News and Views [ August 2003 ]

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Sunday, 31 August, 2003: A source familiar with the [UTA negotiations] said Libya had wanted a deal to be ready in time for Monday's national holiday, which marks the anniversary of the coup that brought Qadhafi to power in 1969. The source told Reuters Libya had to date offered around $300,000 per family -- far above the original payment -- to be paid by a fund run by Qadhafi's son Saif al-Islam. If France backed the U.N. vote, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam could meet his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin and publicly state Libya's intention to make a gesture towards the UTA families, the source added. [Reuters]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: A Libyan official told AFP that the ceremonies to mark the Libyan revolution of September 1969 would see "thousands of women" marching through Tripoli and around the country, while official media would focus on the position of women in Libyan society. The official said Libya was proud of the role women have in society and highlighted that it was one of the first countries to create a military academy for women. [AFP]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: A French group seeking a Lockerbie-style compensation deal for the 1989 bombing of a French airline over Niger left for Tripoli for talks with the Libyan government, raising hopes of a breakthrough on the lifting of UN sanctions against Libya. "Following diplomatic contacts made in recent days, the representatives of the families of the victims of flight UTA 772 left today for Tripoli," said French foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous. The representatives "left aboard a plane chartered by the French foreign ministry with a view to resuming negotiations with the Libyan party," Ladsous said. [AFP]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: Libya is ready to improve compensation for the families of those killed in a 1989 French airliner bombing if Paris backs the end of U.N. sanctions against Libya, an adviser to Tripoli told Reuters. Saad Jebbar, a London-based lawyer who has worked with the Libyans over the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, said that an intervention by French President Chirac could break the deadlock. "I am sure that if President Chirac picked up the phone today and told Qadhafi that France would not veto the resolution, that this will pave the way for better conditions for the families," he told Reuters. [Reuters]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: 25 years ago tomorrow (31 August) ­ the highly respected Lebanese Shiite cleric, Imam Musa al-Sadr, disappeared in Tripoli, Libya. He was due to meet with the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on the day of his "disappearance," in one of the most notorious police states in the world. The Libyan government repeatedly claimed that [al-Sadr] and his two followers, Sheikh Mohammed Yaaqoub and Abbas Badreddine, had left Libya for Italy. But the claim was unconvincing and an Italian court debunked it, ruling that the founder of Lebanon's Amal Movement and his followers never set foot on Italian soil. [The Daily Star]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will speak about the Lockerbie bombing, for which Tripoli recently agreed to pay compensation, in a speech on Sunday to mark the 34th anniversary of the Revolution. Qadhafi "will give a speech in which he will comment on the Lockerbie issue and his 'white paper' for a solution to the Palestinian question," the state news agency JANA said Saturday. His speech will also cover "the final attempt to save the Arab world from collapse by setting up an Arab union that will include all the proposals put forward by Arab countries" to reform the Arab League, Jana added. [AFP]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: FAO director Jacques Diouf briefed Libyan leader Qadhafi in Tripoli Thursday on the UN agency's role in development efforts in Africa and the world at large. [PANA]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: Libya plans to raise its diplomatic representation in Madagascar to an ambassadorial level, a top official of Lima Holding, a Libyan-Malagasy company, said. [PANA]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore met in Tripoli late Thursday with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, on bilateral, African and international issues. [PANA]
Sunday, 31 August, 2003: Lebanese Association of Apple Growers and Exporters spokesman Rafik Abi Younes announced Friday that Libya would resume the import of local apples. According to Abi Younes, the Libyan charge d’affaires in Beirut, Hussein Mohammed Ahmed Sharif, said that his government had decided to fulfill the committee's demand, adding that a Libyan delegation would be formed to discuss previous contracts and sign new agreements. [The Daily Star]

Saturday, 30 August, 2003: A Sierra Leonean rights group Friday called on [Libya] to pay compensation to Sierra Leone for its alleged support of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) during the decade-long civil war in the west African state. "There is no doubt that the decade of unimaginable savagery perpetrated against innocent civilians (in Sierra Leone) was a direct consequence of President (Mu'ammar) Qadhafi and his government's conduct", said Aroun Rashid Deen, secretary general of the Sierra Leoneans for Justice group. [AFP]
Saturday, 30 August, 2003: Italy has urged Libya to settle a dispute with France, which is seeking a Lockerbie-style deal for the victims of a 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Friday. "We encourage Libya to find a solution to the question with France, to allow the UN to change tack and lift sanctions" against Tripoli, Frattini told a press conference held jointly with his British counterpart Jack Straw. "Italy has always supported Libya's return to international relations," he told reporters. [AFP]
Saturday, 30 August, 2003: A Lebanese national committee dealing with the disappearance of Shiite leader Imam Musa Sadr met on Thursday to discuss the progress of investigations into the 1978 disappearance of the cleric. The whereabouts of Sadr and his two companions, who were on an official visit to Libya, are unknown. All members of the committee, which includes religious and secular personalities, called for "intensifying efforts ... to find a glimpse of light". [The Daily Star]
Saturday, 30 August, 2003: The Ukrainian national company Naftogaz Ukrainy (NU) plans to start producing oil and gas in Libya in 2006 or 2007, Vladimir Zadorozhny, the Director of the Libyan office of the company, reported at a press conference today. In early 2004, NU will sign a production sharing contract with the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC). NU may get from 15 to 35 percent of oil and gas produced in Libya. Naftogaz Ukrainy will invest $100m to $300m in the Libyan project. The investment is to be paid back in 6 or 7 years. [The Moscow Times]
Saturday, 30 August, 2003: Athletes from Thailand, Algeria, Turkey and Libya were among 16 people injured Friday when their shuttle bus collided with a commuter bus outside the track and field venue at the World University Games [in South Korea]. No one was believed to be seriously injured, police said. Eight Thai, four Algerians, two Turkish and one Libyan athlete and a South Korean passenger sustained minor injuries in the crash. [AP]
Saturday, 30 August, 2003: Indonesia and Libya signed an agreement on August 25, Director General of Trade and Industry Ministry for Foreign Trade Sudar SA said Friday. "Hopefully, it will have be made effective by December this year," he said. Based on the agreement, Indonesia would import 50,000 barrels per day or 1.5 million barrels per month valued at some US$45 million per month. Meanwhile, Libya will purchase 16 commodities from Indonesia, including textiles and its products, shoes, processed-food, tissue paper, tea, coffee and timber. [The Jakarta Post]
Saturday, 30 August, 2003: A seminar was held recently in Libya on the theme "Privatisation of the Public Sector". The seminar, held at Dat Al-Imad Complex in Tripoli, was organised by the General Libyan Broadcasting Corporation, the Zawia Chamber of Commerce and Certified Public Accountants Mohamed Ghattour & Co. It was addressed, amongst others, by the Libyan Finance Minister, Dr. Al Egaili Brini, the Libyan Minister of Economy and Trade, Dr. Abdelqader Balkheir and by the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya, Dr. Ahmed Menaisy. [DI-VI]
Saturday, 30 August, 2003: Libya has hiked the official selling prices for most of its crudes in September by 15-25 cents a barrel, raising Es-Sider the most to Dated -50 cents, its highest price since April, trading sources said on Friday. [Reuters]
Saturday, 30 August, 2003: The Libyan official news agency reported that "The Egyptian Camel Sports Club has announced that it took a decision during its constitutive meeting at the African Union to name itself after the Leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi". [Arabic News]

