News and Views [ December 2003 ]

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Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: A compensation deal struck between France and Libya for the families of victims of the 1989 UTA airliner bombing will be signed in Paris on Jan 9, according to a report in weekly magazine Le Canard Enchaine. It will be signed in the presence of the Libya's foreign minister Abdelrahman Shalgham (photo), the magazine said in an article to be published tomorrow. Shalgham confirmed that he will be in Paris on Jan 9, but said the principal subject for his talks there will be "the development of historical relations between Libya and France". [AFX]
Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: China's ZTA company has signed a 40-million-dollar contract to install a new network of 600,000 mobile phone lines in Libya, the director of the state telephones and communications company said. Mohammad al-Qadhafi (photo), a son of Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi, told a press conference late Monday that work to install the network was due to start early next year. A new company named Libyaco was expected to operate the network, he said. [MEOL]
Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: Libya's Prime Minister, Shukri Ghanem (photo), who is one of the acceptable faces of [Libya,] says there was a lengthy internal debate about Libya's decision to get rid of its weapons programmes. "We thought this would make us look better in the eyes of the world and set an example for others in the Middle East to follow, especially Israel," he says. Mr Ghanem denies that Libya acted under pressure because of America's invasion of Iraq. "Weapons of mass destruction are very costly. It's better that we concentrate on our economic development," he argues. [BBC]
Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: The U.S. says it will take a considerable amount of time to determine whether Libya is being completely forthcoming in disclosing its nuclear program. Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the issue by telephone Tuesday with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed El-Baradei. Mr. El-Baradei says he received good cooperation from the Libyan government and that its nuclear weapons effort appears to have been only at an early stage. But U.S. officials are cautioning against any premature conclusions about Libyan cooperation and say U.S. experts can be expected to begin their own inspection visits to Libya early in the new year to pursue unanswered questions about the nuclear program. [VOA]
Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: As we enter 2004, liberty has made important advances around the globe, according to Freedom House, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocate for international democracy and freedom. In its annual review "Freedom in the World," the organization rates countries for both political rights and civil liberties. The countries at the bottom of the list are Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Turkmenistan. Two territories also join this group: Chechnya and Tibet. [San Antonio Express-News]
Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: The U.N. nuclear agency does not need American help in dismantling Libya's nascent weapons program, the agency chief told The Associated Press on Tuesday, echoing differences with Washington over Iraq and Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency is happy to receive U.S. and British intelligence that will assist its inspectors in Libya, said Director General Mohamed El-Baradei. But the IAEA doesn't want help on the ground. "I am not familiar with anything they plan to do on a bilateral basis," El-Baradei said in an interview when asked about U.S. plans to police and scrap Libya's covert nuclear program. "As far as I'm concerned, we have the mandate, and we intend to do it alone." [AP]
Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: The U.S. Bush administration is convinced Libya's nuclear program was far more extensive than assumed by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In response, Washington has decided to send its own inspectors and British technical experts to Libya to help survey and dismantle its weapons programs. The White House and the IAEA have also had tensions during the past year over the extent of the nuclear weapons threat in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and in Iran. [AP]
Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: One hundred and fifty Pakistanis have been sent back on Tuesday to Pakistan from Libya through a special charter flight. The Pakistanis, returning to Pakistan, were accused of to have managed to flee Italy from Libya via sea route. Their release and return to home could be possible by dint of UN's aid programme. More around seven hundred Pakistanis are behind the different bars of Libya, for whose release efforts at government level are underway, according to sources. [The Pakistani]
Wednesday, 31 December, 2003: Col Qadhafi has run Libya since 1969 - even longer than Saddam Hussein had ruled Iraq - and he pledged to show and tell all his dirty secrets about home-grown weapons of mass destruction. No doubt he didn't want to end his career in "a spider hole" even though the Colonel had started his transformation from pariah to pal some time ago. But the fate of his Iraqi colleague may have provided the final nudge of persuasion. [BBC]

No 'Business As Usual' With Libya; By: Mohammed Buisier

Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: The U.S. refused today to ease diplomatic pressure on Libya, despite the Tripoli government's latest concessions on its banned weapons programs. Washington noted Libya's decision to allow snap inspections of suspect sites. But it warned its long-time foe there was a long way to go before it could expect normal relations with the U.S. "We're looking to Libya to get out of the terrorism game and get out of the WMD game," said State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli. "They have made some very important statements regarding their intention to do so. "It is a long process. We need to make sure that there is follow through on these commitments. "As there is follow through, we are willing to discuss with them the issue of improved bilateral relations, but we're not there yet." [The Australian]
Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed el-Baradei said Libya's decision to come clean about its weapons programs would be rewarded. "There are talks now of mainstreaming [Libya's] relations with the US, with Europe," he said. But a senior US official warned the IAEA against taking credit for Libya's new policy. "El-Baradei is only there because of us and the Brits," the official said. "With all due respect, what he is saying about Libya's nuclear program is based on far less information than we already have. "There will be additional negotiations and disclosures with the US and the UK to which Libya actually made its commitments," the official added. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: Some suggest that the American-led regime changes in Afghanistan and Iraq had little or nothing to do with Qadhafi's decision to seek rapprochement with the U.S. They suggest that the Libyan leader's welcome decision is as a triumph of diplomacy over military threat. That's just so much hogwash. For the fact is, two decades of economic sanctions against Libya and two decades of international isolation of Tripoli hardly deterred Qadhafi from pursuing his weapons programs and subduing terrorists. But when Bush put the rogue nations of the world on notice, when the U.S. military started to kick tail and take names -- first the Taliban, then Saddam -- that got the Libyan dictator's attention. [Union-Tribune]
Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: Shortly before his agreement with US imperialism was announced, Qadhafi told an audience of Libyan women that "the times of Arab nationalism and unity are gone forever... these ideas which mobilised the masses are only a worthless currency." Intended as a criticism of Libya's neighbours, Qadhafi's words are a fitting condemnation of his own regime and the failure of bourgeois nationalism in all its manifestations to satisfy the social needs and basic democratic rights of the Arab working class and oppressed masses. [World Socialist]
Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: UN nuclear weapons chief Mohamed el-Baradei met Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and praised Tripoli for cooperating with teams conducting the first-ever inspections of its atomic weapons program. "Libya has shown a good deal of cooperation, a good deal of openness," said el-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "This is a country that appears fully committed to cooperating." [Reuters]
Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corp (ABC) has announced plans to enter the "promising markets" in Iraq and Libya, following the recent sale of its 68 per cent interest in Spain's Banco Atlantico to Banco Sabadell. The bank's chief executive, Ghazi Abdul Jawad said: "The monetary authorities in Libya are expected to open the market to banks like ours soon". In Iraq, Abdul Jawad said the group was among a number of international and regional banks that had applied for a licence to operate in the war-torn country. [Gulf News]
Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: Less than 72 hours before it completes its two-year term in the 15-member U.N. Security Council, Syria formally introduced a resolution Monday calling for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. The resolution, which was apparently prompted by Libya's decision last week to come clean on its WMDs, is implicitly aimed at Israel, the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons. A diplomat told IPS the outcome of the resolution is "highly predictable". "As a close ally of Israel, the U.S. will block any attempts to adopt the resolution -- even if it is called upon to exercise its veto powers," he added. [IPS]
Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: Experts in security and immigration from Niger and Libya on Monday began two days of consultations in Niami on security including illegal immigration, drug trafficking, proliferation of small arms and ammunition, as well as robberies. [PANA]
Tuesday, 30 December, 2003: Al-Olympique have moved atop the Libyan premier football league following the 11th round played at the weekend. [PANA]

Tibra Foundation: Tibra Spotlight

Monday, 29 December, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who recently abandoned his country's weapons of mass destruction programme, had armed al-Qaeda terror network with germ bombs, a report claimed today. Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa told British secret service agency Mi5 that tens of thousands of weapons had been produced in Libya, the Sunday Express said. Kusa has named 500 al-Qaeda terrorists in Britain and the information he gave is being checked, it said. Qadhafi was welcomed back on to the world stage on the agreement that his help to Osama Bin Laden would never officially be mentioned, the report claimed. [PTI]
Monday, 29 December, 2003: Colonel Qadhafi is not a man of honor in the making. Rather, he is afraid for his life. He calculates that his best chance of holding onto wealth and position for his golden years is by cutting a deal and getting Libya delisted as one of the world's worst rogue regimes. His gambit is much the same as that of the Communist overlords of China in 1980 a few years after the death of Mao. Appeasement never works with such men. But fear does. [NRO]
Monday, 29 December, 2003: The U.N. nuclear watchdog has asked Libya to hand over key documents and to facilitate interviews with Libyan individuals as part of its investigation into the North African state's atomic weapons program. "We were trying to establish a baseline to obtain key documents or maps...(and) to lay out a gameplan for the coming days involving what additional sites need to be visited, what individuals we would like to interview and key documents that would help to fill in any gaps in our understanding," an IAEA official told Reuters. [Reuters]
Monday, 29 December, 2003: Libya on Sunday let UN nuclear officials inspect four sites related to its nuclear weapons program. The visits, led by the chief UN weapons inspector, Dr. Mohamed el-Baradei, followed the surprise announcement by the Libyan leader, Col. Qadhafi, more than a week ago that his country would abandon its pursuit of unconventional weapons. Dr. el-Baradei would meet with Matouq Muhammad Matouq, a Libyan deputy prime minister and head of the country's nuclear program, to develop a plan for future inspections. [The New York Times]
Monday, 29 December, 2003: It would be naive to conclude that the decision by Libya to dismantle its programme of developing weapons of mass destruction emerged out of the goodness of Colonel Qadhafi's heart. This was a well-considered move to gain acceptance from the international community, especially the U.S. and Britain. However, that does not mean we should not welcome it. Indeed, the move is a major boost to the image of the African Union (AU), which has often been criticised for failing to isolate rogue states such as Libya. [The Star]

