeared in the Sahara desert weeks ago. The tourists were kidnapped as human shields because the terrorists feared a clampdown by the authorities, the Austrian weekly Profil magazine reports in its latest edition, due out Monday. It said the kidnappers were members of a terror group led by Mokhtar Benmokhtar, a group which has recently taken in al-Qaeda members who fled from Libya. [AFP]
Wednesday, 23 April, 2003: Osman Bizanti, the Libyan lawyer of six Bulgarians charged with infecting 393 children with HIV in Benghazi, has tortured them while they have been questioned, Dr. Emil Uzunov, husband of one of the defendants, told radio Net. Bizanti denied this information. The spokesman of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry also denied Uzunov's claim. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 23 April, 2003: A US federal appeals court in Washington Tuesday left the door open for an American woman to sue Libya for a 1987 "hostage taking." The three-judge appeals court panel said the woman must amend the hostage-taking claim in her suit to comply with federal law but dismissed her claim of torture. In the suit, Sandra Jean Simpson alleged battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium. [UPI]
Wednesday, 23 April, 2003: Bosnia-Hercegovina's Bosna-S Oil Services Co., in cooperation with German MAN, recently won a job at an international tender to reconstruct GLRU facilities in al-Brega chemical complex in Libya. The job is worth about 4 million euros. [BBC-MS]
Wednesday, 23 April, 2003: The slate of candidates for the U.N.'s top body responsible for human rights is riddled with nations with abysmal records on the issue, rights activists charge. Likely new candidates to the U.N. Rights Commission include N. Korea, Iran, Egypt and Nigeria. Human Rights Watch called the slate "a 'Who's Who' of the worst human rights abusers". The commission is holding its annual session in Geneva, presided over by Libya. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 22 April, 2003: The US shows no sign of knowing where the toppled Iraqi president is, or even whether he is still alive. Most speculation has focused on Syria as a hiding place, but analysts say it is unlikely Damascus would harbour him because of the risk that the US would make it the next target of its war on terror. They say Saddam probably made his escape plans long ago and could be hiding anywhere from in a cave in Iraq to a luxury villa in Libya. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 22 April, 2003: Algerian Libyan Arab Oil Exploration and Production Company, a joint venture between Algeria's Sonatrach and Libya's NOCL, said on Monday it is offering four oil and gas exploration licences for auctions. It set October 20 as the deadline for the bidders to submit their offers. Three blocks are in Ghardaia province in southern Algeria and the fourth block lies in Libyan Ghadamis area, near the border between Algeria and Libya. [Reuters]

Monday, 21 April, 2003: Korea's LG Engineering and Construction Corp. (LG E&C) said it has agreed with Azzawiya Oil Refining Co. (ARC) of Libya to cancel their oil refinery contract. LG E&C reached agreement last May on the US$307.1 million deal with ARC, an affiliate of a Libyan state-run oil firm. "The Libyan company has continued to be reluctant to provide the money which is supposed to be paid before the start of the project," an LG E&C source said. "Thus, LG E&C has decided to annul the contract in order to prevent the deterioration of its profits." [Asia Pulse]
Monday, 21 April, 2003: Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), the company chosen last month by the Pentagon to extinguish oil well fires in Iraq, has a long history of supporting the same terrorist regimes vilified by the Bush administration, according to public documents. Halliburton, headed by Dick Cheney before he became vice president, and it's KBR subsidiary did business with some of the world's most notorious governments and dictators in countries such as Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria. [Online]
Monday, 21 April, 2003: Saddam Hussein's entourage hid out in the home of a former family bodyguard for much of the US-led air war, fleeing only when a bunker-busting bomb meant for the Iraqi leader struck a block away, residents have said. An ornate two-storey limestone structure with arches looping on top, the house at times had been rented by ambassadors of Libya and Algeria, the home owner and other neighbours said. The accounts heightened the possibility that Saddam survived the April 7 attack. [News]