Friday, 29 August, 2003: A charity foundation headed by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son offered to pay compensation to the relatives of three people killed in a 1986 nightclub bombing in Berlin. In a statement in Berlin, the Qadhafi Foundation said that its "gesture of humanity" over the nightclub attack was not an admission of responsibility. The blast at the La Belle nightclub, popular with US servicemen, killed two American soldiers and a Turkish woman and wounded more than 250 people. The German government welcomed the statement. [AFP]
Friday, 29 August, 2003: Britain has agreed to again delay a U.N. vote on ending sanctions against Libya, to allow French families more time to agree a new compensation deal with Tripoli, London's ambassador to France says. Britain drafted a U.N. Security Council resolution to end sanctions against Libya after Tripoli agreed to pay $2.7 billion to families of the 270 people killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. But France vowed to block the move unless Qadhafi increased the $34 million Tripoli has paid to victims of the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner. [Reuters]
Friday, 29 August, 2003: France plans to veto a British draft resolution on lifting UN sanctions on Libya if it comes to a vote Friday, a French diplomat said. "If a vote is called on Friday, we will have to vote negatively," the diplomat told reporters. A British diplomat said Wednesday there was a 50-50 chance Britain would ask for a vote by the end of the week. [AFP]
Friday, 29 August, 2003: The general secretariat of the Arab revolutionary democratic dialogue forum held a meeting in Tripoli Tuesday night in the attendance of Ahmed ben Bella, the chairman of the forum, the secretary general and members of the forum. The meeting discussed the present Arab situation, mainly in Iraq and in the occupied Palestinian lands. [Al-Bawaba]
Friday, 29 August, 2003: Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri has sounded out Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi about enhancing their respective countries' economic and trade cooperation. Megawati has written a letter to Qadhafi, which was presented to the latter by Indonesian Industry and Trade Minister Rini MS Soewandi in Libya on Tuesday. [Asia Pulse]

Thursday, 28 August, 2003: The US-UK-Libya Lockerbie deal marks a regrettable return to a legal form that predates advances in criminal law. By restricting the arrangements to monetary compensation, the public right to see the real perpetrators brought to account has fallen by the wayside ... "State responsibility" in criminal law should no longer be accepted. It is individuals who must be held responsible for international crimes. Indeed, in Lockerbie, the Libyan "state" meant nothing. The bombing was ordered by top officials, probably by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi himself, and carried out by an apparatus under his command. These physical persons, not an abstract concept of the "state," should be held accountable. [The Daily Star]
Thursday, 28 August, 2003: Libya appear to have ended its involvement in international terrorism and acceded to international demands about Pan Am Flight 103. As a result, the UN is about to lift the sanctions it suspended in 1999 when Libya turned over two Lockerbie suspects. Washington should end a separate set of sanctions arising from Libya's past involvement with terrorism. Sanctions are a useful way of coercing governments short of war, provided they are ended when the specific demands attached to them are met. Otherwise they lose their power as a lever for desirable changes. By lifting sanctions in response to Libya's break with terrorism, Washington could encourage other pariah states to sever their terrorist ties as well. [IHT]
Wednesday, 27 August, 2003: Libya refused permission for a French group trying to negotiate a Lockerbie-style deal for a 1989 bombing of a French airline over Niger to fly into Tripoli for a second round of talks, the French foreign ministry said. "Like the relatives who were ready to leave today for Tripoli, we were given counter-instructions," said foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous. Tuesday's flight, chartered by the French foreign ministry, was preparing to leave from the Villacoublay airport near Paris "when we were told that Libyan authorities would not authorize the flight," said Guillaume de Saint Marc, spokesman for the UTA families. [AFP]
Wednesday, 27 August, 2003: The UN Security Council on Tuesday had not set a date for voting on a British draft resolution on lifting UN sanctions against Libya. "Nobody had been specific" on the amount of time France had been given to try to work out its differences with Tripoli, a British diplomat said privately. France has threatened to veto the British draft resolution if Tripoli does not pay the victims of the bombing of a French plane compensation in line with that paid to victims of the bombing over Lockerbie. President Chirac personally telephoned Libyan leader Qadhafi to press for a new settlement to be reached. France's veto threat has angered US officials, who have said France should be satisfied with a prior settlement it reached with Libya. [AFP]

Tuesday, 26 August, 2003: US President Bush thanked Algeria for playing an important role in maintaining pressure on Libya over the Lockerbie bombing, in a letter to Algerian President Bouteflika published on Monday. In the letter, the US president expressed personal recognition for Bouteflika in helping to ensure that Libya complied with UN demands over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people died. Libya on Friday completed the transfer of $2.7 billion into a Swiss bank account for families of the Lockerbie victims. [AFP]
Tuesday, 26 August, 2003: Canada on Monday welcomed Libya's decision to pay billions of dollars as part of a settlement for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. "The transfer of funds for the families of the victims, along with Libya's acceptance of responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, is a critical step toward meeting the requirements of (UN) Security Council resolutions," said Canada's Foreign Minister Bill Graham. "With these steps, Libya is demonstrating a strong commitment to its full reintegration into the international community," he said. [AFP]
Tuesday, 26 August, 2003: Libyan Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Minister, Abderrahman Shalgam, Sunday in Tripoli, received Farouk Qadoumi, the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Foreign Minister and Director of Political Department. [PANA]
Tuesday, 26 August, 2003: Libyan Dinar (LYD) per: US Dollar 1.42950, Euro 1.55448, Pound Sterling 2.24658, Japanese Yen 82.11263, Swiss Franc 1.00982. Year High 1.42950. Year Low 1.19320. [Forex]

Monday, 25 August, 2003: France has urgently contacted Libya to demand more compensation for a 1989 airliner bombing after victims' families failed to persuade Tripoli to pay more in line with the sum it has paid for the 1988 Lockerbie tragedy. President Chirac telephoned Libyan leader Qadhafi "to tell him of the importance France attaches to solving this problem which is so painful for the victims' families," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. [Reuters]
Monday, 25 August, 2003: Families of those killed in a 1989 bombing of a French airliner said they were disappointed they did not reach a deal with Libya for compensation similar to what it has paid to victims of the Lockerbie attack. "There is no concrete result," Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc, a spokesman for relatives of the 170 people who died on the UTA flight over Niger, told AFP on his return from Tripoli, adding he was "disappointed" at the outcome. His group had gone to Libya on Thursday on a French government aircraft to negotiate with officials from the Qadhafi Foundation, run by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son Seif al-Islam. [AFP]
Monday, 25 August, 2003: Dr Shukri Ghanem, the Secretary of the General Peoples Committee, held a meeting with the Algerian ambassador to Libya today. [JANA]