Sunday, 28 December, 2003: Open political discussion has long been impossible and few Libyans wanted to give their names, fearing incarceration. In the wake of the U-turn on WMD, however, there came surprisingly frank denunciations of Col Qadhafi from men gathered in smoky cafes, puffing nargiles and drinking sugary black tea. "Usually we never discuss politics," said a middle-aged man in a cafe overlooking Green Square in Tripoli. "The attitude is that this is the system: if you don't like it, leave. Now everyone is talking about Qadhafi." [The Telegraph]
Sunday, 28 December, 2003: The hunt for the killer of WPc Yvonne Fletcher is to be revived after fresh promises of co-operation from Col Qadhafi, the Libyan president. Scotland Yard detectives, who kept the case open after she was shot dead outside the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984, now plan to visit Libya to interview the main suspect, who was a diplomat at the time. Mike O'Brien, the Foreign Office minister who is handling talks with the Libyan leader, said that detectives will be able to renew their hunt for the killer in Tripoli. "Compensation has been paid. The issue now is who pulled the trigger?" he said. [The Telegraph]
Sunday, 28 December, 2003: Libya reported Saturday that the number of patients infected with AIDS stood at 975 in the country. The Libyan al-Shams daily quoted the director of the anti-AIDS program, Ahmad Mahmoud, that around 800 AIDS patients were Libyans and 175 were foreigners residing in Libya. He added that the Libyan authorities deport all foreigners found to have been infected with the virus. An official report by Libya's National Center for Diseases said that 1,852 cases of AIDS were registered in 2000, and that 319 new cases were recorded in 2001. [UPI]
Sunday, 28 December, 2003: Libya was not close to building a nuclear weapon, said Mohamed El-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday. Mr El-Baradei flew into Libya with a team of inspectors keen to test Col. Qadhafi's promise to be "fully transparent" about his nuclear programme. He confirmed that Libya had tried to enrich uranium as part of a weapons programme but did not appear close to producing a nuclear bomb. [The Telegraph]
Sunday, 28 December, 2003: Libya's maverick leader earned international plaudits for giving up weapons of mass destruction but on the dusty streets of Tripoli his long-suffering people were - not for the first time - left bemused. The owner of a clothes store in the souk was outspoken in his criticism of Col Qadhafi. "First he refused to surrender the Lockerbie suspects for a fair trial, turning all the world against us," the shopkeeper complained. Then he went as far as declaring that we were on the verge of developing nuclear weapons but would dismantle them to please the world. I can't understand what's happening." [The Telegraph]
Sunday, 28 December, 2003: Libya welcomed a team of U.N. inspectors who arrived Saturday to evaluate the nation's nuclear program and determine if it's fulfilling a pledge to abandon efforts to build weapons of mass destruction. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam said Libya had not yet produced nuclear weapons a claim the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, Mohamed El-Baradei supported. "We don't have weapons of mass destruction," Shalgam said at a news conference. "We didn't arrive to the point of weaponization." [AP]

Saturday, 27 December, 2003: Top U.N. nuclear investigator Mohamed el-Baradei goes to Libya on Saturday to start checks in the North African state, which has admitted to having a secret programme to develop an atomic bomb. El-Baradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), could begin talks with Libyan officials as early as Saturday afternoon. Vienna-based diplomats said they believed el-Baradei would meet Libyan leader Qadhafi, who pledged to let U.N. experts assess and dismantle projects for WMDs. [Reuters]
Saturday, 27 December, 2003: Defense lawyers for the former President of Mauritania Muhammad Weld Hedallah expected the court to pronounce its verdict on Sunday regarding the accusations against him. The trial started on the first of December in front of the criminal court in Nouakchott, and postponed for the first time on December 15, to allow witnesses to show evidence that Hedallah received money from Libya. [Arabic News]

Friday, 26 December, 2003: A naturalized American citizen has sued the U.S. government, saying customs officials violated his constitutional rights when they illegally confiscated and held his U.S. and Libyan passports. Adel M. Belazi of Tigard said U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials took the passports Oct. 23 after he returned from Libya, where he was visiting his ailing mother. U.S. law prohibits visiting Libya on a U.S. passport, but Belazi said he legally entered the country on his Libyan passport. Belazi has been a citizen since 1992. [The Oregonian]
Friday, 26 December, 2003: Receiving an interviewer from al-Jazeera television one day in his desert tent, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo) talked of world affairs and Libyan politics, then suddenly gestured towards a figure in the distance. "See that camel-rider over there?" he said. "That camel-rider takes part in the process of decision-making in Libya." What part the camel-rider played in Libya's decision to renounce weapons of mass destruction is unknown. [The Pakistani Newspaper]
Friday, 26 December, 2003: The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) summit has been postponed, thus plunging the Maghreb region into its worst crisis. A senior Arab diplomat told Reuters the December 23-24 heads-of-state summit in Algiers was shelved largely because of a dispute between Morocco and Algeria over the territory of Western Sahara, seized by Rabat in 1975. The AMU makes up Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. [Cameroon Tribune]
Friday, 26 December, 2003: Egyptian President Mubarak praised Libya's announcement on 19 December to dispose of its Weapons of Mass destruction (WMDs). "As far as I knew, Libya was not in possession of WMDs ... it is a good step," Mubarak said. [Al-Ahram Weekly]
Friday, 26 December, 2003: What Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya need, Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt said, are lessons in how to build a democracy. [Chicago Sun Times]
Friday, 26 December, 2003: An airliner has crashed into the sea moments after takeoff in Benin, killing at least 50 on board and forcing rescuers to plunge into the waves to save others or salvage their bodies. The aircraft belonged to Union Transport Africaines. Most of the survivors were Lebanese but they included a Libyan co-pilot. [Reuters]

Thursday, 25 December, 2003: A Canadian intelligence report says al-Qaeda-backed militants in Libya want to assassinate Col. Qadhafi, providing a possible explanation for the dictator's recent attempts to improve relations with the West. The Canadian Intelligence Service report says The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is the most powerful radical faction waging holy war against Qadhafi. The group's stronghold is in the mountains on Libya's northeast coast. "Using the mountains around the Benghazi and al-Jabal al-Akhdar area as a base, the LIFG employs ... guerrilla tactics to attack Qadhafi's forces and then retreat into hiding." [National Post]
Thursday, 25 December, 2003: The son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has said the United States has committed itself to providing security for Libya and that US officials will travel there soon to ascertain its needs. Seif al-Islam, in comments published Wednesday in the Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat, also said British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush would visit Libya in 2004. Seif al-Islam said Washington had "committed itself to protecting us from any sort of attack" and that there had been "consultations to conclude security and military accords that would lead to joint military maneuvers in the future." [AFP]
Thursday, 25 December, 2003: Syria and Egypt called on Wednesday for a ban on WMD throughout the Middle East, including Israel, after Libya decided to give up secret programs to develop such arms. A senior Egyptian official told reporters after a Syrian-Egyptian meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh that Damascus also wanted peace talks with Israel to build on the progress made in negotiations which broke down in 2000. [Reuters]

24 December 2003: Libya's Independence Day

"The Constitution: A Major Achievement" By: Hisham Ben Ghalboun

Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has invited his Libyan counterpart Abdelraman Shalgam to visit Britain following Libya's decision to give up pursuit of WMD, the official Libyan news agency Jana said. It said Straw had telephoned Shalgam to congratulate him on Libya's decision, and to invite him to London. [AFP]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: GlobalNet announced today that it has been awarded an exclusive contract for worldwide termination of voice and data mobile satellite telecommunications traffic originating in Libya. Approval from the U.S. Department of State will be required before service can be initiated from Libya, but all of the necessary equipment needed to activate the service has already been put into place at the gateway. [Business Wire]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: Qadhafi's decision to dismantle his WMD is welcome news for the region and the world. Equally importantly, it is another piece of glad tidings for the people of Libya and foreign expatriates there both of whom have suffered immensely in the last twenty plus years largely due to the imprudence of the Tripoli leadership. Whether Qadhafi's decision will help him personally or not is irrelevant. What is important is that these initiatives are showing encouraging results in the lives of the five million ordinary Libyans. [The Daily Star]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: North African foreign ministers abruptly cancelled a summit which was to have started in Algiers yesterday. Apparently, the move was motivated by unexplained differences among the members. Libya had called for a two-week delay to the two-day summit but the ministers postponed it indefinitely. [AFP]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: Syria, accused by the United States of actively pursuing plans to make chemical weapons, welcomed on Tuesday Libya's decision to abandon weapons of mass destruction and urged pressure to compel a similar move by Israel. A joint Syrian-Egyptian statement issued after talks on economic cooperation said the two countries "welcome the initiative of the Libyan government to abandon WMD programmes". [Reuters]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: France's foreign minister yesterday praised Britain and America for getting Libya to abandon its arsenal of deadly weapons but admitted he had not been made aware the talks were going on. Dominique de Villepin, described the diplomatic effort as "exemplary". France's Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on Monday that France was kept informed of discussions between Washington, London and Tripoli. [EPolitix/Reuters]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: The United Nations Security Council is calling for swift international verification of Libya's decision to scrap its weapons of mass destruction programs. The council says it "warmly welcomed" the announcement by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi that his country is abandoning its efforts to build nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the means to deliver them. The council dropped one part of its statement that said Libya's actions could become a model for others, including in the Middle East. [AP]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: Pakistan has now admitted that nuclear technology could have been transferred illegally to countries like N. Korea, Iran and Libya by the country's scientists. But the official line is still that these were individual actions not government ones, and may have been done for greed or ambition. The admission has been forced after Iran and Libya admitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that they may have got Pakistani help. [NDTV]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the Libyan leader, called yesterday on other "rogue states" to follow his dramatic example, by admitting involvement in banned weapons programmes, if they were to prevent "tragedy" from striking their nations. He went on to accuse Israel of harbouring illicit weapons, saying a wholesale disarmament in the Muslim world "would tighten the rope or the noose around the Israelis, so they would expose their programmes and their weapons of mass destruction". [The Telegraph]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: Hans Blix, the United Nations' former chief weapons inspector, said yesterday that Libya's disarmament plans showed that Iraq could have been contained without "rushing to war". Dr Blix spoke out as Colonel Qadhafi, the Libyan leader, said that snap checks of nuclear sites in his country could begin as soon as next week. But Dr Blix rejected claims that it was the war on Iraq that had forced Colonel Qadhafi's hand and said that his willingness to co-operate with the UN underlined the power of sanctions. [The Independent]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: The Bush administration's hint about improving economic ties with Libya already has a couple of Texas oil companies interested. Executives of Conoco-Phillips and Marathon Oil are already making plans to take advantage of a possible end to an embargo with Libya. The companies, along with New York City-based Amerada Hess, once produced about 850,000 barrels of oil a day in Libya. [AP]
Wednesday, 24 December, 2003: The [Libyan] Government's human rights record remained poor, and it continued to commit numerous serious abuses. Citizens did not have the right to change their government. Qadhafi used summary judicial proceedings to suppress domestic opposition. Security forces tortured prisoners ... Prison conditions were poor. Security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained persons, and many prisoners were held incommunicado. Many political detainees were held for years without charge or trial. The Government controlled the judiciary, and citizens did not have the right to a fair public trial or to be represented by legal counsel. The Government infringed on citizens' privacy rights, and citizens did not have the right to be secure in their homes or persons ... The Government restricted freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion. ... The Government prohibited the establishment of independent human rights organizations. [U.S. Department of State Human Rights Website]