Sunday, 20 April, 2003: The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation, John Wolf told "Several countries in Africa have uranium. But I think everybody in Africa is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty... We have some concerns about the direction of Libya's nuclear program and some questions that still have to be resolved". [AllAfrica]
Sunday, 20 April, 2003: Morocco on Friday defeated Libya 71-63 in a basketball match played in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli part of the African Nations Cup preliminary heats (CAN-2003). The return match will take place next June in Casablanca. [Arabic News]
Sunday, 20 April, 2003: The court hearing of the case against six Bulgarian medics, charged in Libya with infecting 393 children with HIV in a hospital in Benghazi, will be held by the end of May, Osman Bizanti, the Libyan lawyer of the six medics, said at a meeting with the medics. Several days ago the medics were moved to a new location in Tripoli. [Novinite]
Sunday, 20 April, 2003: The Arab Socialist Ba'ath lost its lustre long before the destruction of Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime. The only gain of the Ba'ath was the social reforms of the 1970s, which in Iraq have in any case been undone. The failures involved the growth of repressive state apparatus, regional instability and war. In the 1950s, the Ba'ath became a major political force with tens of thousands of members in Arab states from Libya to Iraq. [The Scotsman]

Saturday, 19 April, 2003: Idris al-Senussi, a leading figure of the Libyan opposition in exile, says that some Iraqis were evacuated via Damascus with Libyan assistance. He says that a private plane left Libya on April 9, flew to Damascus and returned the next day with a planeload of Iraqis. Al-Senussi said he informed the Pentagon as soon as he received word from his sources. "Satellite imaging confirmed our reports, but upon checking with the Libyan authorities, U.S. officials were told that this was a humanitarian mission," he said. [The Washington Post]
Saturday, 19 April, 2003: Idris al-Senussi, a leading figure of the Libyan opposition in exile, said he rejected an offer made by intermediaries from Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to return to Libya as prime minister. "Because of what has happened in Iraq, everything is frozen now. Everything may change," he said. Al-Senussi works for Washington Investment Partners and has homes in Washington, London, Rome and Madrid. [The Washington Post]
Saturday, 19 April, 2003: The UN commission on human rights approved a relatively mild resolution asking Cuba to allow a monitor to examine the treatment of dissidents on the island. But U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen blasted what she labeled a "weak" resolution. "We could not expect much from a commission that has Libya as its chair," she said. [The Miami Herald]

Friday, 18 April, 2003: A European Union mission is to visit Libya to assess the situation of illegal immigration in the country, an official communique said Thursday in Brussels. [PANA]
Friday, 18 April, 2003: The Central African Republic (CAR's) post-coup government says it has suspended all mining agreements so officials can ensure companies have paid taxes. The move will also bring into question a 99-year mining agreement the CAR signed in June giving Libya rights to all the country's natural resources which include diamonds, gold and uranium. [BBC]
Friday, 18 April, 2003: Egyptian Prime Minister Atif Ubayd had talks with Libyan prime minister Mubarak al-Shamikh in Tripoli Wednesday night. Al-Shamikh highlighted the importance of Egyptian-Libyan integration, saying that Libyan investments in Egypt had reached 700 million dollars. He said that the figure would be doubled in the foreseeable future. [MENA]
Friday, 18 April, 2003: Libya and Ukraine on Wednesday signed an agreement to boost trade cooperation. The agreement was signed by Libyan deputy prime minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi and Ukrainian Transport Minister Heorhiy Kyrpa. [BBCMS]
Friday, 18 April, 2003: Seoul Government is considering measures in response to complaints from foreign diplomats who are racking up traffic penalties because of difficulties parking their vehicles. Ahmed al-Tabuli, the Libyan Ambassador to Korea, is one of the diplomats who criticized the city government's policy in a letter to The Korea Herald Wednesday. [The Korea Herald]
Thursday, 17 April, 2003: In an interview with Radio Sawa, John Bolton, US under secretary of state for arms control and internationsal security affairs said: "We are hoping that the elimination of Saddam Hussein's regime and the elimination of all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction would be important lessons to other countries in the region, particularly Syria, Libya and Iran, that the cost of their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is potentially quite high." [US-Info]
Thursday, 17 April, 2003: The U.S. under secretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, John Bolton told Radio Sawa that the US intends to exert "a maximum diplomatic effort" to persuade "states like Syria, Libya and Iran among others to give up their pursuit of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and long range missile delivery systems." [US-Info]
Thursday, 17 April, 2003: Western diplomatic reports say Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya and several other countries are afraid of a permanent US presence in post-Saddam Iraq. Some Arab officials fear Washington plans to use Iraq as a base for intervention in other parts of the Middle East. Western diplomats believe the Arab world is stunned by the speedy success of coalition troops and are looking for flaws in the post-war situation in Iraq. [Daily Times]
Thursday, 17 April, 2003: Egyptian prime minister Dr Atef Obeid left Cairo on Wednesday for Tripoli at a head of a high-ranking delegation on an official visit to Libya. While in Tripoli, Dr Obeid will hold talks with the concerned Libyan officials on bilateral relations, notably on issues pertaining to boosting Egyptian exports to Libya. [SPA]
Wednesday, 16 April, 2003: Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan are among the world's most repressive regimes, according to the US-based independent advocacy group, Freedom House. In a report to the UN Human Rights Commission session underway in Geneva, the group has listed 16 countries and three territories it considers as the worst offenders in terms of civil liberties and human rights - among them China, Libya, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. [UN-IRIN]
Wednesday, 16 April, 2003: The six Bulgarian medics, charged with intentionally infecting 400 Libyan children with HIV have been moved to a new location. Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Todorov explained that the medics had to leave their Tripoli villa due to a highway construction. He stressed that the six medics have not been taken to prison. [Novinite]