Sunday, 24 August, 2003: A group representing the families of the Africans who died on a French airliner blown up in 1989 over Niger on Saturday demanded that Libya pay compensation equivalent to that offered to the Lockerbie victims. "We will never accept an agreement that is under that contained in the agreement on Lockerbie," a spokesman for the kin of the 88 Africans who died on the UTA bombing over Niger, Abderaman Koulamallah, told Radio France Internationale. Representatives of a group representing all the 170 victims on the UTA flight have been in Tripoli since Thursday, negotiating with officials from the Qadhafi Foundation, run by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son Seif al-Islam. [AFP]
Sunday, 24 August, 2003: Unlike many of his counterparts, [Qadhafi] viewed the post-9/11 war on terrorism as an opportunity to refurbish his image. He condemned the attacks unequivocally, and Libya soon began cooperating with the US by furnishing intelligence on the Libyan Fighting Islamic Group, a terrorist organization with links to Bin Laden. Qhadafy's recent rhetoric and behavior hint at a genuine ideological conversion. Given that Libya is no longer a state sponsor of terrorism, it should be formally removed from the terrorism list. Such a gesture would signal to other recalcitrant regimes that their isolation is not immutable and that abandoning terrorism can abolish the opprobrium that comes with being branded an outlaw state. [Times Union]
Dr. Mansour el-Kikhia In PBS: UN Debates Libya Sanctions

Saturday, 23 August, 2003: Libya on Friday completed the transfer into a Swiss bank of 2.7 billion dollars in Lockerbie compensation money, paving the way for the lifting of UN sanctions, the US State Department said. "We have been informed by the lawyers [of the families] that the transfer is complete," said deputy department spokesman Philip Reeker. But because the amount was so large several days were needed to complete the transaction, US officials said. [AFP]
Saturday, 23 August, 2003: France and Libya moved closer Friday to reaching a deal on boosting compensation paid to the families of victims of the 1989 bombing of the French UTA airliner in line with the pay-out made for the Lockerbie tragedy, officials said. Libya's ambassador to Britain, Mohammed al-Zouai (photo), said Libya might boost its pay-out to the families of the 170 victims on the French plane to forestall a French veto of its deal with Britain and the United States on the Lockerbie bombing. [AFP]
Saturday, 23 August, 2003: Germany refused comment on reports from two diplomats in Mali that Libya paid a five-million-euro ransom to the abductors of 14 European hostages released this week after months in the Sahara desert. Germany has repeatedly insisted it does not pay ransoms, and Libya was not among the countries included when German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder thanked those involved for their efforts to free the hostages. However, Libya was cited by Malian President Toure when he spoke late Tuesday after the tourists were handed over. [AFP]
Saturday, 23 August, 2003: Tripoli has accused the Saudi media of publishing articles fraught with "insults against Libyans, their leaders, national and revolutionary choices". [PANA]

Friday, 22 August, 2003: Libya paid a ransom of five million euros "on its own initiative" to the abductors of 14 European hostages who were released this week after being held for months in the Sahara desert, diplomats revealed. The money passed "neither through Malian nor German hands," one diplomat told AFP Thursday after the freed hostages returned home safely in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Another diplomat confirmed the assertion. [AFP]
Friday, 22 August, 2003: A Libyan agent sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing insisted he was innocent in an interview published Thursday, despite a 2.7-billion-dollar payout by Tripoli to the victims. "I don't accept the court's verdict because I am certain of my innocence," Abdelbasset al-Megrahi (photo) told the London-based Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat. Al-Megrahi, who is being held in Barlinnie prison near Glasgow, was convicted of the bombing by a special Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands in January 2001. His appeal was rejected in March 2002, but judicial sources later said al-Megrahi could lodge a final appeal before Britain's Privy Council. [AFP]

Thursday, 21 August, 2003: With the UN poised to remove sanctions against Libya after a settlement in the Lockerbie bombing case, Washington faces new pressure to lift its own sanctions against Libya. US business groups, led by oil companies that hold concessions in Libya, are gearing up efforts to persuade the Bush administration to ease trade sanctions first imposed in 1986. "They have changed and we ought to recognise it with some reciprocal actions on our part," said William Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council. [Financial Times]
Thursday, 21 August, 2003: The Security Council has agreed to consider delaying the lifting of U.N. sanctions on Libya to give France more time to win a better deal from Tripoli for the victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner. At France's request, the council asked Britain and France to try to reach agreement on a reasonable delay for a vote to end the sanctions and thus close the book on the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. [Reuters]
Thursday, 21 August, 2003: Libya said Wednesday it was willing to find a compromise solution to France's demand for more compensation for families of victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner. But it warned France that its insistence on delaying or blocking a U.N. vote on lifting U.N. sanctions until Tripoli paid more money could threaten a separate deal to pay $2.7 billion to families of the 270 people killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. [Reuters]
Thursday, 21 August, 2003: Libya began transferring $2.7 billion in Lockerbie compensation to a Swiss escrow account as the UN Security Council turned its attention to the quid pro quo lifting of sanctions. The money being deposited at the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements will be used to compensate the families of those killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. [AFP]
Thursday, 21 August, 2003: Bulgaria on Wednesday asked Libya to issue entry visas to two top international AIDS experts, who have agreed to testify in a trial against six Bulgarian medics accused of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi said he made the request in a telephone conversation with his Libyan colleague Abdelrahman Shalgam. The two experts have said that the Bulgarians were not to blame for the infection as it had existed in the hospital before they were hired. [BNN]
Thursday, 21 August, 2003: The fight to clear the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing will continue despite Libya officially accepting blame for the Lockerbie bombing. A senior Libyan source told The Herald last night: "Libya has always believed Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is innocent." However, he did not elaborate on which Libyan "officials" were responsible instead. Eddie MacKechnie, the lawyer acting on behalf of al-Megrahi was adamant the newly-brokered deal would not hinder his client's campaign to clear his name. [The Herald]

Wednesday, 20 August, 2003: The United States lashed out at France for threatening to block a deal with Libya over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. "We have made clear our deep concern over possible action by France or any other country that would impede a Pan Am 103 settlement," spokesman Richard Boucher said. He suggested that France's opposition to the removal of the sanctions -- on the grounds that the Lockerbie families were getting a better monetary settlement than one given in 1999 to the families of those killed in the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner -- was hypocritical. Boucher pointed out that after that 1999 agreement, France had said it considered Libya to have fulfilled the UTA-related conditions for lifting the UN sanctions. [AFP]
Wednesday, 20 August, 2003: Fourteen Europeans who spent several months as hostages in the Sahara desert left Mali's capital Bamako for Cologne on a German plane. The release of the hostages raised questions in Germany about the alleged mediating role played by a Libyan charity headed by Qadhafi's son. The son, Saif al-Islam, told Berlin's Tagesspiegel daily that his charity's "political contacts with the kidnappers" had helped the liberation efforts. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer refused to comment on reports of a Libyan role and experts cast doubt on the charity's claim, but one politician said Tripoli had indeed played a part. [AFP]
Wednesday, 20 August, 2003: France has suggested delaying a U.N. vote on lifting sanctions imposed on Libya after Lockerbie, saying Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's country was still not offering enough compensation for a later French airline bombing. Britain asked the Security Council on Monday quickly to end the sanctions, imposed after a U.S. airliner was blown up over the Scottish town in 1988, now that Libya has agreed to pay up to $10 million (6.3 million pounds) to each of the families of the 270 people killed. Russia said on Tuesday it backed Britain and the United States in thinking the time had come to scrap the measures. [Reuters]