Libyan Human Rights Commission: Press Release

Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, in an exclusive interview with CNN, acknowledged Monday that the war in Iraq may have played a role in his decision to dismantle his country's WMD programs. He also told CNN that though his country has certain programs and machines, it has no chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear arms. "We have not these weapons," he said, adding that the programs he is prepared to dismantle "would have been for peaceful purposes -- but nevertheless we decided to get rid of them completely. [CNN]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: Libya's relations with America and Britain will improve and economic benefits will flow to the North African state following its government's pledge to dispose of its WMD, Libya's prime minister was reported as saying Monday. Shokri Ghanem told BBC radio that Libya wanted to change its "priorities and concentrate on our economic affairs and economic development." "If you are in doubt you can ask the (British) prime minister (Tony Blair) or you can ask President Bush," Ghanem said in the interview. Ghanem said not all Libyans supported his government's move, but added that it was "a decision we are taking and we think it is in the interests of the Libyan people and in the interest of the whole world community." [AP]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: After decades of fueling underground militancy around the globe and buying up banned weapons technology, a newly cooperative Libya could potentially provide the West with a bonanza of valuable intelligence. Dictators, spies, arms dealers and militants throughout the Middle East and beyond will be bracing themselves for any revelations by Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. "He's the first one to squeal. He's turned state's evidence and everyone else is going to hang in the wind," said Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest. "I think there will be a number of people within the Arab world or the Islamic world who will be watching carefully and listening to what the colonel is prepared to disclose." [Reuters]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: The Bush administration is dangling the prospect of better economic ties with Tripoli as it praises Libya for trying to rejoin the international community. The U.S. State Department also says it will look at possibly removing Libya from the list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Last week, Qadhafi announced his nation would scrap efforts to build WMD. Officials say they will look at lifting a ban on the use of U-S passports to go to Libya. [AP]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: In the wake of Libya's decision to dismantle WMD programs, Pakistan acknowledged the possibility that some of its scientists may have provided nuclear technology to foreign nations. Pakistan's government has denied allegations it gave such information to N. Korea and Libya, but said it has questioned the founder of its nuclear program as part of its inquiry into whether any of its scientists acted without authorization. [AP]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel is scheduled to visit Libya in February 2004, it was officially announced Monday. [PANA]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: The head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Mohamed el-Baradei, said that he will pay a visit to Libya next week to pave the way for inspections following Tripoli's pledge to give up its weapons programs. El-Baradei said that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will begin staging surprise checks at suspect sites "as early as next week" under the terms of a new protocol that Tripoli has pledged to sign. [AFP]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: Libya took issue on Monday with a proposed Security Council statement on the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction programs. The council delayed issuing the statement because of the Libyan concern over a reference to verification and the desire of a number of council nations to consult their capitals. But if none of the 15 council nations object to the draft by noon Tuesday, it will be issued by the council. The council's draft press statement would warmly welcome Libya's announcement and applaud "Libya's recognition of the strength of the concerns of the international community over weapons of mass destruction proliferation and its voluntary decision to address those concerns." [AP]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: Libya says it would welcome back US oil companies, which are eager to return to their abandoned operations, should Washington lift economic sanctions after Libya pledged on Friday to abandon weapons of mass destruction. "The US has oil advantages in Libya," Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrhmane Shalgam told reporters. "We will try to convince US oil companies to return. We currently produce 1.5 million barrels per day and we aim to increase the oil output to 3 million bpd in 2020," Mr Shalgam said. [ABC]
Tuesday, 23 December, 2003: Five US oil firms were active in Libya before sanctions on investment in 1986, including Marathon Oil, Amerada Hess, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum and Grace Petroleum. "We've made no secret that we would be very interested in returning to Libya if permitted," said Larry Meriage, spokesman for Occidental. "It was our Libyan discoveries that launched Occidental as a major player in the international arena. It also put Libya on the map as a major world oil producer." [ABC]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: U.S. President Bush should not be satisfied only with dismantling Libya's nuclear, chemical, and germ weapons programs, as welcome as that offer from Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is. To really ensure that the mercurial dictator (and his heirs-apparent sons) don't once again become a global menace, the U.S. must keep its economic sanctions - including no oil investments - until the Libyans can vote for their leaders in a fair election. After all, Mr. Bush demanded democracy for post-Saddam Hussein Iraq as a first step toward reforming the terrorist-nurturing Middle East. He should demand the same of Mr. Qadhafi. [CSMonitor]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: Reports suggest that Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo/left) has contracted cancer and is rapidly trying to smooth the way for his son Saif al-Islam (photo/right) to take over. A report published by the International Strategic Studies Association, a Washington-based research institute, says Qadhafi was diagnosed with throat cancer in Egypt 18 months ago and was given two years to live. Col Qadhafi's son is said to be unpopular among several sections of Libya's military, giving the Libyan leader an incentive to ingratiate him with the West in the hope this will sustain his family rule. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: France said the U.S. told it months ago it was talking with Libya about giving up banned weapons, dismissing talk that Paris was frozen out because of its opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said yesterday France was kept informed of discussions between Washington, London and Tripoli which culminated in a surprise announcement that Libya was giving up its banned weapons programmes. "France was perfectly aware of these negotiations," she told French TV station LCI. [Reuters]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: Libya, widely praised for announcing on Friday that it was ditching efforts to build the bomb and other banned weapons, told the head of the UN nuclear watchdog on Saturday it was ready to sign up to inspections. "We are turning our swords into ploughshares and this step should be appreciated and followed by all other countries," Libyan prime minister, Shokri Ghanem (photo) said, adding that economic progress was more important than arms. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: Fresh from their Libyan coup, Tony Blair and George Bush will hope they have turned a corner in their attempts to rid the Middle East and the wider world of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iran and Syria are likely to be two of the first countries to get the Libya treatment - to be offered the carrot of reintegration into the family of nations while threatened with the stick of military action. North Korea will also be told that, like Libya, it can benefit significantly from doing a deal. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: Col Qadhafi's action has sent shock-waves through the Arab establishment. However, some commentators accused the Libyan leader of throwing away a negotiating chip without any regional gain. What is clear is that there is unlikely to be widespread change in the region without a move on Israel's weapons. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said: "This is a very excellent step. It will have repercussions in the whole world, including Israel, because Israel must remove weapons of mass destruction in any form." [The Scotsman]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: Relatives of the British victims of the Lockerbie bombing have called on Tony Blair to use his new relationship with Libya to launch an independent inquiry into the atrocity. They have called for Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the Libyan leader, to prove himself worthy of being re-admitted to the international community by addressing questions left unanswered during the Lockerbie trial which was held two years ago. Their demands came as Col Qadhafi made fresh moves to ingratiate himself with the West by allowing United Nations nuclear inspectors to visit the country without advance notice. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: "What Qadhafi is striving for is reacceptance into the community of nations," said Henry Schuler, a Libyan specialist who has met Qadhafi and spent eight years in Libya as an American diplomat and an oil company executive. So far, Qadhafi seems to be winning friends, even in places where he might not want them. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Peled said that the move on WMD could lead to Israel's establishing relations with Libya. However, Libya's state-run press made clear that Israel would have to follow suit with its weaponry. [AP]
Monday, 22 December, 2003: Libyan newspapers Sunday hailed Qadhafi's decision to abandon weapons of mass destruction as a triumph, comparing the move to Libya's claiming of responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Libya's tightly controlled state-run press also demanded Israel now dispose of its arsenal, echoing statements by Egypt and the Arab League, which groups 21 Arab states and the Palestinian Authority, immediately after Qadhafi's surprise announcement. Israel is the only Middle East nation believed to possess nuclear weapons. [AP]