Tuesday, 15 April, 2003: The war in Iraq has not yet been declared over but there is already talk of which country might be next. On Monday both Britain and America have hinted that Syria, which neighbours Iraq, might have weapons of mass destruction. It is one of the countries on America's so-called "axis of evil". Last year Syria, Libya and Cuba joined the list of countries the Americans have accused of developing chemical or biological weapons. [BBC]
Tuesday, 15 April, 2003: Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa stressed Sunday that Arabs should take part in the reconstruction of Iraq. Mousa contacted a number of Arab foreign ministers, including Maher of Egypt, Al-Triki (photo) of Libya, Bin Mubarak of Bahrain, Al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Belkhadem of Algeria, Yahia of Tunisia and Al-Kurbi of Yemen, on Sunday to discuss the situation in Iraq. [Angop]
Tuesday, 15 April, 2003: A suspected al-Qaeda mastermind linked to the abduction of five Norfolk children has been named at the centre of a web of terrorists once based in Leicester, UK. Police believe Jamel Beghal was one of a group who conspired to abduct five children disappeared nearly three years ago after being collected by their Libyan father at their home in Saxlingham Thorpe. The Elgirnazi children, Rumaysa, Safiya, Ali, Hamza, and Aisha had lived there with their mother Anita and were later traced to Libya, where they are still thought to be. [EN24]
Tuesday, 15 April, 2003: South Africa's sports minister Ngconde Balfour said on Monday that his country was extremely confident of winning the bid to host the 2010 World Cup finals. Balfour said South Africa had no intention of underestimating the bids of the other five candidates -- Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. "We will bid against them with the same intensity and drive as we would if we were up against any other country," said Balfour. [Reuters]
Monday, 14 April, 2003: Most Arab governments privately dread a democratic Iraq next door. For them, the Baath party remaining in power is preferable to it being replaced by a government antithetical to their regimes. Autocratic governments in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tunisia are clearly concerned that a precedent-setting democratic regime could come to power in Baghdad. Many observers contend the popular anti-war protests that swept most Arab countries were not pro-Saddam so much as protests against their own governments. [UPI]
Monday, 14 April, 2003: Rulers across the Middle East have just witnessed how quickly Iraqis went from pledging "our blood, our souls" for Saddam Hussein to toppling his statues and spitting on his portraits. Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo) are believed to have been grooming their sons to succeed them. Analysts expect Washington to push Middle Eastern countries to introduce political and social reforms. [Sun Spot]
Sunday, 13 April, 2003: A report to the United States Congress yesterday by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) alleged that Indian entities have helped Libya develop ballistic missiles. It said that with assistance from India, Serbia, Iran, North Korea and China, Libya will soon have medium-range ballistic missile or extended-range Scud capability. [The Telegraph - India]
Sunday, 13 April, 2003: Pakistan on Saturday strongly denied the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report that Islamabad has been moving toward domestic serial production of solid-propellant short-range ballistic missiles with the help of China. The CIA report also said that firms in China have provided dual-use missile-related items, raw materials and/or assistance to several other countris of proliferation concern--such as Iran, Libya and N. Korea. [Pak-Tribune]
Sunday, 13 April, 2003: When Idris M. Tayeb, Cultural Counselor in the Libyan Embassy in New Delhi, decided to translate some of his poems into English, the publishers, Samkaleen Prakashan, thought of illustrating them, the choice was Kanchan Chander. "There is such a lyrical quality to Tayeb's poems," says Chander, "While some of the works are from an earlier collection, most have been done for this project... I liked working on this project because Tayeb is a very warm human being." [Hindustan Times]
Sunday, 13 April, 2003: European Union foreign ministers are likely next week to reject an Italian proposal for the EU to relax a ban on sales of military equipment to Libya. Italy has suggested Libya be allowed to import non-lethal material to help it catch illegal immigrants sailing to Europe from North Africa. However, diplomats from other EU nations said there was no consensus on easing the ban imposed after Libyans were implicated in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. EU officials expressed concern that the equipment could be put to other uses. [AP]
Sunday, 13 April, 2003: Nearly a quarter-century, a baby girl was kidnapped from America to live in Libya. Junifer Jensen used to go by the Arab name Aziza. Junifer's mother got on a plane to Amman, Jordan and under the watchful eye of an uncle, Junifer went there, too - austensibly to see a sick relative. But in the middle of the night, she slipped out of her bedroom to met her mom. Armed with a new American passport, they jumped on a plane headed for America. [KRON]

