News and Views [ July 2003 ]

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Thursday, 31 July, 2003: The OPEC oil cartel is unlikey to change its official production ceiling in the third quarter, Libya's Oil Minister Abdulhafidh al-Zlitni (photo) said. "Personally I don't see any change in prices nor in quotas," he told reporters on arriving for a meeting with fellow ministers of the OPEC on Thursday. With OPEC's basket price of crudes inside its target range of 22 to 28 dollar per barrel, ministers from the 11-nation cartel have all but ruled out a change in production levels at today's meeting. [AFP]
Thursday, 31 July, 2003: Foday Sankoh, the former leader of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel movement, has died in custody while awaiting trial for atrocities committed during Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war. Sankoh, a former corporal in the Sierra Leone army, received help from Libya to set up the RUF in the late 1980s. [UN-IRIN]
Thursday, 31 July, 2003: A meeting was held at the revolutionary committees bureau to prepare for the meeting of [Libya's] delegates in international and regional organisations. [JANA]
Thursday, 31 July, 2003: The Libyan Deputy Minister for Security, Mr M. Mohane, has called for cooperation between Ghana and Libya to fight the upsurge of organized and cross-border crime. Mr Mohane made the call at a meeting with the Deputy Minister for the Interior, Mr T. Broni in Accra. He said criminals were using the highest forms of technology to set up institutions for money laundering, drug trafficking and other high level criminal activities. [Accra Mail]

Wednesday, 30 July, 2003: In yet another example of its growing international uselessness, the UN has voted to suspend for one year the consultant status of Reporters Without Borders. Some of the group's members protested the U.N. Human Rights Commission decision to award the agency's chairmanship to Qadhafi's Libya. The protesters were right to speak out, of course - few actions have underscored the world body's blatant hypocrisy as awarding chairmanship of its human rights commission to one of the world's worst violators of human rights. [New York Post]
Wednesday, 30 July, 2003: A deal under which Libya will pay millions of pounds to victims of the Lockerbie bombing is on course, despite anger over remarks by Libyan leader Qadhafi and his son. US relatives of the victims had written to US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, demanding that Washington should not tolerate a Libyan "game"; [but] Sources say the deal is still on track, and that money could be deposited into an escrow account as early as mid-August. [The Scotsman]
Wednesday, 30 July, 2003: Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Monday in Sirte, 450-km east of Tripoli, received the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, who delivered a message from President Hosni Mubarak, Libyan news agency, JANA reported. [PANA]
Wednesday, 30 July, 2003: A Libyan court in Benghazi, Libya, is very likely to take into consideration testimony of Italian Professor Vittorio Collizi in favour of the six Bulgarian medics in Libya, Liubomir Todorov, spokesman of Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. Earlier in July Collizi said he was ready to testify in favour of the Bulgarians who were accused of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV. The medics are now kept in separate building of a Benghazi prison and they are in touch with the Bulgarian mission in Libya. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 30 July, 2003: Libya has bought a hefty 80,000 tonnes of Eurograde gasoline from Italian refiners for delivery by August, helping strengthen the spot market in the Mediterranean, dealers said on Tuesday. They said the Libyan National Oil Company will get half the 95-ron material from Agip and the rest from ERG. "It's a spot deal for significant volumes, partly on the back of refinery maintenance," said a gasoline dealer. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 30 July, 2003: Mozambican President Chissano has appointed new Ambassadors to Libya, Uganda, and Malaysia. Artur Jossefa was appointed Ambassador to Libya, Marcos Namashula and Antonio Chirindza were appointed to Uganda and Malaysia. [AIM]
Tuesday, 29 July, 2003: Libyan officials have still not met a U.N. Security Council requirement that they accept responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the United States State Department said Monday. Spokesman Richard Boucher said the U.N. requirement was not met by a recent statement by Saif al-Islam, a son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, that Libya was prepared to accept responsibility even though the country was not implicated in the 1988 bombing. Boucher said: "There are no shortcuts. Bars are not being lowered..." Libya knows what it has to do, and that is meet the requirements of the U.N. resolution". [AP]