Tuesday, 19 August, 2003: Libya "purchased" a lifting of sanctions by compensating victims of the Lockerbie airplane bombing, Libya's foreign minister said Monday. "From Libya's point of view, it's not about compensation but a purchase for the lifting of sanctions," Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo) said in an interview with the Qatar-based satellite television channel Al-Jazeera. "We are losing billions of dollars each year as a result of international and US sanctions and it's a sign of wisdom and courage and it's in our national interest to pay 2.7 million dollars to end this affair," he said. [AFP]
Tuesday, 19 August, 2003: A group representing families of those killed in the 1989 bombing of a French passenger plane blamed on Libya said it was negotiating with a Libyan body to have compensation match that promised to families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing. Guillaume Denoix de Saint-Marc, the spokesman for the families, said the group was against France using its UN veto to block the Lockerbie deal. "That has to be avoided at all costs because that would undermine: the Lockerbie deal, and the negotiations with the Qadhafi Foundation to obtain compensation comparable to that worked out for Lockerbie," he told AFP. [AFP]
Tuesday, 19 August, 2003: Britain has asked the Security Council to quickly end U.N. sanctions on Libya, but France says Libya could not turn the page on the 1988 Lockerbie bombing until it offered more money for victims of a 1989 attack on a French airliner. British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry introduced a draft resolution to lift the sanctions imposed on Libya after the midair bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland, and the council agreed to begin debate on Wednesday. But France, which has veto power in the 15-nation Security Council, said the sanctions could not be lifted until its own demands were resolved. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 19 August, 2003: UN sanctions imposed on Libya over the Lockerbie bombing will be lifted despite objections from France, Libyan leader Qadhafi's son said Monday. "The embargo will be lifted despite opposition from France," Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi told Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel. "While I sympathize with the French position, France's demand will be ignored... and the embargo slapped on Libya will be lifted, Inshallah (God willing)," he said. Saif al-Islam also told Al-Arabiya that Tripoli wanted to promote a thaw in relations with the US. [AFP]
Tuesday, 19 August, 2003: European Commission head Romano Prodi urged Libya to show "flexibility" to secure the lifting of UN sanctions after Tripoli accepted responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, a spokesman said Monday. Prodi, who was telephoned by Libyan leader Qadhafi Sunday, said he hoped the EU could normalize ties with Libya after the lifting of sanctions, a move set to be discussed at the United Nations later Monday. The spokesman said he was not aware that Prodi and Qadhafi discussed the thorny issue of a French demand to link Libyan compensation over the Lockerbie bombing to a 1989 attack on a French airliner. [AFP]
Tuesday, 19 August, 2003: Moves by former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, to get a "safer asylum" in Libya were turned down by Libyan Leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to avoid incuring the wrath of the United States. Qadhafi, a long-time associate of Taylor, is banking on a United States support for a security council vote to end UN sanctions on Libya next week. [This Day]
Tuesday, 19 August, 2003: Congolese president Denis Sassou Nguesso said Monday that he was in favour of additional indemnities for victims of the 1989 UTA DC10 airline bombing [blamed on Libya]. The bombing killed 270 people, including 40 Congolese. [PANA]

Monday, 18 August, 2003: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for the Security Council to formally lift sanctions imposed against Libya in connection with the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. "I think we will need to move ahead and resolve the Libyan issue," Mr. Annan said when asked to comment on the matter at a press conference in Helsinki on Friday. "For all practical purposes the sanctions have not really been effective? and so the formal lifting, I think, is something that the Council should do and I expect it to do," Anan said. [UN News]
Monday, 18 August, 2003: Despite last-minute French objections, Libya is on the road to international rehabilitation this week with the final lifting of U.N. sanctions after the settlement of the Lockerbie aircraft bombing. Sources involved in the negotiations said Tripoli and the United States had agreed to enter a process of discreet bilateral talks once the U.N. Security Council votes to remove the sanctions imposed to force Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to accept responsibility for two mid-air bombings in the late 1980s. [Reuters]
Monday, 18 August, 2003: Malta's government said Sunday the proposed settlement of the Lockerbie affair by Libya should enable Tripoli to make an early return to the international fold. "As a country with traditional close relations with Libya, Malta welcomes these very important developments in the Lockerbie issue," a foreign ministry spokesman said. "These should allow Libyas further engagement as an effective member of the international community." [AFP]

Sunday, 17 August, 2003: A group of [90] Libyan opponents in exile sent a letter of protest to Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, on Friday saying "the Qadhafi regime must be punished for its crime, rather than be rewarded and appeased." [AFP]  click here to view the letter.
Sunday, 17 August, 2003: A British member of parliament, long sceptical about Libya's involvement in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, said on Saturday the fact that Tripoli had accepted responsibility for the attack still did not mean it was guilty. MP Tam Dalyell told the BBC the Libyans had accepted responsibility for the bombing purely because they were "desperate to get back into the international trading circuit". "It is just a business deal," Dalyell said. [AFP]
Sunday, 17 August, 2003: Libya on Saturday ruled out paying more compensation to families of victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner despite the possibility of France spoiling a $2.7 billion deal on the Lockerbie bombing. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam told CNN that Tripoli would not accept what he called "any kind of extortion" from France. [Reuters]
Sunday, 17 August, 2003: Libya hopes a $2.7 billion deal on the Lockerbie bombing would help to improve ties with the United States. "We hope after the accord to see our relations improved with the U.S. to match the level of good relations we have with the U.K.," Libya's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna al-Shaoush told Reuters on Saturday. [Reuters]
Sunday, 17 August, 2003: Libya has promised Germany it will provide compensation for people who were killed or injured in a bomb attack on a West Berlin nightclub popular with US troops in 1986, weekly magazine Der Spiegel reports in its latest issue, due out on Monday. Der Spiegel said Libya had made the offer several months ago. The German foreign ministry declined to comment on the report, which comes just days after Libya sent a letter to the UN accepting responsibility for the bombing of a Pan Am jet over the Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. [AFP]
Sunday, 17 August, 2003: The Bush administration will maintain U.S. sanctions against Libya despite the country's acceptance of responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. Also, Secretary of State Colin Powell said in a statement Friday that Libya will remain on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. But in recognition of Libya's acceptance of responsibility, its arrangements to compensate the families of the 270 victims and the transfer of two Libyan suspects, the US will not oppose the formal lifting of U.N. sanctions against Libya, Powell said. [AP]
Sunday, 17 August, 2003: Libyan Foreign Minister says the Lockerbie bombing was a tragedy but was not caused by the Libyan Government. Yesterday, Libya accepted responsibility for "the actions of its officials". Abdelrahman Shalgam says it is not true the Libyan Government was behind the attack. He says the Government wants to cooperate with the US to find out the truth. "We want to go together to discover the [real] story, who was behind that tragedy". [ABC]
The Libyan People Accept No Responsiblity For The Lockerbie Tragedy