ALFA: Press Release

Libya's Statement

U.S. President Bush's Statement

Britain's Prime Minister Blair's Statement

Sunday, 21 December, 2003: Now that Lockerbie is settled, WMD out of the way and terrorism renounced, it seems there is nothing to prevent Libya's rapprochement with the US. However, Bush's new-found conviction that democracy and security must go hand in hand for the Middle East - reiterated with increasing regularity in his public pronouncements - could yet spell problems for Libyan leader Qadhafi. Whereas Qadhafi's foreign policy is shaped by political context, domestic politics remains unfettered by any meaningful structures or institutions. Although he has made huge steps towards understanding the need to renounce terrorism and WMD, the question of political reform is likely to be a future stumbling block. [The Observer]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: London-based Libyan dissident Ashur Shamis, founder of the opposition National Front for the Salvation of Libya, said: "It is an absolutely appalling state of affairs. The British and Americans were prepared to go to war to dismantle a regime like Saddam's. But they are quite happy to accommodate Qadhafi, who is no less tyrannical and repressive". Huda Abuzeid, whose dissident father was murdered by Libyan assassins in west London, said: "I am astonished that they have done this deal before dealing with the unsolved murders of my father and PC Yvonne Fletcher". [The Observer]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: British sources said that "The Libyans had not acquired a nuclear capability, but they were close to developing one. What they have acknowledged to us is that they were developing a nuclear fuel cycle that was intended to support a weapons programme. "They have shown us significant quantities of chemical agents and dual-use precursors, and given access to sites where missile research was going on." Despite lingering concerns about the destructive potential of the regime responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, Britain and America maintained that the agreement to disarm represented a massive diplomatic victory. [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: It emerged last night that Qadhafi was capable of firing a missile into the heart of Europe or Israel, according to defence analysts. British officials confirmed privately that the arsenal included the feared Nodong missiles, capable of firing a devastating warhead up to 1,700 km. Their potential target range is almost 10 times the limit Qadhafi has now agreed to observe under the deal. Britain's Foreign Minsister Straw said Libya had confirmed long-term fears that they had collaborated with the North Koreans in developing a deadly weapons programme that threatened enemies far beyond its borders. [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: Amid the fallout from the dramatic announcement that Libya is to abandon its illicit weapons programme, it has emerged that British officials are already in ‘back-channel’ negotiations with Syria and Iran, as part of a wider campaign to defuse the tinderbox situation in the Middle East. Scotland on Sunday has learned that officials have met counterparts in both countries - labelled part of the "Axis of Evil" by President George Bush - for preliminary discussions. The softly-softly strategy, which produced the developments in Libya after nine months of secret negotiations, was last night backed up by a veiled threat from Bush, who said he hoped other leaders would follow the example of Colonel Qadhafi. [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: Intelligence officials predicted on Saturday that better relations with Libya would lead to a windfall of intelligence that could help stop the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. A day after Libya declared its intention to surrender its weapons of mass destruction, intelligence officials, in a background briefing for reporters, offered more details of the secret negotiations that led to the diplomatic breakthrough. Intelligence analysts want to work backward to pin down which countries, companies or terrorist organizations might have assisted Libya's pursuit of lethal weapons. "This will indeed help us to unravel other pieces," one senior intelligence official said. [Macon Telegraph]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: Qadhafi's declared contempt for America softened in recent years as he struggled to overcome economic woes and Islamic extremists within his own country. Saif al-Islam, Qadhafi's son, took issue Saturday with speculation that his father was motivated by fear that Libya would become the next Iraq if it failed to give up its weapons of mass destruction. "We started the cooperation before even the invasion of Iraq," Saif al-Islam told CNN. "The capture of Saddam or the invasion of Iraq is irrelevant." In recent months, Qadhafi left no doubt that he is eager for better relations with the United States. [Macon Telegraph]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: A team of U.S. and British experts spent a total of about four weeks examining Libyan facilities in separate visits in October and earlier this month. "Col. Qadhafi himself has been involved in one form or another in this since the beginning," an intelligence official said. "It would appear to be his belief that it is time to return to the family of nations." Better U.S.-Libyan relations will likely provide an important oil supply supplement. U.S. oil companies pulled out of Libya in 1986 after then-President Reagan imposed economic sanctions because of Libya's ties to international terrorism. [Macon Telegraph]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: An association run by the son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Saturday it removed 6,000 names from a government list of people banned from traveling. The Qadhafi International Association said those 6,000 people had not been convicted of a criminal offense. The association said it was "surprised by the big number of people who had been banned from travel without carrying out the necessary investigation." [AP]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Friday night triumph may have seemed underwhelming for one main reason: not many people knew that Libya had weapons of mass destruction to begin with. The Prime Minister, then, was a bit like the policeman who turns up at your door and hands you the keys to a car you didn't realise had been stolen. The copper may have done his job, but you don't feel half as impressed as you would have done had you already spent a horrid day worrying about who'd nicked the family motor. It was what Donald Rumsfeld might call an unknown unknown. [The Observer]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: The success of persuading Libya to reveal and dismantle its weapons of mass destruction is a triple fillip to the Prime Minister. To the bellicose wing of the American administration, he demonstrates that diplomatic engagement can be a successful alternative to war to deal with this menace. To his domestic opponents and sceptics about the Iraq war, here is proof positive from Libya that the threat of rogue states is not a figment of his imagination. To the broader home audience, Mr Blair can say that this is a dividend of his relationship with the White House which shows that he leads a government playing a pivotal role in tackling one of the world's gravest challenges. [The Observer]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: Libya provided detailed intelligence on hundreds of al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists as part of a deal to end its isolation as a pariah nation, The Observer can reveal. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw praised the Libyan dictator Col. Qadhafi for his 'huge statesmanship' in striking the deal over WMD. But the real prize for London and Washington for two years of intense negotiation was access to material from one of the world's most formidable and feared intelligence organisations, The Observer can reveal. [The Observer]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: Libya has acted swiftly to back up its vow to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction, sending a top official to Vienna for discussions with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. A meeting has already been held with the IAEA chief, Mohamed el-Baradei, to discuss details of the Libyan programme. Western diplomats said that prior to the Libyan announcement, the IAEA had been growing increasingly concerned about indications that Tripoli wanted to develop atomic weapons. [World News]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: British and American diplomacy won European praise Saturday for winning Libya's pledge to renounce weapons of mass destruction, and Britain looked forward to Washington lifting sanctions against the North African state it accuses of sponsoring terrorism. For China, locked in its own disarmament effort with neighbor N. Korea, and for Europe, Libya's surprise pledge was evidence that negotiations work. Egypt urged Israel to follow suit. [AP]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: France's Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin saluted "the efforts of Britain and the U.S." and welcomed Libya's pledge as "a success for the entire international community" and an "important step" toward its full return to international respectability. He also urged Tripoli to rapidly conclude negotiations on compensation for a 1989 attack on a French UTA jet that killed 170 people. "Commitments made by the Libyan authorities with regard to the UTA affair must be implemented without delay," de Villepin insisted. [AP]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: [The Libyan WMD deal] clearly proves that diplomacy can win over proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons," EU foreign policy representative Javier Solana said. Hailing Libya's move as the "product of very skillful diplomacy," the EU's external relations commissioner, Chris Patten, said it "will result in a tangible improvement of international security" and "shows that diplomatic engagement can deliver effectively." That argument was echoed by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, who said "political and diplomatic approaches are the most effective forms to achieve the goal of nonproliferation." [AP]
Sunday, 21 December, 2003: In an apparent reference to Israel Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher urged countries in the region to "put an end to any nuclear weapons production program." Maher did not specifically name Israel, but said, "You know, of course, who I mean." Asked if the international community should start looking at Israel's nuclear capabilities, Maher, who heads to Israel on Monday, said: "The steps which Libya took should be a model to follow. This is clear. I won't add anything." Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa was more direct, saying Libya's move "emphasizes the need for Israel to comply with all the regulations that prohibit the proliferation of weapons." "There should be no exceptions," Moussa added. [AP]
Saturday, 20 December, 2003: Libya said that "Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi ... confirmed that the circumstances [of announcing the WMD deal] may not be suitable as a result of the situation in Iraq and elsewhere, but prime minister Tony Blair and president George Bush insisted that the time had come to announce the news, for this will be considered a success for the Libyan, American and British diplomacy ... They urged the leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafy to announce that now, even though they are aware of the sentiments of Arab and Islamic states". [The Guardian]
Saturday, 20 December, 2003: While praising Libya for taking "essential steps" on the weapons programs, U.S. President Bush said: "Its good faith will be returned. "Leaders who abandon the pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver them, will find an open path to better relations with the U.S. and other free nations. With today's announcement by its leader, Libya has begun the process of rejoining the community of nations". "And Colonel Qadhafi knows the way forward. Libya should carry out the commitments announced today. Libya should also fully engage in the war against terror," he said. [AP]
Saturday, 20 December, 2003: In an unexpected television address, Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, revealed Libya had agreed to give up unconventional weapons, join international treaties on nuclear and chemical arms and limit the range of its missiles. Mr Blair said Libya had approached Britain and the U.S. in March to negotiate over its banned weapons, after a successful deal to end U.N. sanctions on Libya over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Mr Blair said the moves should entitle Libya to "rejoin the international community." [ABC]
Saturday, 20 December, 2003: British Prime Minister Tony Blair could hardly have wished for a better end to his most troubled year as prime minister. The surprise announcement that Libya is to destroy its secret but long-suspect WMD programme allows him to present a diplomatic success in his battle against international terrorism. Blair will hope Libya's decision turns public opinion in his favour And, coming just days after the capture of Saddam Hussein, he will undoubtedly hope the tide of opinion over this effort will finally start turning in his direction. [BBC]
Saturday, 20 December, 2003: Libya said on Friday it would eliminate all its weapons of mass destruction. Libya's foreign ministry said in a statement Libya "had decided on its free will to ... completely eliminate the internationally banned weapons of mass destruction". The statement said the agreement was reached after meetings with "experts" from Britain and the United States. No details were immediately available on the nature of these meetings, where they took place and when. The text, of which an excerpt was obtained by Reuters, said the decision was in line with Libya's pledge to make the Middle East and Africa a nuclear-free area. [Reuters]
Saturday, 20 December, 2003: U.S. President Bush said Libya's decision - which would open the country to international weapons inspectors - would be "of great importance" in stopping weapons of mass destruction in a global fight against terrorism. Bush said the war in Iraq and efforts to stop N. Korea's nuclear program had sent a clear message to countries such as Libya that they must abandon weapons programs. "In word and in action, we have clarified the choices left to potential adversaries". Bush added: "I hope other leaders will find an example" in Libya's action. [AP]
Saturday, 20 December, 2003: Libya has pledged to: Eliminate all elements of its chemical and nuclear weapons programs; Declare all nuclear activities to the IAEA; Eliminate ballistic missiles beyond 300 km range, with a payload of 500kg; Accept international inspections to ensure Libya's complete adherence to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, ... ; Eliminate all chemical weapons stocks and munitions, and accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention; Allow immediate inspections and monitoring to verify all of these actions. As President Bush said today, Libya must also fully engage in the war against terror. [The White House]
Saturday, 20 December, 2003: Colonel Qadhafi's pledge to destroy Libya's weapons of mass destruction would bring his country "out of the doldrums", a defence expert said today. Defence analyst Paul Beaver said the Libyan leader had realised the West held the key for his country's development. "There is absolutely no doubt what he wanted to see happen was the rehabilitation of Libya. "His country desperately needs the support of the West. "Rather than have threats to his country – he has relatively small amounts of chemical weapons and war heads – he saw this as an opportunity to come and dismantle them and join the rest of the world." [PA]
The Journal Of Libyan Studies: The Final Issue