Monday, 28 July, 2003: Libya has notified the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it has accepted the obligations of Article VIII, Sections 2, 3, and 4 of the IMF Articles of Agreement. Libya joined the Fund in 1958. Its quota is about $1.564 billion. Libya has no outstanding use of IMF financing. By accepting the obligations of Article VIII, Libya gives confidence to the international community that it will pursue economic policies that will make restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions unnecessary, and will contribute to a multilateral payments system free of restrictions. [Mena Report]


Sunday, 27 July, 2003: Libyan Leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said yesterday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent him a message in which he stressed that the file of the Lockerbie issue "will be closed shortly," denying that Tripoli had agreed to shoulder civilian responsibility for the incident. In April, Libyan Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Abdelrahman Shalgam said that Tripoli agreed to claim "civilian responsibility for the acts of its citizens" and that Libya is ready to pay a sum of 2.7 billion dollars as a compensation for the families of the victims. [Arabic News]
Sunday, 27 July, 2003: The Lockerbie bomber attended the wedding of his daughter at a special ceremony behind bars. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo/left) wept as he watched his daughter tie the knot with her new husband. Megrahi watched the couple sign legal papers to allow them to wed. He was able to congratulate his new son-in-law. The celebrations took place last month in a private room close to Megrahi's cell complex, nicknamed 'The Qadhafi Cafe'. His wife Aisha (photo/right) and four younger children were also present. [Sunday Mail]
Saturday, 26 July, 2003: American and British troops in Iraq are finding new mass graves just about every day. In them are the remains of tens of thousands of Iraqi dissidents, bullet holes through their skulls. The United Nations did nothing to prevent these atrocities. But what can be expected of an organization with a Commission on Human Rights now chaired by Libya. [Star]
Saturday, 26 July, 2003: A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Lockerbie was raised in a letter sent by Blair in response to one from Qadhafi. "The Prime Minister hoped a resolution could be found in the near future," the spokeswoman said. [Reuters]
Saturday, 26 July, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi says a compensation deal for victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing will be closed very soon. In an interview with Sky TV on Friday, Qadhafi said there had been a resolution to the key question of responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Lawyers for Libya and the families of the Lockerbie victims said last month that Libya would give the UN Security Council a letter accepting responsibility for the bombing as part of a complex agreement to create a $2.67 billion compensation fund. [Reuters]
Saturday, 26 July, 2003: The United States slammed a UN decision to bar media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) from taking part in UN meetings for one year, calling the Cuban-backed move antithetical to the world body's stated values. The State Department said Thursday's vote in Geneva by the UN's Economic and Social Council was "ironic" given that it was punishment for RSF exercised its freedom of speech by protesting against Libya earlier this year at the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights. [AFP]
Saturday, 26 July, 2003: The Libyans who were recently in Zimbabwe to negotiate the stalled US$360 million fuel deal with Tamoil Trading Ltd have left the country with assurances that they will acquire a significant equity of the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) in Petrozim. Official sources said government had allowed the Libyans to buy 25% of Noczim's 50% equity in Petrozim. Sources said fuel from Libya was now on its way but that steady supplies would depend on Noczim's ability to pay US$5 million to Tamoil every month. [Zimbabwe Independent]
Saturday, 26 July, 2003: Sao Tome and Principe President Fradique de Menezes has received in his Favorita Residence the Libyan secretary for international affairs, Abdelrahaman Shalgam, who handed him a message of solidarity from Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [PANA]
Saturday, 26 July, 2003: Ugandans are divided about a possible return or burial in home soil for Idi Amin Dada, the former president responsible for a brutal regime where an estimated 400 000 people were killed or disappeared for ever. Amin, a Muslim, strengthened ties with Libya and other Arab nations while alienating the West. In 1979 Amin fled to Libya where he remained for 10 years before finding final asylum in Saudi Arabia. [Mail an Guardian]
Saturday, 26 July, 2003: American President Bush on Monday accused Iran and Syria of continuing to support terrorism and warned that the US may take action. Iran and Syria have been the subjects of increasing attacks by the Bush administration, which considers them state sponsors of terrorism. Iran was named by Mr Bush as part of an "axis of evil" which also included Iraq and North Korea. Syria was later added to the list by US officials, as were Libya and Cuba. [BBC]