Libya's Letter To The UN Security Council

Saturday, 16 August, 2003: Libya has accepted responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in a step toward closing the book on the mid-air explosion that killed 270 people and made it a pariah to much of the West. In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Libya said it "accepts responsibility for the actions of its officials," an admission it long resisted despite international condemnation and economic sanctions. The three-page letter, signed by Libyan envoy Ahmed Own (photo), said Tripoli "is committed to be cooperative in the international fight against terrorism" and pledged "to refrain from becoming involved in any acts of terrorism." [Reuters]
Saturday, 16 August, 2003: In a harshly worded statement, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Friday that restrictive U.S. sanctions imposed on Libya would stay in place and that Washington had concerns about Libya's suspected pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, its "destructive role" in regional conflicts in Africa and its "poor human rights record and lack of democratic institutions." "The United States will intensify its efforts to end threatening elements of Libya's behaviour, and U.S. bilateral sanctions on Libya will remain in full force until Libya addresses these concerns," McClellan said. [Reuters]
Saturday, 16 August, 2003: Britain said it would "shortly" table a draft security council resolution to lift UN sanctions against Libya after Tripoli formally accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. Junior Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane said in a statement Saturday: "Libya has accepted responsibility for that outrage. At the same time it has agreed to pay substantial compensation to the relatives of those who were murdered. "It has renounced terrorism and has agreed to co-operate with any further Lockerbie investigation." He said that Libya's step "marks the proper re-emergence of Libya into the international community". [AFP]

Friday, 15 August, 2003: French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has warned his Libyan counterpart, Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo), that Paris will block the lifting of UN sanctions imposed on Libya if France did not receive compensation for the bombing of a French UTA airline that cost the lives of all 170 passengers and crew. [AFP]
Friday, 15 August, 2003: US officials expressed outrage over French reservations about a deal in which Libya would accept responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and pay $2.7 billion to the families. US Secretary of State Powell called his French counterpart de Villepin to make clear the US position on the agreement. "We initiated the phone call and I can confirm that Lockerbie was one of the subjects discussed," said Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman. US Officials said Powell warned de Villepin against interfering in the apparently imminent deal. [AFP]
Friday, 15 August, 2003: Diplomats say the [Lockerbie affair] will not be settled until Libya admits responsibility in writing and pays compensation, which could reach $10 million (7 million pounds) per victim. "The only thing that would satisfy us more would be to have Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's (photo) head delivered on a platter over to the United States -- and let us all walk by it and spit on it," George Williams, an American who lost his son in the attack, told BBC radio on Thursday. [Reuters]
Friday, 15 August, 2003: Libya's ambassador to Britain, Mohammed al-Zouai (photo) confirmed a deal to pay compensation for the victims of the Lockerbie bombing, but said France was threatening to block the lifting of UN sanctions on his country. "We reached an agreement and we would pay the money tomorrow (Friday) and, Monday or Tuesday, the sanctions would be lifted." "France cannot formulate demands on Libya, because Tripoli paid 35 million dollars to the (UTA) victims in 1999 ... and the case is closed," he said. However, Zouai said "Libya does not reject an amicable resolution with France, as long as there are no threats of blocking a lifting of the sanctions." [AFP]
Friday, 15 August, 2003: A seemingly imminent deal for Libya to accept responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has sparked a heated debate in Washington over how to respond to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's government, US officials said Thursday. Policy-makers in President George W. Bush's administration are deeply divided over the wisdom of actively engaging Tripoli and have signalled that the settlement reached Wednesday between Libya and the families of the 270 victims will not immediately result in the lifting of US sanctions. [AFP]
Friday, 15 August, 2003: A deal by Libya to compensate families of the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing with some 2.7 billion dollars was at risk of collapse after France threatened to veto a UN resolution lifting sanctions on Tripoli as part of the accord. US officials, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said France had told the United States and Britain that it would use its veto at the UN Security Council to block the resolution unless Libya boosts the amount of compensation it is paying for the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner. [AFP]

Thursday, 14 August, 2003: Libya faces French and U.S. opposition to lifting United Nations sanctions against it, even though it has agreed to pay the families of the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Scotland. U.N. diplomats say France is reluctant to go along, because Libya has said it would pay only 33 million dollars for the 1989 bombing of a French passenger jet. In contrast, Libya is agreeing to pay more than two and a-half billion dollars to families of Pan Am Flight 103 victims. A U.S. official says the Bush administration is also skeptical about lifting sanctions. The U.S. is deciding whether to abstain or support a British-drafted resolution. [AP]
Thursday, 14 August, 2003: Families of the American victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing have been invited to the State Department Friday for a briefing on an apparently imminent deal in which Libya will take responsibility for the attack, US officials said. The families have been asked to be at the department's Foggy Bottom headquarters at noon to meet with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns, the officials told AFP. [AFP]
Thursday, 14 August, 2003: France said on Wednesday it was pushing for more compensation from Libya for the 1989 bombing of a French airliner, saying it still wanted a better deal before any possible lifting of U.N. sanctions against Tripoli. U.N. diplomats said on Tuesday the sanctions could be lifted after Libya, the U.S. and Britain reached a deal under which Tripoli would accept responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. [Reuters]
Thursday, 14 August, 2003: A lawyer for the families of the 270 people who died in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing says a compensation deal has been agreed with Libya. Saad Djebbar said it had been agreed that a bank account containing around £1.7bn in compensation was being created as a key step towards resolving the dispute over the crash. After depositing the money, Libya is expected to send the UN Security Council a letter accepting responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. "I expect that by the middle of next week UN sanctions will have been finally removed on Libya," he commented. [Sky News]