Friday, 19 December, 2003: His crimes were among the worse of the last century. Saddam Hussein's record of brutality certainly places him among the top tier of the world's contemporary tyrants and genocidal murderers. To his fellow despots in Syria, Libya, Pakistan, and Iran, Saddam's new invocation should be clear and to the point: Tyranny in the service of Arab nationalism or Islamic radicalism is destructive and ultimately self-defeating. Pluralism and respect for minorities must be the cornerstone of a new Middle East. [NRO]
Friday, 19 December, 2003: Scotland's most senior law officer launched an appeal against the minimum 27-year jail sentence imposed on the Libyan agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, saying it was "unduly lenient". Colin Boyd will argue that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo) deserves to serve a longer sentence than the one he was given, which amounted to little more than a month for each of his 270 victims. Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP, said yesterday he did not support the Lord Advocate's decision to appeal. "I fervently believe that Mr Megrahi is innocent," Dalyell said. [Independent]
Friday, 19 December, 2003: Britain today signed a cultural agreement with Libya as part of efforts to boost links with the former pariah state. One project will see ex-Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim touring Libya, while gangster film Ordinary Decent Criminals, set in Dublin, is due to be shown in a film festival there. The agreement aims at other improvements in relations, such as setting up cultural centres in each other's capitals; direct teaching of English; provision of British exams; and a placement service for Libyans wishing to access British higher education. Thousands of Libyan students apply annually for study places in the UK funded by their government, with huge increases in their numbers expected following the agreement. [PA News]
Friday, 19 December, 2003: The head of Italy's highest sports authority has criticized the reported bid by Perugia to sign German soccer star Birgit Prinz and make her the first female player in the top men's league. "Good sense" is needed to avoid "initiatives which can harm the sport," the Italian Olympic Committee President said . Perugia president Gaucci signed Saadi al-Qadhafi, son of the Libyan leader. Saadi had never before played in a league outside Libya and has not played a single minute with Perugia, is currently suspended for a doping offense. [AP]
Friday, 19 December, 2003: Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had a 15-minute phone call with U.S. President George Bush. According to Brazilian officials, the call was made at Bush's initiative to congratulate Lula on his first year of government. It was not revealed whether Lula repeated the call he made during his recent trip to some Arab countries for US troops to be removed from Iraq. We also do not know if Lula passed on any message from his self-declared friend, Libya's murderous Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [Brazzil.Com]
Friday, 19 December, 2003: Inspectors from world football's governing body Fifa have wrapped up a five-day visit to Tunisia to assess the nation's capability to host the 2010 World Cup finals. Following their tour of eight venues across Tunisia, World Cup inspection head Jan Peeters said his team had treated Tunisia as single bidders. The Belgian added that the inspection team will also treat Libya, with whom the Tunisians hope to present a joint bid, as an individual case. [BBC]
Friday, 19 December, 2003: A major annual survey of freedom and democracy around the world says liberty made strides last year despite setbacks due to the global war on terrorism. The survey by Freedom House, a U.S. human rights group evaluated countries based on a checklist of civil liberties and political rights. North Korea, Turkmenistan, China, and Saudi Arabia topped the survey's list of the world's 13 most repressed societies. Also considered not free are Afghanistan, Burma, the Russian republic of Chechnya, Syria, Sudan, and Libya. [RFE/RL]
Friday, 19 December, 2003: Iran's formal agreement to allow UN inspections of its nuclear facilities marks a welcome advance for global non-proliferation efforts. Britain, France and Germany, whose foreign ministers facilitated the agreement, must honour their pledge to help Iran acquire technology to develop its civilian nuclear energy programme. Washington, meanwhile, must cool its rhetoric. John Bolton, who rides shotgun for US arms control policy, has again threatened Iran, N. Korea, Syria, Libya and Cuba with "adverse consequences", if they covertly pursue WMD. This kind of talk is not helpful in a wider, international context. [The Guardian]

Thursday, 18 December, 2003: Efforts to revive a five-nation North African union that wants to set up a free trade zone is on the brink of collapse because of a dispute over Western Sahara, diplomatic sources said. Algerian President Bouteflika offered at a European-Maghreb summit earlier this month to host the first meeting of heads of state of the Union since 1994. The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) makes up Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. [Reuters]
Thursday, 18 December, 2003: Bashir El-Beshti of Winston-Salem, N.C., like people around the world yesterday, pondered the meaning of the capture of Saddam Hussein. "It could be taken as a beginning," said El-Beshti, an English professor at Wake Forest University who grew up Muslim in Libya. "I can just imagine for the Iraqi people, after 30 years of this dictator's rule ... watching this man be checked for lice and looking like some mountain hobo. It's unbelievable." [WSJ]
Thursday, 18 December, 2003: New Libyan airline Afriqiyah Airways is to start regular twice-weekly flights in January between its base in Tripoli and Geneva, Geneva's Cointrin airport said on Wednesday. Geneva will be the third European destination for Afriqiyah, which was founded in 2001 and currently flies to Paris five times a week and to Brussels three times a week. [Reuters]
Thursday, 18 December, 2003: Officials from northern and western Africa gathered in Tunisia on Monday for a workshop on money laundering and terror financing. Countries participating in the four-day conference were Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal. The workshop was organized by the International Monetary Fund, the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and Tunisia's central bank. [AP]
Thursday, 18 December, 2003: Libyan Dinar per: $US 1.3440, Euro 1.65599, Pound 2.35583, Japanese Yen 79.97024, Swiss Franc 1.06667, Year High 1.42950, Year Low 1.19320. [Zawya]

LLHR: Course Of Legal Proceedings In The Case Of Al-Kikhia's Disappearance

Wednesday, 17 December, 2003: Authoritarian Arab governments will have to "learn lessons" from the startling video footage of the humiliating capture of once feared Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, analysts said today. "Saddam Hussein's removal supports calls by the U.S. and Europe to democratise the Arab world, the last region of the world to resist the wave of democratisation that our people demand", Egyptian-American democracy activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim said. Ibrahim pointed out that "Morocco, Oman and Bahrain reacted positively to the American messages or pressure for democracy" as they enjoyed advantages many other Arab countries did not have. These countries are governed by kings "who feel more confident with their popular constituencies than republican regimes like Tunisia, Egypt or Libya", he said. [The Australian]
Wednesday, 17 December, 2003: Brunei Darussalam is ranked number three in the world as a country that recorded one of the lowest mortality rates in 2003 where an estimated 3.4 people died per 1,000 population, the World Fact 2003 stated in its latest release. Kuwait is number 1 with 2.5 deaths out of 1,000. Jordan is second with 2.6 deaths per 1,000, third Brunei and fourth Libya (3.5 per 1,000). Botswana is the world's top recorder of death in 2003 with an estimated 31 deaths per 1,000 population. In fact many countries in the African continent shared the worst records with the exception of Libya (3.5 per 1,000) and Egypt (5.35 per 1,000). [BruneiDirect]
Wednesday, 17 December, 2003: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy will leave for Libya on Friday, and meet with the six Bulgarian defendants in the HIV infection trial. Passy is also scheduled to hold talks with his Libyan counterpart Abdelrahman Shalgam. This case became an issue that also concerns the EU, Passy has said ahead of his visit in Libya. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 17 December, 2003: A Libyan man told the court in Malta yesterday how a fellow countryman stabbed him in the head with a knife because he tried to end a fight. Emad Mohammed Mowal told the court that on 11 December he tried to break up a fight between Libyan nationals in Mosta when Faiz Omar Elsallak stabbed him in the head. Mr Mowal was testifying against Elsallak, 34, from Libya who is accused of seriously injuring him. Mr Elsallak is also accused of having an unlicensed weapon in his possession during the commission of a crime, breaching the peace and relapsing in view of previous convictions. [Independent]
Wednesday, 17 December, 2003: The Libyan Ambassador to Uganda, Abdallah Buljedian, has assured Muslims that nothing will stop the Libyan government from completing the Old Kampala National Mosque. "We want to assure you that we shall finance the construction of this mosque and nothing will stand in our way," Buljedian said. He was addressing guests at a dinner hosted to welcome the new director of the World Islamic Call Society, Shaban Jawadi. [New Vision]
Wednesday, 17 December, 2003: Zimbabwean Lands Minister Joseph Made said on Monday that he would seek discussions soon with his Libyan counterpart to explore the broad agriculture needs of Zimbabwe. Speaking at a ceremony to receive 6,000 tons of maize grain donated by the Libyan government, Made said :"very shortly, I will seek discussions with my counterpart to look at our broad agriculture needs namely farm equipment and machinery, fertilizer and chemicals as well as irrigation development and horticulture infrastructure development". [Xinhua]


Tuesday, 16 December, 2003: "That was a surprise to me, he [Saddam Hussein] always said he will always fight to the death and never be taken alive," said Mohamed Bugaighis, former president of the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley. "But I shouldn't be surprised, tyrants are all cowards." Bugaighis, who was born in Libya, said Saddam's capture puts other dictators in the Middle East on notice. Bugaighis added that he hopes Saddam's capture will expedite the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. [The Express Times]
Tuesday, 16 December, 2003: Only three of the six Bulgarian medics that are accused of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV stood before the Criminal Court in Benghazi on Monday, Bulgaria's envoy to Libya Zdravko Velev said. The other three medics did not appear in court because of illness, he explained. The lawyers of the Bulgarian defendants were not present at the hearing that lasted 40 minutes. Bulgaria's Consul to Benghazi Veselin Pavlov and the Adviser at the consulate Rumen Petrov attended the court session. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 16 December, 2003: Libya yesterday donated 6 000 tonnes of white maize worth $1,5 billion to Zimbabwe. The maize, which translates into 120 000 50kg bags, was handed over to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Cde Joseph Made, by Libyan ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mahmed Azzabi in Harare. [The Herald]