Friday, 25 July, 2003: The Libyan government may join a core shareholders' pact at Capitalia, moving to strengthen its ties with corporate Italy, a Libyan board member of the Rome-based bank said on Thursday. Libya already holds stakes in several Italian companies including Fiat but it had not been part of Capitalia's pact. Asked about joining the pact that controls Italy's fourth-largest bank, board member Ahmed Menesi said: "We'll see". "We have good relations with Italy and with the Bank of Italy," said Menesi, an official at the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank. [Reuters]
Friday, 25 July, 2003: Lawyers acting for the relatives of the 270 people who died in the Lockerbie bombing are meeting Libyan representatives in London. But there are no guarantees that the issue of compensation would be finally resolved. Lawyer Jim Kreindler said he was certain the remaining technical issues would be settled "in the near future". [Sky News]
Friday, 25 July, 2003: Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been suspended from taking part in UN meetings for a year. The decision was in response to a highly visible protest the group staged in March over the appointment of Libya to chair the UN Human Rights Commission. RSF has published on its website a report detailing what it calls "the excesses, blunders and setbacks" of the UN rights commission. In the report, it describes the election of Libya to chair the commission as an "affront to human rights". [BBC]
Friday, 25 July, 2003: In the U.S., the House approved a $17.1 billion foreign aid bill including two new initiatives by President Bush to fight AIDS in Africa and poverty around the world. The legislation passed, 370-50, after the House rejected an attempt to add Saudi Arabia to five other nations that are ineligible for U.S. aid. Rep. Anthony Weiner argued that, like Cuba, Syria, Libya, N. Korea and Iran, Saudi Arabia has funded terrorists and fostered hatred of the West. [AP]
Friday, 25 July, 2003: The British government was prepared to build a "dodgy dossier" against the spiritual leader of the Arabs in Palestine during World War II, according to documents released yesterday. The plan was to discredit Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, by claiming he was in the pay of Italy. According to a telegram from December 1940, Sir Harold suggested a general broadcast announcing that Britain had recovered documents in Libya stating that the Mufti was taking money from the Italians to "raise trouble in Palestine". [The Scotsman]

Thursday, 24 July, 2003: Lawyers for the families of those killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing may not resolve issues on setting up an escrow account for a compensation fund when they meet Libyan representatives on Thursday, a lawyer involved in the talks said. Jim Kreindler told Reuters the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS) had some technical issues that it wanted to resolve and it was unclear whether BIS officials would attend the meeting. [Reuters]
Thursday, 24 July, 2003: A spokesman for the relatives of the Lockerbie bombing victims said tonight that any further delay in compensation for the families would cause more "pain, suffering and distress". A spokesman for the relatives David Ben-Aryeah said it was "frankly astounding" that the matter had still not been finalised. The families of the 270 people killed in the Lockerbie bombing are due to receive about £6 million each. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan national convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, is serving a life sentence. [PA News]
Thursday, 24 July, 2003: The Qadhafi Foundation, a charity headed by the son of Libyan leader Qadhafi, blasted the "murder" by US forces of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's two sons. "Killing anyone this way is an ugly act that cannot be welcomed in any modern society," said the foundation, headed by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi. "They could have been surrounded, captured or tried before a competent court." Uday and Qusay were killed in a showdown with a massively bigger US force in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul Tuesday. [AFP]
Thursday, 24 July, 2003: A Libyan daily, Al-Shams, called on African leaders to take their responsibility in order to put an end to military coups on the continent. [PANA]
Wednesday, 23 July, 2003: The European Union (EU) is preparing a second mission to visit Libya in August to follow up talks on joint cooperation to curb illegal immigration to Europe, sources close to the European Commission said Tuesday. [PANA]
Wednesday, 23 July, 2003: Iran's Ambassador Mohammad Menhaj conferred in Tripoli Tuesday with Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem. Ghanem told Menhaj that "under the current circumstances which both the friends and the enemy pay close attention to our deeds, it is necessary to coordinate and bring our nations and governments much closer". [IRNA]
Wednesday, 23 July, 2003: Israel will find itself in front of a Libyan 'judge' when it appears in the dock at the UN this week over alleged human rights abuses. The UN Human Rights Commission sits at the Palais Wilson, a location the UN website describes as "The House of Human Rights". But controversially, the chairwoman in charge of proceedings is a Libyan, Najat al-Hajjaji. One of her first actions was to launch a political speech against the US over Iraq. Then the Commission barred the non-governmental body, Reporters Without Borders, from attending its meetings as a punishment for criticising Libya's record on human rights. Reporters Without Borders said of al-Hajjaji: "Censorship, arbitrary detention, jailings, disappearances, torture; at last the UN has appointed someone who knows what she's talking about". [Scotland On sunday]
Wednesday, 23 July, 2003: What is the hottest place on Earth? Count one wrong if you guessed Death Valley in California, USA. But El-Aziziya in Libya recorded a temperature of 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.8 Celsius) on Sept. 13, 1922 -- the hottest ever measured. [Space]