Wednesday, 13 August, 2003: Libya has pledged to assume responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, and to pay $2.7 billion in compensation to relatives of the 270 victims in exchange for a formal end to an 11-year United Nations embargo, U.N. diplomats said today. U.S., British and Libyan officials completed the terms of the agreement at a meeting in London on Monday, concluding more than four years of negotiations. [The Washington Post]
Wednesday, 13 August, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo) condemned "hooligan" states which take action without UN legitimacy, in a veiled reference to the US-led war on Iraq. "Certain big powers have been acting for some time outside the UN and its charter," he said at a dinner Monday night in honour of visiting Croatian President Stipe Mesic. "What has happened in Iraq and is taking place now sets a dangerous precedent," Qadhafi said, without mentioning the US by name. [AFP]
Wednesday, 13 August, 2003: The United States, Britain and Libya have agreed on terms for a deal under which Tripoli will accept responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, informed diplomatic sources said. Libya has agreed to send a letter to the UN Security Council admitting it was behind the attack on the Boeing 747 that blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on Dec. 21, 1988, killing all 259 people on board plus 11 on the ground, the sources said. [AFP]
Wednesday, 13 August, 2003: A relative of a British victim of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing said he would refuse to accept compensation from Libya because he does not believe it has been proved guilty of the attack. "I haven't seen what I would consider credible evidence that Libya did it or that any admission by the Libyans would be truthful, rather than simply the result of them being put under enormous pressure by the international community," said Matt Berkley. His brother Alistair was a passenger on the Boeing 747 jet which was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, killing all 259 people on board plus 11 on the ground. [AFP]
Wednesday, 13 August, 2003: Amnesty International voiced concern Tuesday at a reported Libyan plan to deport seven Eritrean army deserters to their country where they could face torture and execution. "Libyan authorities should stop the return of these detainees to Eritrea," and allow them "immediate access to the protection of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees," Amnesty said. The seven men deserted the Eritrean army at different times in 2002, fleeing first to Sudan and then to Libya, hoping to reach a country of asylum in Europe. [AFP]
Wednesday, 13 August, 2003: Replica versions of the shirts worn by Italian champions Juventus in the upcoming Champions League will not be available to fans of the club due to the sponsorship of a Libyan oil company. American sportswear manufacturers Nike say they cannot produce replica shirts featuring the Tamoil logo due to U.S. sanctions against Libya. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 13 August, 2003: Gisele Ralembert Nkoma's career as ambassador to Libya has ended undiplomatically in a Gabon jail, the newspaper L'Union reported Tuesday. It would have helped had she belonged to the diplomatic corps. But, the newspaper said, she was only a secretary. Armed with a faked letter of appointment, the 46-year-old Nkoma approached staff at the foreign ministry, offering them a job in her embassy but asking them to pay between 190 euros (210 dollars) and 600 euros for administrative expenses. [AFP]
Tuesday, 12 August, 2003: Libya appears ready to admit responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and pay compensation to the victims' families, U.S. Secretary of State Powell said after diplomatic talks on the issue were held in London. "I think we're getting close to a settlement," Powell said, according to a State Department transcript of his comments to reporters after meeting with the UN envoy to Afghanistan. Powell declined further comment on the matter and later instructed the department to amend the transcript to change the quotation to "I think we're getting closer to a settlement." The implication of the slight change was not immediately clear. [AFP]
Tuesday, 12 August, 2003: Britain reported progress Monday in talks with American and Libyan officials about the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that claimed 270 lives. A Foreign Office spokeswoman said no announcement of a settlement was immediately forthcoming, and no further meetings were planned at the moment. She spoke on condition of anonymity. The Foreign Office would not discuss publicly what took place at the meeting, one of a series of trilateral sessions over the last few years about the bombing. But officials were pleased with progress Monday, and called the meeting "a constructive session," she said. [AP]
Tuesday, 12 August, 2003: US, British and Libyan diplomats met in London today to review a proposed deal under which Tripoli would accept responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and pay compensation to victims' families, U.S. State Department officials said. Three mid-level State Department desk officers attended the meeting amid hopes a deal may be reached this week, the officials said. A senior department official said earlier that the London gathering was "a working-level trilateral meeting to see where we are" and declined to comment on whether Washington was optimistic an agreement was imminent. [The Courier Mail]
Tuesday, 12 August, 2003: The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank intends to allot Belarus a credit of US$ 130.8 million, said Belarussian television station ONT. The credit will be allotted for a period of 5 years at an interest rate of 3.5% annually. The Libyan Bank will "transfer immediately the entire sum, which will be applied for financing the government expenses of the borrower". Libya will defer the payment of the primary debt for 1 year. "The credit will go towards paying the country's debt to Gazprom for the earlier delivery of natural gas," said ONT. [Rosbalt News]
Tuesday, 12 August, 2003: Croatian President Stipe Mesic held talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Monday on rebuilding economic ties disrupted by the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Mesic met the Libyan leader in his residence outside the coastal city of Sirte. The Croatian president is accompanied on his visit by about 40 business leaders hoping to reestablish economic links dating back to the days of communist rule in former Yugoslavia. [AFP]
Tuesday, 12 August, 2003: Liberia's President Taylor has stepped down in a ceremony in the capital Monrovia with Vice-President Moses Blah ready to assume the presidency. "God willing, I will be back," Taylor said. The former warlord has handed over power to Blah, a former brother-in-arms from the Liberian leader's days of bush war and in Libya's guerrilla training camps. Boxed into a corner by rebels, under U.N. sanctions, wanted by Sierra Leone's war crimes court and told to quit by U.S. President Bush, Taylor had little choice but to go or fight to the death. [Reuters]
Monday, 11 August, 2003: Dealing with the devil is an old and at times necessary diplomatic tactic. But dealing with the devil's public relations advisers and lawyers to help him protect his image? That has to go beyond the pale. Sanctions have worked. [Libya's] Qadhafi is jumping through hoops to get them lifted. President Bush should not bless any deal to end the sanctions that does not include a clear admission by this particular devil that a Libyan plot carried out by his agents destroyed Pan Am 103. History and justice demand nothing less. [The Washington Post]
Monday, 11 August, 2003: Is Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi finally ready to make amends? In an interview with TIME, the Libyan ruler said Libya will accept responsibility for the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. In exchange for Libya's admission and payments of $2.7 billion to the families of victims, he said, the UN sanctions that have blocked the world from doing business with Libya would be lifted - and eventually the US would end its own sanctions and remove Libya from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. [Time]
Monday, 11 August, 2003: Iraq is swimming in oil, but anybody who thinks that such natural wealth translates into a fat and happy middle class is in for a crude awakening. Precious resources alone rarely raise nations from poverty to prosperity. Countries usually become poorer, more corrupt and more prone to coups, wars and tyranny than their less-endowed neighbors, recent studies show. Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Angola, Qatar, Ecuador and Algeria have also seen per capita wages plunge, along with widening gulfs between a rich minority and an increasingly impoverished majority," said Terry Lynn Karl, a Stanford University political scientist. [AP]
Monday, 11 August, 2003: Officials in Abuja were tight-lipped on where and when Liberian President Charles Taylor might arrive in Nigeria, which has offered him asylum after his expected hand over of power. Although some newspapers in Nigeria have suggested that Taylor may have chosen Libya over Nigeria as his destination, Nigerian officials said that they have no reason to believe that Taylor might have changed his mind. [AFP]
Monday, 11 August, 2003: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Friday in Tripoli, received a Nigerian envoy, who brought a message from President Olusegun Obasanjo, on developments in Africa, especially the Liberian crisis, officials said in the Libyan capital. [PANA]

Sunday, 10 August, 2003: The shadowy militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) was to blame for this week's bombing of a U.S.-run luxury hotel in Jakarta, that killed 10 people, and many more of them are still in the country, Indonesia's Defence Minister says. "Up to now, it has been clearly uncovered that JI, which is linked with al-Qaeda, has been behind (these bombings)," he said. "There are still many JI members in Indonesia but they are not massive". "Each has special abilities such as from Libya, Afghanistan, with the abilities to make bombs and so on." [Reuters]
Sunday, 10 August, 2003: An official source at Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA) denied a report in the Washington Post about President Charles Taylor of Liberia flying to Libya on board one of its airplanes. The source affirmed that LAA has no flights between Ouagadougou and Tripoli. The source also expressed its astonishment at what the newspaper described as an unknown source and the publication of such news which was baseless. [JANA]