Saturday, 12 April, 2003: Richard Perle, one of the chief U.S. ideologists behind the war to oust Saddam Hussein, warned Friday that the U.S. would be compelled to act if it discovered that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have been concealed in Syria. Asked if this meant it would go after other countries after Iraq, he replied: "If next means who will next experience the 3d Army Division..., that's the wrong question. If the question is who poses a threat that the U.S. deal with, then that list is well known. It's Iran. It's North Korea. It's Syria. It's Libya..." [Herald Tribune]
Saturday, 12 April, 2003: Aisha Charitable Society [a Libyan society chaired by Qadhafi's daughter Aisha (photo)] sponsored a press conference last night in Paris, with the particpation of a number of French, Arab and African law professors, intellectuals and journalists and a number of non-governmental organisations. The speakers in the conference focused on the following issues: war in Iraq, huaman and legal ramificatios of the war and the absence of international legitmacy. [JANA]
Saturday, 12 April, 2003: Hanan Khaled Zeghbia (expert from Libya) told the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which is holding a debate on Human Rights of Women, that Libya was party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which it ratified 1989. Furthermore, Hanan Zeghbia said, Libya had ratified most international human rights instruments and was committed to their implementation. [M2]
Saturday, 12 April, 2003: South Africa has volunteered to host the first session of the Pan African Parliament. A Steering Committee is to meet in Addis Ababa in June to finalise the Parliament. The committee is made up of Gabon and Cameroon from Central Africa, Rwanda and Tanzania from East Africa, Sahrawi Arab Republic and Libya from North Africa, Botswana and South Africa from Southern Africa and Mali and Togo from West Africa. [SABC]
Saturday, 12 April, 2003: Television images of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue on Wednesday brought to the minds of many the destruction of symbols of Communism in 1989. But some analysts said the comparison between the mob scenes in Baghdad and events in Eastern European cities in the late 1980s are somewhat far-fetched. The Balkan states under Communism, for example, saw themselves living under foreign domination, while the despotic regimes in Libya, Syria and Iran - or even Hussein's dictatorship in Iraq - grew from within. [CNS]

Friday, 11 April, 2003: Italy has asked its European Union partners to consider relaxing sanctions against Libya to help the country buy equipment to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Africa, EU diplomats said. Rome would like the EU to make exceptions to its arms embargo to allow Libya to purchase more modern equipment to patrol its coastline. [Reuters]
Friday, 11 April, 2003: New sources of weapons technology and supplies in the West, along with countries such as N. Korea, Russia and China, hinder efforts to stem the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the CIA said. In a report to the US Congress, the CIA cited efforts by Iran, Iraq, N. Korea, Syria, Libya to develop or acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. [AFP]
Friday, 11 April, 2003: Moderate Arab leaders pledged to support the planned US-led interim authority in Iraq, but insisted there should be a swift transition to a new Iraqi leadership. More hard-line countries, such as Syria, called for an end to the "occupation". There are fears Bush may turn his attention to other nations such as Syria, Iran, Libya and N. Korea. [The Herald]

Thursday, 10 April, 2003: France urged southern European and North African states on Wednesday to work together to prevent the war in Iraq turning the Mediterranean basin into a faultline between the West and the Muslim world. Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told a Euro-North African forum in the French Riviera resort of Sainte-Maxime that the U.S.-led war risked deepening divisions around the world. The so-called "5+5" meeting groups France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain with Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. [Reuters]
Thursday, 10 April, 2003: According to Al-Hayat newspaper, the Egyptian Investment and Free Trade Zones General Authority recently awarded a work permit to the Arab Oil and Gas Pipelines Company (al-Toyoub). Al-Toyoub will transport Libyan oil to Egypt for refining in Cairo and Alexandria, and export Egyptian gas to Libya. Libya's National Oil Corporation will own 50 percent of the venture, with EGPC and its subsidiaries owning the rest. [FTIL]

Amnesty International: Libya: Time To Take Further Steps..