Tuesday, 22 July, 2003: In his first interview with American television, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the eldest son of Libyan leader Qadhafi, talked to CNN anchor Judy Woodruff from London Monday. He said: "... I would like to send this message to the American people and the American government that we, the Libyan people, we want to have a more constructive and fruitful relationship with the Americans. We want to see Americans visit Libya. We want to go there to study at American universities. We want to invest in the New York Stock Exchange. We want to have Pepsi Cola, Coca-Cola. We don't want confrontation and aggression...". [CNN]
Tuesday, 22 July, 2003: Two Americans who spent nearly four months in a Libyan prison in 1980 can move forward with a lawsuit accusing the Libyan government of torture, a federal judge ruled Monday. At the same time, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth dismissed allegations that Roger Frey and Michael Price were taken hostage. Frey and Price were working for a Libyan company in 1980 when they were arrested and charged with "anti-revolutionary propaganda". [AP]
Tuesday, 22 July, 2003: A group of 73 Indians sent to Libya with the promise of jobs by a man posing as a travel agent used e-mail to inform Delhi Police about their plight and asked to be rescued. Following the e-mail, police arrested the fake travel agent and alerted the external affairs ministry to bring back the Indians stranded in Tripoli. In the e-mail, the 73 men wrote they were compelled to live in the "most unhygienic and pathetic conditions". [Hindustan Times]

Monday, 21 July, 2003: The Libyan government backs a return of US oil and other businesses to Libya as it seeks to improve ties with the United States, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said in remarks published Sunday. "We welcome the return of US businesses" to Libya, Ghanem said in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq Al-Awssat newspaper. US firms pulled out of Libya when then US president Ronald Reagan imposed sanctions in 1986 over charges of Tripoli's support for terrorism. Ghanem said that by imposing sanctions on Tripoli, the US had caused oil and other US firms to miss important opportunities in Libya. "We have reached an agreement with these companies... to return to Libya," he said, without elaborating. [AFP]
Monday, 21 July, 2003: Speaking about relations between Tripoli and Washington, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem told Al-Sharq Al-Awssat newspaper: "I think that we are moving towards a solution of outstanding problems and we welcome an improvement of relations with Washington." However, the Libyan premier also criticized "American policy towards Africans and the Middle East." "America understands neither the Arabs nor the Africans and this failure is due to the US using 'Israeli glasses' to deal with them, Ghanem said. Israel, he said, lies at the heart of problems between both sides. Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ghanem proposed a solution of "one single country for Palestine and Israel, like South Africa." [AFP]
Monday, 21 July, 2003: Idi Amin Dada, whose eight-year presidency of African nation Uganda is remembered by the torture and murder of more than 200,000 people, is in a critical condition and coma in a Saudi hospital. Amin, a Muslim, went into exile first in Libya, then Iraq and finally settled in Saudi Arabia on the condition that he stay out of politics. [AP]

Sunday, 20 July, 2003: A charity headed by a son of Libyan leader Qadhafi called Saturday for a government enquiry into suspicious deaths of prisoners in Libya's jails. In a statement released Saturday, the Qadhafi Foundation, led by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, called on the ministry of justice to investigate the reasons behind a number of suspicious deaths in the country's prisons. "Various Libyan prisoners have died in mysterious circumstances. It is necessary to clarify the cause of their deaths," the statement said, without detailing the dates of the deaths. The charity called on the ministry to "try the officials involved in these crimes and punish them", giving no indication as to the number, identity nor the political allegiance of the prisoners in question. [AFP]