LLHR: Press Conference On The 10th Anniversary Of Al-Kikhia's Disappearance

Monday, 15 December, 2003: Speaking at the Common Terms VII conference organized by the Imam Musa Sadr Center for Studies, the dean of the Lebanese University's Faculty of Law, Fayez Shahine, said that Sadr's friends, relatives and supporters deserved an investigation that "aimed to reveal the truth about the disappearance". Sadr visited Libya to meet with Libyan leader Qadhafi in 1978, and subsequently disappeared along with his two companions. [The Daily Star]
Monday, 15 December, 2003: In total disgust with rampant corruption in society, the Libya daily Al-Zahf al-Akhdar has called for "the implementation of decisions by the People's Congresses ... to sue any form of abuse, including financial and administrative corruption". [PANA]
Monday, 15 December, 2003: Libya has granted Chad $1.7 million to ensure food security in some regions of the country, the Libyan embassy in N'djamena has said. [PANA]
Monday, 15 December, 2003: Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Younes said Egypt and Libya agreed to form a joint investment company to produce electricity cables. [Al-alam al-Youm]

Sunday, 14 December, 2003: A document discovered by Iraq's interim government details a meeting between the man behind the Sept. 11 attacks [Mohammed Atta] and Abu Nidal, the Palestinian terrorist, at his Baghdad camp ... The second item contains a report of how Iraqi intelligence, helped by "a small team from the al-Qaeda", arranged for an (unspecified) shipment from Niger to reach Baghdad by way of Libya and Syria. Iraqi officials believe this is a reference to the controversial shipments of uranium ore Iraq acquired from Niger. [The Telegraph]
Sunday, 14 December, 2003: After more than three decades of capricious, iron rule by Qadhafi (photo), people are afraid to speak with journalists or human rights groups. Allegations of disappearances and killings continue, along with suspicions that Libya is trying to obtain WMD ... Libyan leaders say U.S. officials have pledged quietly to try to persuade Congress to lift sanctions. If true, that's a sharp contrast to what they say in public. The sanctions won't budge, U.S. officials say. And Qadhafi has flirted with the West before, only to lose his temper and storm back into isolation. [Los Angeles Times]
Sunday, 14 December, 2003: Robert Aventajado, former Philippines government negotiator, blamed Libya's former ambassador in Manila for the missing $15 million of the reported $25 million that was paid to the Abu Sayyaf Group for the release of 21 people in 2000, Gulf News reported Saturday. At the launch of Aventajado's book 140 days of Terror, he said Libyan negotiators Rajjab Azzarouq (photo) and Ismail al-Qadhafi of the Qadhafi Foundation said they received $25 million. "I did not count the money but I was given word that there was $25 million ransom money," said Aventajado. [ABS-CBN]
Sunday, 14 December, 2003: No peace treaty will bring stability to the Middle East in the shadow of an Arab-Israeli arms race spurred by the Jewish state's suspected nuclear arsenal, according to Mohammed al-Baradei, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief ... Baradei said most of the agency's information comes from cooperation with intelligence services ... And based on the information in his possession, neither Syria nor Libya are engaged in illicit weapons programs, as claimed by Israel and the United States. [Al-Jazeerah]
Sunday, 14 December, 2003: The Jordanian capital Amman will host next year's four-day Arab Energy Conference starting on May 14, the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) said here yesterday. OAPEC is made up of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the UAE. [Gulf Daily News]
Sunday, 14 December, 2003: The Head of Religious Affairs of the Islamic Call Society, Mustafa Abubakar bin Lagha, paid a courtesy call on the Maldives' President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on Thursday. Bin Lagha was attending a seminar on "The Past, Present and Future Roles of Women in the Maldivian Society", which was hosted jointly by the Islamic Call Society of Libya and the government of the Maldives. The seminar was held from 8 to 10 December. [Haveeru Daily]

Saturday, 13 December, 2003: African countries need to spend more on education. They need to show more determination and commitment to win the war against illiteracy. Incidentally, only small and less endowed countries are doing well in the struggle against illiteracy. For example, Mauritius which is less than 20 million people is having a literacy rate of 85 per cent. On the other hand Nigeria has literacy rate of about 65 per cent despite her oil wealth. Some countries are close to UNESCO suggestion of 26 per cent of budgetary allocation to education. Mauritius, Gambia, Gabon, Libya and Egypt are doing well relatively in funding of education. [Vanguard]
Saturday, 13 December, 2003: The U.S. intelligence community has launched a reassessment of the weapons of mass destruction programs in the Middle East. U.S. officials said the review was prompted by a determination that the CIA and other intelligence agencies sustained a serious lapse of information on Iraqi WMD before and during the war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. The New York Times has reported that the review has determined that Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Israel have chemical and biological weapons. The newspaper said Libya, Sudan and Syria are suspected of having ... biological and chemical weapons research programs. [MENL]
Saturday, 13 December, 2003: Oil ministers of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) arrived in Cairo to take part in the body's 17th meeting due to open on Saturday. Talking about the meeting, Egyptian Minister of Oil Sameh Fahmi underlined that joint Arab ventures lead priorities of his ministry. Fahmi reviewed successful projects reflecting Arab cooperation, citing a number of projects, including a pipeline between Egypt and Libya to export Egyptian natural gas and another pipeline to pump oil from Libya to Egyptian refineries. [Xinhua]

Friday, 12 December, 2003: Reports from Libya confirm that a nation-wide trend is perceptible in the population towards Islamic revivalism. So far the manifestation is in the form of a greater conformity to the Islamic dress code and a rising attendance at services at the mosque. The key question is whether the fundamentalist trend will remain confined to small numbers or it will develop as a fully-fledged Islamist tendency that would not be in the interests of the Qadhafi regime and could be profoundly destabilising of the regime as a whole. In practice, the Islamists increasingly classify the Libyan regime as un-Islamic and it is likely that their definition will set the stage for friction with Colonel Qadhafi in the medium term future. [MENAS]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: A symptom of the uneasy relations between the Qadhafi clan and those it rules is the alienation of the regions and provincial cities. The regime has deliberately isolated itself from the Benghazi area in eastern Libya, offering limited budgets to it and steering state-sponsored activities elsewhere. Many merchant families have re-located from Benghazi to other centres as a result of the deteriorating performance of the local economy. [MENAS]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: In the well-known dissident communities of Beni Ulid in western Libya and Dernah in the east, there is a simmering antipathy to the [Qadhafi] regime that erupts in small-scale violence from time to time. Less publicised is the situation in Misrata, some 200 km east of Tripoli, where dissidence flourishes albeit through individuals rather than via organised groups. This area, containing more than half a million people principally in the Misrata metropolitan area, lies adjacent to Sirte province, the home base of the Qadhafis. [MENAS]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: The U.S. government needs to publicly explain why the missile shipment on a vessel intercepted a year ago on the high seas by the Spanish navy ended up in Libya, a spokesman from Spain's Defence Ministry told IPS Tuesday. The official was referring to declarations by sources from NATO to the Madrid daily 'El Mundo' that claim 15 complete Scud missiles, a set of conventional warheads and 85 containers of chemical products -- some 20 holding nitric acid -- were ultimately delivered to Libya under a Washington decision. [IPS]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: The episode of the missile shipment on a vessel intercepted a year ago by the Spanish navy that ended up in Libya began Dec. 5, 2002, when U.S. intelligence services informed Madrid about the route of the freighter named So San, suspected of trafficking weapons and at the time crossing a zone under Spain's authority in the Indian Ocean. Four days later, a Spanish frigate and warship intercepted the So San after ordering the captain to halt and firing warning shots. The vessel was found to be under a Cambodian flag. [IPS]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: Yemen denied a news report claiming that it had delivered a shipment of North Korean Scud missiles to Libya, an official statement said, quoted by Yemen's official news agency. "Such reports are fabricated and baseless. That shipment of weapons belongs to the Yemeni armed forces. It is in their possession and not for any other party," the statement said. The Spanish 'El Mundo' newspaper said Tuesday that the United States allowed North Korea to deliver a shipment of Scud missiles to Libya. [Arab News]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: Two Libyans were sentenced to one year in jail apiece by an Egyptian court for attempting to assault Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal. Mahmud Al-Beshir and Fathi Beshir tried to assault Al-Faisal in the lobby of a Cairo hotel in September, as the top Saudi diplomat was taking part in an Arab foreign ministers meeting. [Arab News]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: A Libyan group will build three hotels in Algeria for $321 million, an Algerian newspaper reported. Two tower hotels will cost $150 million to build in Algiers, said Omar Abou Sherida, director general of the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (Lafico), according to government-backed daily El Moujahid. Construction will begin next week. The third hotel will be built on the outskirts of the capital on the Mediterranean coast. [Reuters]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: The Punjab University (PU) Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB) arranged a three-day international symposium and training workshop on stem cells that concluded in Lahore, Pakistan, on Wednesday. Scientists from Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Syria and Pakistan attended the workshop. [Daily Times]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: Libya and South Africa, who are among the candidates seeking to host the 2010 World Cup, have also announced their intention to bid to stage the 2008 African Cup. The two countries, as well as Ghana, are the only three to submit bids before the deadline at the end of last month, the Confederation of African Football said on Thursday. [Reuters]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: Libya should launch a new round of oil exploration and development licensing in the first quarter of next year, a senior official with the national oil company said on Tuesday. Tarek Hassan-Beck, director of planning at Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC), said Libya needed to bring in foreign investment to develop its oil potential, much of which has been under-exploited because of U.S. and now-lifted U.N. sanctions. Libya is now producing 1.4 million barrels of oil per day, according to trading sources. [Reuters]
Friday, 12 December, 2003: A Libyan daily, Al-Shams said Thursday that the Gulf War was already playing into America's election agenda, concluding that the Iraqis "will decide the future President of the United States." In an editorial, the paper said anti-tank RPGs developed in the 70s brought down sophisticated US helicopters. [PANA]