Saturday, 9 August, 2003: Saudi Arabia lashed out at Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo) on Friday for claiming that Wahhabism, the rigorous Islamic school dominant in the kingdom, fosters terrorism. "Saudi Arabia strongly condemns Qadhafi's statements to the American ABC television network ... and is astonished that such remarks, which undermine Arab solidarity, should come at a time when our nation is going through difficult circumstances," an official spokesman said. "It is regrettable that such false allegations should come from the leader of an Arab country that received Saudi backing in its most difficult times," the spokesman said in a reference to Riyadh's mediation in Libya's crisis with the West over the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing. [AFP]
Saturday, 9 August, 2003: Libyan authorities plan to deport seven Eritrean army deserters back to their home country where they could face detention and torture, Amnesty International warned in a statement received Friday. Among them are political dissidents who if sent back could face "extrajudicial execution," the London-based rights group said. All seven were being held at a camp for illegal African migrants in Gharyan about 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of Tripoli after apparently travelling overland via Sudan in a bid to reach asylum in Europe. [AFP]
Saturday, 9 August, 2003: David Mack, vice president of the Middle East Institute and former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, says [Libya's] Qadhafi today doesn't display the same recklessness or nationalistic demagoguery he did when he ordered a French airliner shot down in 1989, authorized the bombing of a Berlin disco in 1986 and reportedly funded the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. "... Qadhafi has become a wiser, more cautious individual than he was when we had the confrontations that led to Lockerbie," said Mack. [ABC News]
Saturday, 9 August, 2003: The leader of a renegade guerrilla group behind the bloodiest bomb attack in Northern Ireland's violent history has been jailed for 20 years. Real IRA boss Michael McKevitt, 53, was earlier convicted of directing terrorism, a charge created after the 1998 Omagh bomb blast that killed 29 people and injured hundreds. McKevitt, a former quartermaster in the Irish Republican Army who arranged a shipment of arms from Libya in the 1980s, was the first person in the Irish Republic to be convicted of directing terrorism. [Reuters]
Saturday, 9 August, 2003: Tony Blair will finally come to terms with the internet age this month when he invites the public to contact him by email. For the first time he will have a public email address, allowing voters to bombard him with comments. Most national leaders can be contacted by email and, to try to embarrass Mr Blair, the Tories said that without a dotcom address he was in the same position as his counterparts in Cuba, Libya and N. Korea. [The Telegraph]

Friday, 8 August, 2003: As a multi-billion dollar deal looks imminent between the U.S. and Libya over the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing, French officials and diplomats said on Thursday they were unhappy with the latest developments because of less generous treatment by Libya of French victims of a 1989 UTA bombing admitted by Tripoli. This appears to indicate that France would not back any move to permanently remove UN sanctions against Libya until the compensation issue is satisfactorily resolved and Tripoli reviews its payment amount to the UTA victims. [KUNA]
Friday, 8 August, 2003: Liberia's President Taylor flew to Libya last week during a pitched battle for Monrovia and returned with a cargo of ammunition and arms, according to individuals in Monrovia with knowledge of the flights. Taylor changed planes in the capital of Burkina Faso. Bad weather in Ouagadougou delayed Taylor's return, causing him to cancel an Aug. 1 meeting with West African foreign ministers. U.S. officials said that they could not confirm either that Taylor had gone to Libya or that arms had been shipped into Liberia. [The Washington Post]
Friday, 8 August, 2003: Peacekeepers in Liberia reportedly seized a new weapons shipment from Libya that apparently was destined for government forces in violation of a United Nations arms embargo. West African officers confirmed only that a Boeing 707 arrived from Libya and that its cargo was seized. Liberian President Charles Taylor's defense minister, Daniel Chea, denied the cargo of "military equipment" arrived by plane. Taylor received guerrilla training in Libya before starting the uprising in 1988 that eventually put him in power. [AP]
Friday, 8 August, 2003: Libyan, U.S. and British officials are expected to meet in London in the next two weeks to weigh progress toward settling a long-running dispute over the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, diplomats say. The meeting was set as U.S. officials said they saw a chance that Libya may soon formally admit responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. To have the U.N. sanctions permanently lifted, in addition to paying compensation and taking responsibility, Libya must also renounce terrorism and agree to cooperate in further investigations. [Reuters]
Friday, 8 August, 2003: A first cargo plane of the Libyan Arab Airlines arrived Thursday in Khartoum conveying an important quantity of humanitarian aid destined to cushion victims of floods that hit certain regions of Sudan, the Libyan News Agency (JANA) reported. [PANA]

Thursday, 7 August, 2003: The U.S. State Department on Wednesday urged Libya to take responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and to pay compensation to families of the victims, as required by the U.N. Security Council. "There are no shortcuts, there is no lowering of the bar for what they need to do in that case," spokesman Philip Reeker said. Lawyers for the families have said that Libya is prepared to pay families of those killed a total of $2.7 billion, or $10 million for each of the 270 persons who died in the bombing. [AP]
Thursday, 7 August, 2003: Libya may accept the blame for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing as early as next week if a compensation deal with the victims' families is reached, US officials said. The officials, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said they understood Libya planned to notify the UN Security Council of its acceptance of responsibility on August 14 should the private settlement go through. "August 14 is what we're looking at, but these things have fallen through in the past so we're not holding our breath," said one official. [AFP]
Thursday, 7 August, 2003: The first session of the Libya-Gabon Joint Commission opened Wednesday in Tripoli, co-chaired by the Libyan Deputy Secretary for Co-operation Mohammed Tahar Siala and Gabonese Foreign Minister, Jean-François Andongo. [PANA]
Wednesday, 6 August, 2003: US government officials have warned RWE, the German utility, that it could face sanctions against its US operations if it does not scale back plans for a project in Libya. Diplomatic pressure on the company has been mounting over a five-year contract won by RWE Dea, the group's oil and gas unit, to drill for gas and oil in Libya. RWE has been in talks with the US ambassador to Germany and the consul- general in Berlin, who are understood to have pointed out that the Libya contract could have political implications on RWE's business in the US. RWE is understood to have put the Libya deal under review, fearing a dispute with Washington, even though withdrawing from Libya would incur a contract penalty. [Financial Times]
Wednesday, 6 August, 2003: The long-running dispute over the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie may be nearing a resolution with Libya apparently willing to take responsibility, sources familiar with the matter say. While stressing there were no guarantees Libya would write to the U.N. and accept responsibility for the deaths of the 259 people aboard the plane and 11 on the ground, the sources said events appeared to be heading in that direction and could begin to unfold next week. The trigger for the Libyan admission, long demanded by the U.S., appears to be the finalisation of a bank account in Europe to hold some $2.7 billion, or up to $10 million per victim, that Libya has agreed to pay in compensation. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 5 August, 2003: In an interview aired Sunday on ABC television in the United States, Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said that Libya is cooperating with the U.S. to fight terrorism and the "common enemy" of Al Qaeda terrorists, whom he described as "crazy and insensible people." In his interview, Col Qadhafi said Libya opposed all extremist and radical movements. "The Americans give us information about Libyans held in Guantanamo ... we give them information about what they have here in Libya or against Libya ... there is an exchange of information and an exchange of persons between these respective countries," Col Qadhafi said. [AP]
Tuesday, 5 August, 2003: Arab world experts maintain the old Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi - the one behind numerous terrorist attacks in the 1980s - has curtailed his rogue ways and is even signaling that he would like to establish a relationship with the U.S. "Libya has changed its behavior," said Richard Nelson of the Atlantic Council. Mansour el-Kikhia, a Libyan exile and professor of international relations at the University of Texas at San Antonio, believes the U.S. war with Iraq may have hastened Qadhafi's interest in cozying up to the U.S. "They look at Iraq and say, 'We could be next,' " said el-Kikihia. "And this scares the dickens out of them." [ABC News]
Tuesday, 5 August, 2003: Luc Montagnier, the French doctor who isolated the AIDS virus, will testify at the trial of a Palestinian and six Bulgarian medical workers accused of spreading the pandemic in Libya, Bulgarian radio reported Monday. It said Italian AIDS researcher Vittorio Colizzi, who co-wrote a report Montagnier submitted to the Libyan authorities in April, would also testify before the court hearing the case in Benghazi. The medics working at a hospital in Benghazi were arrested in 1998 on charges of infecting 393 Libyan children with the HIV virus through tainted blood products. The court case was on Monday postponed until September 3. [AFP]