Wednesday, 9 April, 2003: Amnesty International (AI) called Tuesday on Libya's appeals court to scrap a death sentence handed down to two suspected Islamic militants when it reconvenes Wednesday to deliver a verdict. The verdict is expected in the appeal hearing of 152 men arrested in June 1998 and charged of supporting a banned Libyan Islamic group, Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya al-Libiya, said the rights watchdog. AI said in a statement it hoped the death sentences handed down last year against academics Salem Abu Hanak (photo/left) and Abdullah Izzedin (photo/right) would be "quashed", charging the original trial was "unfair." [AFP]
Wednesday, 9 April, 2003: Pictures of American troops in the center of Baghdad, and then speculation that Saddam Hussein had been bombed, gave the impression yesterday that the end of the war has drawn considerably closer. Arab television stations, however, have been presenting another impression about the war, and the Iraqi information minister insisted yesterday that Baghdad was unscathed even as the city burned around him. On Arabic Network News from Libya, a commentator said Iraq was right where it wanted to be in the war. The Republican Guard had suckered the coalition forces into the area surrounding Baghdad, said the commentator. [Sun]
Tuesday, 8 April, 2003: Monday's Arab press views the future of post-Saddam Iraq... "The purpose of the war is not to invade Iraq, but to invade the minds of Iraqis and non-Iraqis. The purpose is to change human beings from citizens who have affinity with a homeland to citizens of the world order, American-style," said al-Jamahiriyah newspaper [Libya]. [BBC]
Tuesday, 8 April, 2003: The Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily (SOLIDA) called on the Libyan authorities Sunday to come forward with the fate of Imam Moussa Sadr, Shaikh Mohammed Yacoub, and Abbas Badreddine. SOLIDA urged Libya, which now chairs the UN Commission on Human Rights, to reveal the fate of Sadr and his two travel companions who disappeared in Libya on Aug. 31, 1978, the day of their meeting with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo). [The Daily Star]

Brief Period In Libya Gives Couple Perspective On How Iraqis Might Feel

Monday, 7 April, 2003: The Libyan government's pursuit of nuclear weapons has hastened since the UN suspended sanctions against the country in 1999, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton said this weekend. "Our evidence is very convincing that the government of Libya has substantially increased its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction," Bolton said in an interview with Radio Sawa, a U.S.-funded AM radio station whose broadcasts cover most of the Arab world. "It's pursuing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and ballistic missile systems that would make it a grave threat to its neighbors both in North Africa and across the Mediterranean Sea, and indeed worldwide possibly," Bolton said. [UPI]
Monday, 7 April, 2003: A post-war Iraq could kill off the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) if it were to leave the cartel in a bid to produce as much oil as it can , analysts warn. "If the Iraqi oil industry is privatised, forget about OPEC, it is dead," said Leo Drollas of London's Center for Global Energy Studies (CGES). Hawks in the US administration believe that certain OPEC member countries use their oil revenues to finance terrorism. The Hawks are counting on the drop in the oil price to stimulate growth in the United States and the rest of the West and to devastate the economies of Iran and Libya, two OPEC members considered rogue states by Washington, and to create conditions that will help topple their regimes. [AFP]
Sunday, 6 April, 2003: Libyan investors led by deputy Minister for African Unity, Dr Khaled Zentuti, are expected in Zimbabwe this month to finalise plans with government and local companies. The delegation will include director of foreign investments, Dr Rajab Mansour, and Mustafa Khattabi, head of the Libyan Arab Africa Investment Company. Representatives from three other companies reportedly interested in building a hotel in Kariba and investing in shoe and plastic manufacturing will also form part of the delegation. [Zimbabwe Independent]
Sunday, 6 April, 2003: A bill before the Florida Legislature would ban state aid to university and college students who are citizens of countries on the US State Department's list of nations that sponsor terrorism. The proposal, drafted by state Rep. Dick Kravitz, would bar state aid from going to students from six of the seven countries on the State Department list: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya and N. Korea. Cuba is also on the list but was amended out of the bill. [AP]