Thursday, 11 December, 2003: The last of a series of immigration restrictions imposed on Libyan nationals has been lifted. Before this month, Libyans coming to the UK for any reason other than marriage were allowed to stay only six months. Now the limit has been scrapped, meaning they will be treated in the same way as nationals of any country who require a visa to come here. The move reflects the improved relations between Britain and Libya since an agreement was reached over compensation for victims of the Lockerbie bombing. [The Scotsman]
Thursday, 11 December, 2003: Brazil's president Wednesday wrapped up his tour of the Middle East with a final meeting with Libya's leader. Lula da Silva and Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi reportedly discussed improving trade relations now that U.N. trade sanctions against Libya have been lifted. Brazil has expressed interest in Libya's vast oil reserves, the eighth largest in the world. [UPI]
Thursday, 11 December, 2003: Tunisia and Libya seem determined to pursue a joint bid to host the 2010 World Cup finals, despite Fifa's objection to the plan. Football's world governing body made its opposition to the co-hosting proposal known last Thursday after a meeting of Fifa's executive committee in Germany. Yet the two north African nations have cited statutes in accordance with both Fifa and the United Nations in an attempt to pursue their case. [BBC]
Thursday, 11 December, 2003: The EU announced that it has struck a deal with Syria on developing political and trade ties, extending Brussels' policy of constructive engagement with countries dubbed "rogue states" by the US. The EU has backed a policy of engagement with Iran, Libya and Syria to address human rights, non-proliferation and terrorism issues. [EuObserver]
Thursday, 11 December, 2003: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy and his Libyan counterpart Abdelrahman Shalgam discussed on Tuesday the latest development of the case against the six Bulgarian medics accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. On Monday the Criminal Court in Benghazi ruled a new expert study on all materials relevant to the trial. That was the Court's eighth hearing. It has been continuously postponed ever since the medics were first arrested more than six years ago. [Novinite]
Thursday, 11 December, 2003: Reporters Without Borders was told it was being banned from the 10-12 December Internet governance summit in Geneva. This grotesque decision followed the organisation's suspension for a year from the UN Commission on Human Rights because it condemned the absurd choice of a Libyan representative as the commission's chairperson. Bureaucrats don't like free speech -- or, as the choice of Libya indicates, human rights in general. Free and open international communication is an enormous threat to bureaucracies, both national and transnational, that owe much of their power to their ability to keep people in the dark about what they're doing, and to pretend that voices criticizing their policies don't exist. [TCS]
Thursday, 11 December, 2003: Six Malaysian officers will arrive Monday to monitor the cease-fire between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Around 30 more observers from Libya and Brunei are arriving to join the team. [The Manila Times]

Mansour al-Kikhia Foundation's Letter To World Organizations

Amnesty International; Libya: Time To Break The Silence On Mansour Al-kikhiya

Lajnat al-Methaq's Letter To The President Of FIFA

Wednesday, 10 December, 2003: After the recent suicide attacks in Turkey, the U.S. has asked the Government of Pakistan to add names of 15 more people to the consolidated list of people and entities belonging to Taliban and al-Qaeda. The government had been provided with the list endorsed by the U.N. and asked to freeze the assets of the people included in it, seal their offices and prevent their entry or transit. Among the 15 people to be added in the list are Al-Ayashi Al-Sami (Egypt), Al-Saadi Furgh Hassan (Libya), ... and Nauriddin Drissi (Tunisia). [Hi Pakistan]
Wednesday, 10 December, 2003: Germany, Libya and the Philippines paid US$ 11 million (S$18.8 million) in ransoms to Abu Sayyaf guerrillas who kidnapped a group of western tourists in Malaysia in April 2000, the Filipino official who won their freedom has claimed. Roberto Aventajado, an aide to then Filipino president Joseph Estrada, recounted controversial details of the hostage drama in his book, "140 Days of Terror". Aventajado claimed a former Libyan ambassador to Manila, Rajab Azzarouq (photo), brought about 25 million dollars into the Philippines to buy the freedom of the Sipadan 21. [CNA]
Wednesday, 10 December, 2003: Libya's al-Qadhafi foundation has slammed the killing of nine children during a US air attack in south-east Afghanistan, promising to adopt their families and seek compensation. Saif al-Islam (photo), the son of Libyan leader Qadhafi who runs the foundation, issued the statement on Tuesday. The foundation will "assign lawyers to the families to make a case against those responsible for the operations and compensate their families," according to the statement. [Al-Jazeera]
Wednesday, 10 December, 2003: "We will take every step needed for speeding up the hearing of the case against the six Bulgarian medics in Libya," Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said Tuesday. His statement came a day after Criminal Court in the Libyan town of Benghazi ruled a new expert study on all materials relevant to the trial against the six Bulgarians, accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. The newly appointed team of 12 local doctors will have to prepare a complete report by December 29, which should give a definite answer on whether the HIV infection was deliberate or not. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 9 December, 2003: A human rights group is calling on Libya to explain the mysterious disappearance of a prominent activist. Amnesty International said it wants to put an end to the suffering of the wife and children of human rights activist Mansur al-Kikhiya (photo), who vanished 10 years ago in Egypt. Al-Kikhiya, a Libyan national, was last seen on 10 December 1993 in Cairo where he was attending an Arab human rights conference. He had worked in the Libyan government for a number of years but resigned from office in 1980 in protest at the execution of political opponents. [Al-Jazeera]
Tuesday, 9 December, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-adhafi (photo) called Monday for the establishment of a pan-African airline for the continent, in an opening speech at a congress of the African airlines association. "We must unite all Africa's capacities in air transport to ensure the development of air transportation in Africa," said Qadhafi, proposing the joint airline be owned by the African Union. He also proposed a fund to develop the region's air sector, pledging Libya would top the contributions. Forty-two airlines are taking part in the two-day Tripoli congress. [MEOL]
Tuesday, 9 December, 2003: Switzerland and Libya have agreed to boost economic ties between the two countries. On a visit to Bern, the Libyan foreign minister, Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo), signed an agreement to encourage investment. His Swiss counterpart, Micheline Calmy-Rey said they had agreed to cooperate on immigration issues. In October, Switzerland - which imports about a third of its oil from Libya - formally suspended sanctions against the north African state. [Swissinfo]
Tuesday, 9 December, 2003: Libya, which is threatening to withdraw from the Arab League, has reportedly cancelled at the last minute a meeting of Arab environment ministers due to take place in Benghazi. The two-day meeting of the league's environment ministers was set for Monday. But the Libyans "apologised at the last minute and told the Arab League they could not host the forum", an unnamed league source told AFP on Monday. The meeting was instead held at the organisation's headquarters in Cairo, but no Libyan representative took part. [AFP]

Monday, 8 December, 2003: Fears that the families of the Lockerbie bombing victims will never receive the full compensation settlement promised by Libya are premature. Following the lifting of the UN sanctions against Libya four months ago, almost a third of the 270 families have received an initial payment of £2.3 million from Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. But a further £3.5 million will only be paid to the families on the condition that the US lifts economic sanctions against Tripoli and removes Libya from its list of terrorist nations. Jim Kreindler, who helped to orchestrate the £1.85 billion Lockerbie settlement, said yesterday that constructive dialogue between the US and Libya in the coming months would most likely lead to a full compensation deal. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 8 December, 2003: What the North African countries [Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania and Libya] failed to achieve in terms of holding tractable regional summits, the European states succeeded in doing by sending nothing more than signs. It only took the invitation by the European partners during the 5+5 dialogue to get the North African leaders rushing to Tunis. This means that the North Africans view their partnership with Europe as more pressing and present than an inter-Arab dialogue, even if the power of negotiations of each Arab party is weaker when the dialogue is conducted with each country separately. [Al-Hayat]

Sunday, 7 December, 2003: Libyan leader Qadhafi could have used the "5+5" summit in Tunis to redeem himself on the international stage. But instead he mostly sulked, refusing to give an opening speech or even to clap after French President Chirac delivered closing remarks Saturday. The summit in Tunisia was an attempt to bridge the economic divide across the Mediterranean. Recently it had seemed as if Qadhafi was trying to get back in the West's good graces. So when he looked bored and sulked through the summit it didn't bode well for regional cooperation. [AP]
Sunday, 7 December, 2003: France warned Libya on Saturday that shedding its international pariah state reputation depended on Tripoli's agreement to a multi-million-dollar payout for victims of the bombing of a French airliner in 1989. President Chirac said failure "to meet commitments made at the highest level of the Libyan state" to compensate the victims' families would have "negative consequences on Libya's full return to the international community". Chirac made the warning at the end of a regional summit in Tunis also attended by Qadhafi. [Reuters]
Sunday, 7 December, 2003: Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Saturday that a thorny compensation issue for victims of a 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger was "being resolved", an official said. "This problem is being resolved. Libya has done what it ought to do in this regard," a Libyan delegation official quoted Qadhafi as saying at the end of a two-day "5+5" EU-Mediterranean summit in Tunis. Earlier Libyan officials said the compensation issue must not be allowed to block reconciliation between Tripoli and EU states. [AFP]
Sunday, 7 December, 2003: The Libyan delegation to the "5+5" summit preferred to highlight Tripoli's recent moves to open up its economy and develop tourism while shrugging off its frosty relations with the U.S. "Washington has its own strategy and policy. No one can change them. We are waiting for their initiatives," the Libyan officials said when asked about the possibility of a thawing of relations with the U.S. similar to that which is emerging in Europe. [AFP]
Sunday, 7 December, 2003: In a final statement, leaders of five European countries and five of their North African counterparts pledged to work together to fight illegal immigration, money laundering and drug and arms trafficking. They also condemned terrorism and pledged more economic cooperation. The summit gathered leaders from N. Africa - Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania and Libya - with leaders from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta. [AP]
Sunday, 7 December, 2003: The European Union is ready to work with Libya as long as its leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi resolves international disputes in a "thorough and fair manner," EU Commission President Romano Prodi said Friday. "One has to finish clearing up the past in a thorough and fair manner," Prodi said in a speech at the opening ceremony of the "5+5" summit. "Mr Colonel, my dear friend, Europe looks to you with hope, Europe extends its hand, and I am sure you will know how to accept it. We are ready," he told Qadhafi. [Reuters]
Sunday, 7 December, 2003: Speaking this week during the U.N. International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, the dean of the diplomatic corps, Abdullah Alzubedi, who is Libya's ambassador to South Africa, said: "Palestinians resisting occupation could not be characterised as terrorists," adding that the world knew how to distinguish between terrorism and resistance struggles, just as it viewed those who resisted Nazism favourably. [Weekend Argus]
Sunday, 7 December, 2003: European countries pledged on Saturday to help N. Africa overcome poverty and inequality to help crush the seeds of Islamic extremism. The leaders of 10 European and N. African states agreed at the "5+5" summit to boost cooperation between the wealthy West and the poorer south in a global war on terror. It called for strengthening security cooperation between the European Union -- represented by France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain -- and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). The AMU is made up of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, but has been largely ineffective due to regional rivalries. [Reuters]