Monday, 4 August, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Sunday said he was ready to have international inspectors verify that Libya does not make weapons of mass destruction, in a bid to ease US concerns. Qadhafi said he was prepared to invite inspectors from international agencies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to visit Libyan industrial sites that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons. "This is my proposal, yes. And I think this is the correct approach," he told ABC TV news. The Libyan leader also said that "the file is about to be closed" on the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing, for which he has never accepted full responsibility for the attack, leaving his country under US and UN sanctions. [AFP]
Monday, 4 August, 2003: Minaean Int. Corp of Canada has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MKUMAR and Associates Pvt. Ltd. (MKAPL) of the MKUMAR Group of Companies, headquartered in New Delhi, India, to jointly undertake various construction projects in Libya. The MOU sets out a framework pursuant to which the parties will enter into a joint venture arrangement to pursue negotiations on the construction of Economic Housing Projects and other similar projects in Libya. [Construction]

Sunday, 3 August, 2003: The families of the Lockerbie victims have expressed fears that any settlement could be held up by arguments over the amount of commission lawyers stand to gain. It is widely believed that US lawyers acting for the families will earn more than £500 million in commission if the settlement goes ahead. The Scotsman has learned that a number of issues, particularly concerns about the distribution of payments and the financial cut for lawyers, could still hamper the progress. A number of relatives are believed to be keen for a second opinion on the terms of the settlement, particularly over fears the families must give up their legal right to sue Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), the Libyan convicted of the bombing, before they receive any money. [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 3 August, 2003: One US relative, whose teenage daughter died in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, said that a statement from Libya admitting responsibility for the bombing would probably not be published before the settlement. She said: "The Libyan Statement of Responsibility has not been released and we don't know when we will see it, so there is no way for the relatives of the victims to judge whether it is satisfactory to them or if it is likely to be satisfactory to the UN Security Council and the US government. "We probably won't know this until well after we have signed everything away and our claims against Libya are given up. This is a real danger. We need the Libyans, or whoever did this, to apologise and accept the blame." [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 3 August, 2003: Libya has opened its first embassy in Croatia as a first step toward boosting bilateral economic ties with the former Yugoslav republic, Croatian officials said Friday. The move comes ahead of an official visit later this month by Croatian President Stipe Mesic to Libya. Mesic was head of a Yugoslav architectural firm that built apartment blocks in Libya in the 1970s, when Libya and Yugoslavia enjoyed strong ties within the Non-Aligned Movement. [AFP]
Sunday, 3 August, 2003: In the midst of steady speculation over the future viability of the Arab League, the Egyptian government has come forward with a series of recommendations to reform the 58-year-old organization. The Egyptian proposal centers on a change in the league's voting rules, and the creation of a Arab security council and Arab court of justice. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher visited Libya and held talks with Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who has threatened to pull Tripoli out of the league. [Middle East Times]
Sunday, 3 August, 2003: Zambia's main opposition political party, the United Party for National Development has formally protested to the Libyan Embassy for dabbling in local politics. [PANA]
Saturday, 2 August, 2003: In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABCNEWS' This Week, Libyan President Col. Qadhafi openly criticized al-Qaeda, likening the terror network to a cancer that cannot be stopped in the early stages. I saw in the southern part of Africa ... pictures of bin Laden everywhere ... even kids wearing bin Laden on their shirts. They are not Muslims ... but the Muslims actually they made him a saint. We say bin Laden is a criminal. We say bin Laden is a terrorist ... but they say, "... bin Laden, may God protect him and save him." [ABC News]
Saturday, 2 August, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi called the U.S.-led war a historic mistake and said he expects Iraqi resistance to persist even if Saddam Hussein is captured or killed, ABC News reported Friday. ABC broadcast excerpts of an interview with the Libyan leader, in which he said that he expects the fighting to continue, regardless of whatever happens to Saddam. Qadhafi likened the Iraqi resistance to the Vietnamese resistance. [Dow Jones]
Saturday, 2 August, 2003: Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo) has pulled out of the race to become president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The son of the Libyan leader wants to concentrate on his new career as a professional player with Italian club Perugia. Al-Saadi signed a two-year contract with the Serie A side recently but most observers dismissed it as an elaborate publicity stunt. [BBC]

Friday, 1 August, 2003: United States federal prosecutors have sought to link a Libyan living in Dublin, Ireland, to an alleged Islamic terrorist cell operating in the American capital. At a court hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, last week, Assistant US Attorney David Laufman said that Sabri Benkhala, one of the accused in an upcoming terrorism trial, had a handwritten phone book that included a contact for Dublin resident Ibrahim Buisir. Mr Laufman said Buisir was a Libyan-born resident of Ireland who ran Mercy International Relief Agency, an Islamic charity suspected of funnelling money to Osama bin Laden. [Belfast Telegraph]
Friday, 1 August, 2003: The Libyan man being sought by the police in connection with last week's [1 July] rape in Floriana had been deported from Malta last November after he pleaded guilty to charges of theft, assaulting a fellow Libyan and carrying a knife without a permit. Ashraf Aroud (photo), had been living in Floriana at the time and had broken into a flat where another Libyan was living. The man is suspected to have raped a 55-year-old Floriana woman in a subway near Portes des Bombes. [Times Of Malta]
Friday, 1 August, 2003: Police discovered 95 Libyans overstaying in Malta during their search for the illegal immigrants who escaped from the detention centre in Floriana. [Times Of Malta]
Friday, 1 August, 2003: Libya has lowered some of its crude oil official selling prices for August by 10 cents but left some grades, including Es Sider unchanged, trading sources said. [Reuters]
Friday, 1 August, 2003: Malaysia has agreed to send peace monitors to the southern Philippines to oversee a ceasefire between the government and Muslim separatist rebels. Manila had earlier asked Kuala Lumpur to head an observer team, including personnel from other Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) members Brunei, Bangladesh, Bahrain and Libya. [ABC Radio]
Friday, 1 August, 2003: The strife in Liberia is an indication of Africa's flawed security strategy and does not bode well for African nations' ability to resolve their own crises. The African Union plans to establish a "peace and security council," but the process has been delayed, due to lack of funding. Libya offered to foot the bill, but many African countries are concerned about being seen to be relying on a regime that has been linked to international terrorism. [CNSNews]
Friday, 1 August, 2003: Gaps in China's proliferation controls and a lax attitude by the government on enforcement are permitting Chinese firms to funnel illegal missile exports out of the country, a senior US official charged Thursday. In a report sent to Congress last April, the CIA said Chinese companies had provided dual-use missile-related items and raw materials to Iran, Libya, "and to a lesser extent, N. Korea" in the first half of last year. [AFP]
Friday, 1 August, 2003: Zimbabwe is taking its highest-value banknote out of circulation in the face of an economic crisis that has led to long queues outside banks and the widespread hoarding of cash. Shortages of foreign currency also mean fuel is hard to come by. Zimbabwe's recent attempts to extend oil deals with Libya have foundered over opposition to the idea of giving the Libyans Zimbabwe's oil infrastructure in exchange. [BBC]
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