Saturday, 5 April, 2003: The Argentine Football Association (AFA) will make a decision next week on whether their friendly against Libya will go ahead. Argentina is due to tackle Libya in Tripoli on April 30 but the match is in grave doubt due to the ongoing war in Iraq. The AFA is keen for the game to be played as they will receive $900,000 for playing. [Planet Football]
Saturday, 5 April, 2003: Leaders of the Philippine's Moro National Liberation Front will meet in Tripoli today with the opening rites to be attended by Philippine government representatives and officials of various diplomatic missions in Tripoli. Ali al-Treki (photo), Libya's secretary for African Unity, and Dr. Ahmad al-Sharif, secretary general of the World Islamic Call Society, are expected at the event. [MB]

Friday, 4 April, 2003: In the wake of the war on Iraq, the Arab League (AL) "can no longer go on in its current shape," the secretary general of the AL, Amr Mussa, said. Arab diplomats in Cairo told AFP that talks were underway to set the basis for a new regional grouping. "some Arab states will be excluded because of negative past experiences," one diplomat said. Prior to the war, radical states such as Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Yemen were backing Iraq's demand that the Arab states commit to not providing any assistance to a US-led invasion. [AFP]
Friday, 4 April, 2003: Libya reiterated on Thursday its decision to withdraw from the Arab League in protest over the group's inability to take "a firm and strong position" toward the US-led invasion of Iraq. Libya's league ambassador Abdel-Minem al-Houni (photo) said he had made the request during talks Thursday with Arab League chief Amr Mussa. Libya "demands the implementation of its demand to withdraw from the league, to protest and object against its inability to remedy the deterioration of the current situation and the serious dangers threatening the Arab nation," al-Houni said. [AFP]
Thursday, 3 April, 2003: The US did not launch the war in Iraq to control Baghdad's oil supplies, an influential British research institute said on Wednesday, rejecting suggestions that oil was the prime motivation for Washington's drive to topple President Saddam Hussein. The Royal Institute of International Affairs also noted in a study on Iraq's oil that "US sanctions against Iran and Libya have barred access of American companies to those markets, while European and other countries have had a freer hand to invest in these oil rich countries". [Business Times]
Thursday, 3 April, 2003: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo) called for a swift halt to hostilities in Iraq and return to diplomatic solutions to the crisis, the Russian foreign ministry said late Wednesday. In telephone talks Wednesday, "both sides stressed that military action against Iraq must be stopped as soon as possible and the situation brought into the field of international law," the ministry said in a statement. [AFP]
Dr Fathi al-Akkari: Peace And War; An Islamic Perspective

Wednesday, 2 April, 2003: Libya began airlifting relief supplies to Iraq via Syria Tuesday to help people affected by the U.S.-led war on Iraq, the Libyan Embassy in Damascus said. The first plane carrying 40 tons of food and medical supplies arrived at Damascus Airport early Monday, one of 15 shipments expected to arrive in Syria within the next week. The relief supplies were "a gift from the Libyan people to the Iraqi people," the Libyan Embassy said. [AP]
Wednesday, 2 April, 2003: AL-Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo), the son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has paid out $327,000 to set up a date between his club al-Ittihad and Spanish giants Barcelona. Al-Saadi, 29, is a director of his club, the Libyan champions, and holds the same post with Libya's football federation. And as his club's owner he is fairly certain to play some part in the match-up. [The Courier-Mail]

Tuesday, 1 April, 2003: When war ends in Iraq, the US will give "extremely high priority" to halting a nuclear weapons program in Iran, a senior official said Monday. John Bolton, the under secretary for arms control, also named Libya and Syria as nations with active efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. He said Libya is seeking "to obtain facilities critical for a complete nuclear fuel cycle" that would give it material for bombs. Bolton told Israeli officials recently that the US would have to "deal" with Syria, Iran, Libya and N. Korea after Iraq. [KRN/BBC]
Tuesday, 1 April, 2003: The United States pilloried Libya's human rights record, accusing Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo) of committing a litany of serious abuses even as Libya holds the chairmanship of the UN Commisson on Human Rights. In its annual review of human rights practices around the world, the US State Department said Libya fell far short of meeting internationally accepted standards, abrogating numerous of its citizens' rights. "The government's human rights record remained poor and it continued to commit numerous serious abuses," said the department's report on Libya for 2002. [AFP]

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