Saturday, 6 December, 2003: The global war on terrorism must be backed up by a fight against poverty in North Africa, where crowded slums and grim prospects for employment breed Islamic extremism, leaders in the region have said. Their remarks came at the opening of an informal, two-day summit in Tunisia yesterday. North African leaders are hoping for more business ties with Europe to improve their economies, while leaders from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta are urging better cooperation on illegal immigration and terrorism. The African countries at the "5 + 5" summit are Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania and Libya. [The Scotsman]
Saturday, 6 December, 2003: Libyan leader Qadhafi, dressed in traditional garb and trademark hat, sat next to Tunisian president and (5+5) summit host Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. He was also just two seats away from French President Jacques Chirac. In front of the television cameras at least, Qadhafi and Chirac did not exchange a single word and Chirac instead directed his efforts at socialising towards the more forthcoming King Mohamed VI of Morocco. Qadhafi, who appeared totally bored by the proceedings, arrived in Tunis on Wednesday night after a two-day odyssey, having crossed the border to great acclaim at the frontier town of Ras Jedir. [AFP]
Saturday, 6 December, 2003: The Saddam and Osama of 1939 were two other crazy people, Hitler and Mussolini. At the time, there also were fervent defenders of nonconfrontation, arguing, 'Hitler only wants Czechoslovakia and the Sudetenland. Mussolini only wants Libya, Egypt and the Suez Canal. Hey ... Let's not upset the balance. Let 'em go.' By the time the world belatedly wrestled those two maniacs to the ground, 60 million people had died. [The Washington Times]
Saturday, 6 December, 2003: The American lawyer who orchestrated the £1.85 billion settlement for the relatives of the Lockerbie bombing has told The Scotsman that his huge contingency fee for handling the historic case is "value for money". Jim Kreindler, a leading New York aviation lawyer, revealed last night that his firm's personal share of the compensation settlement with Libya, which could ultimately exceed $200 million, was modest in comparison with what the families could have been forced to pay out in legal fees. [The Scotsman]

Friday, 5 December, 2003: French President Jacques Chirac urged Libya on Thursday to compensate families of the victims of the 1989 bombing of a French UTA plane, saying failure to do so would cast a shadow on relations. Chirac told a news conference during a visit to Tunisia that "if a solution is reached, that will be very good. If not we will be obliged to take into account the situation which we will consider one of a lack of good will" . [Reuters]
Friday, 5 December, 2003: A federal prosecutor was found stabbed to death in a Pennsylvania creek Thursday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Luna, 38, was discovered face-down in the water behind the parking lot of a well-drilling company in Lancaster County, Pa.. Other federal prosecutors have been the target of violence in the past. Federal prosecutor Larry Barcella was the target of a thwarted murder-for-hire scheme by ex-CIA agent Ed Wilson, whom Barcella had helped put behind bars for selling weapons and explosives to Libya. [AJC]
Friday, 5 December, 2003: Leaving aside, at least temporarily, differing interpretations of the host nation's human rights record, a two-day summit of 10 southern European and north African states will open in Tunis Friday amid hopes of cementing multilateral cooperation. Illegal immigration, responding to the threat from militant Islam and deepening trans-Mediterranean cooperation will top the agenda as leaders from Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco of the Arab Maghreb Union join France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain at the talks. [AFP]
Friday, 5 December, 2003: The Committee for the Defence of Libyan citizen Abdelbasset Al-Magrahi, sentenced to life over the Lockerbie Affair, has expressed surprise at the Scottish High Court's decision to extend his detention period without parole to 27 years from the 20 years ruled by the Camp Zeist Court, at the Hague that sentenced the Libyan last year. [PANA]

Thursday, 4 December, 2003: French President Jacques Chirac voiced optimism on Wednesday that Libya would finally agree to a payout deal and compensate victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner. Libyan officials negotiating with representatives of victims' families walked out of talks in Paris on Tuesday and returned home, the families' representatives said in the French capital. "I support the French side. I think the two sides will reach a deal," Chirac told a news conference in Tunis at the start of a two-day state visit to the former French colony. [Reuters]
Thursday, 4 December, 2003: Several OPEC oil ministers argued that OPEC should keep its current output ceiling for now. Libya's representative to OPEC, Abdulhafid al-Zlitni, maintained that the recovery in the world economy would stimulate demand for oil and said there was now no excess crude in the market. "As it looks, I don't think there is need for a change," al-Zlitni said Tuesday. Oil ministers from Venezuela and Algeria echoed this sentiment Wednesday, and their Iranian counterpart took a similar view in Tehran during the weekend. [AP]
Thursday, 4 December, 2003: Opec yesterday said it was seeking to defend higher oil prices to compensate for the impact on the members' purchasing power of the US dollar's decline on currency markets. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said prices, now at $31 a barrel for US crude, were justified by the dollar's slump against other major currencies. "The fact that the dollar has dropped justifies the current price even if the price goes above the band," said Abdulhafidh al-Zlitni, the head of Libya's Opec delegation. [Gulf Daily News]
Thursday, 4 December, 2003: The EU delivered a stern warning to Israel, declaring that its security barrier "must not invade" Palestinian territory, at the conclusion of a two-day EU-Mediterranean summit. The deadlocked Middle East peace process dominated the two days of discussions in Naples, Italy, which drew together the 25 current and future EU members and the 12 states in the Mediterranean Partnership. Libya participated as an observer. [AFP]
Wednesday, 3 December, 2003: A high-ranking US official on Tuesday directly warned five countries that pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will bring "adverse consequences" including seizures of illicit materials. "Rogue states such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya and Cuba, whose pursuit of weapons of mass destruction makes them hostile to US interests, will learn that their covert programmes will not escape either detection or consequences," said John Bolton, US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. [Khaleej Times]
Wednesday, 3 December, 2003: France said Libya had made commitments on compensating victims of the 1989 bombing of a French UTA plane, but that the two states were not due to hold separate talks on the issue at a 10-nation summit this week. Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and French President Jacques Chirac are to come face-to-face this week at a "5+5" summit in Tunis, weeks after talks for increased compensation came to a halt. "There are commitments which have been made at the highest level of the Libyan state," Catherine Colonna, spokeswoman for the French president, told reporters ahead of Chirac's visit to Tunisia. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 3 December, 2003: The insurgents who are hitting coalition forces in Iraq are not terrorists and the bombing of an Italian base last month was a justified act of self-defence, one of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's sons told an Italian newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday. "The Iraqis are fighting, they are not terrorists," said Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, a son of the Libyan leader who heads the Qadhafi Foundation, in the interview with the daily Corriere della Sera. "They are terrorizing the Americans, but that is because the Americans and you Europeans are occupying the country." "They have the right to defend themselves," he said. [MEOL]
Wednesday, 3 December, 2003: Libya wants Europe to come up with solutions to the problem of illegal immigration, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam said on Monday ahead of a Tunis summit of leaders from North African and southern Europe. "We are not ready to become border guards". "We are victims of this immigration," Shalgam said, pointing to Libya's long sea borders facing southern Europe. "Europe must present practical solutions by launching investment projects to keep the potential illegal immigrants in their own countries," he said. [MEOL]
Wednesday, 3 December, 2003: Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas is defying calls for his resignation after a damning report by lawmakers called him "a threat to national security" because of his alleged ties to Russian mobsters and secret services. Pressure is growing on Paksas to quit after yesterday's release of the report. The report concluded that Borisov is also involved in organized crime and illegal arms sales to Sudan and Libya. [The Star]

Tuesday, 2 December, 2003: The Gambian envoy to Libya has been expelled from Tripoli, three months after he was caught smuggling gold through airport customs, sources revealed to The Independent last week. According to reliable information from individuals connected to the Libyan mission in Banjul Mohammed Jammeh was expelled recently after the Libyan authorities found him wanting over an incident at Tripoli International Airport in which he was caught "red handed" smuggling some bars of gold [30,253.38 kilograms] into Libya. [The Independent]
Tuesday, 2 December, 2003: EU foreign ministers meet their Mediterranean rim counterparts for two days of talks on strengthening economic and political cooperation. With Israeli and Palestinian ministers around the same table in Naples, Italy, the stalled Middle East peace process looms large over the proceedings. Arab League chief Amr Mussa declared Monday he was boycotting the meeting because of what was termed the pro-Israeli position taken by host Italy. With countries like Morocco, Libya and Tunisia present, ministers are expected to discuss rampant illegal migration, to which Italy has proved particularly vulnerable. [AFP]
Tuesday, 2 December, 2003: Italian and Libyan ministers met Monday and called for improved security along their borders to prevent terrorists and organized crime groups from reaping the benefits of illegal immigration. Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu hosted the Libyan minister for justice and security, Mohammed al-Mesrati, five months after he traveled to Libya to sign an accord aimed at stemming the flow of illegal immigrants heading from Libya toward Italy. [AP]
Tuesday, 2 December, 2003: Mohamed Ould Haidalla, who lost last month's disputed elections to the incumbent president, pleaded not guilty to plotting with a foreign power to drag the country into war. The court president read out charges against Haidalla that said he was accused of attempting to destroy or to change the constitutional regime, committing acts that would drag Mauritania into war and conspiring with a "foreign power". The court did not say which foreign power was involved. Judicial sources said the country in question was Libya. [Reuters]
Monday, 1 December, 2003: Libya awarded a $102.2 million oil and gas exploration contract to a consortium of three companies from Australia, Spain and Greece, the official JANA news agency reported Sunday. The accord was signed at the headquarters of the state-owned National Oil Company and attended by the Australian, Spanish and Greek ambassadors to Libya. Under the agreement, the consortium will search for oil and gas in six blocks in Marzouq and Sirt. The agency said the consortium is made up of the Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF, Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd., and a Greek firm identified by JANA only as Hellenic. [AP]
Monday, 1 December, 2003: Libya denies giving $1 million to detained former Mauritanian president Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, accused of plotting a coup in his west African state. "Libya denies this accusation," foreign ministry official Hassuna al-Shawesh says. "The accusation is baseless," he added. Ould Haidallah, who failed to get re-elected in presidential elections on November 7, has been accused of accepting $1 million from Libya. [AFP]

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