Saturday, 19 July, 2003: The Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing was taken to hospital in Glasgow yesterday, after complaining of stomach pains, sources said. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo) was driven to the Royal Infirmary from Barlinnie prison, where he is serving a life sentence. Police sources confirmed the journey and said officers had escorted him. A spokeswoman for Glasgow Royal Infirmary said: "I can confirm that he was with us for tests and he left the Royal Infirmary today." [The Scotsman]
Saturday, 19 July, 2003: Having finally got Tripoli's approval for taking stakes in two oil blocks in Libya, India's ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has decided to go ahead with the exploration project. Under the deal, OVL is likely to invest in the exploration blocks and will drill the first exploration well within three months. Given the close ties between India and Libya, OVL hasn't had to pay any premium for getting a stake in these blocks. [The Financial Express]
Saturday, 19 July, 2003: Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., South Korea's largest contractor, said on Saturday it had won a $283 million order from the Libyan government to sharply expand a thermal power plant. Hyundai said it would install two additional steam turbines and four heat recovery steam generators to expand capacity at a power plant located in al-Zawia, some 50 km west of Tripoli, by nearly a half to 960 megawatts from 660 megawatts. [Reuters]
Saturday, 19 July, 2003: Italy's coast guard intercepted a boat crammed with 180 migrants off this tiny island south of Sicily on Friday, another attempt by an ongoing stream of immigrants to make it to the European Union. Police said the boat probably set off from Libya. Many of the thousands of illegal immigrants who try to slip into Italy each year are believed to have embarked from Libya after voyages often involving several countries. [AP]
Saturday, 19 July, 2003: [Liberian President Charles Taylor's] history - Taylor was originally part of Doe's government but was later charged with fraud. Taylor fled to the US, where he was arrested, then escaped and made his way back to Liberia after a stop for training in Libya. Did the US let Taylor go? Was America involved in the overthrow of Doe, who accepted help from the Soviet Union in the 1970s? Or in Taylor's bloody overthrow of Doe? [The Gadsden Times]

Friday, 18 July, 2003: Zimbabwe's petrol crisis is set to worsen after President Mugabe's attempt to resume fuel supplies from Libya stalled. Mr Mugabe agreed to mortgage Zimbabwean oil assets to Libya in exchange for oil when he met Qadhafi earlier this month. Senior oil industry sources in Zimbabwe said Libya had not taken over the assets because Qadhafi wanted "to pay peanuts for them". Libya's oil company, Tamoil, valued the Zimbabwean oil assets at only $38 million. A Zimbabwean oil official said: "This is totally unacceptable." [The Independent]
Friday, 18 July, 2003: Fifteen European tourists still missing in Algeria's Sahara desert and believed kidnapped by Islamic extremists, could be freed in the next few days. Earlier this week Algerian paper, the Quotidien d'Oran, said negotiations could be started between the governments of Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, who were said to be prepared to pay a ransom of between 15 and 20 million euros. The ransom could be paid in Libya, the paper said. [AFP]
Friday, 18 July, 2003: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi joined French soccer players Zinedine Zidane, Christophe Dugarry and Bixente Lizarazu for a charity match Thursday to raise money for children in the Sahara Desert. Saadi al-Qadhafi's agent contacted the match's organizers and asked if he could join the all-star team, which played against Bordeaux. Bordeaux won 4-3. Profits went to Enfants du Sahara, an association to help children in the Algerian desert. [AP]

Thursday, 17 July, 2003: The US dropped all remaining restrictions on travel by Americans to Iraq, but warned against such travel, saying Iraq remains a dangerous place, with almost daily attacks against US troops. The only other country covered by similar restrictions is Libya. The use of US passports for travel to, in or through Libya has been banned since 1981. [AFP]
Thursday, 17 July, 2003: Egypt and Libya on Wednesday drew up a blueprint to enhance their trade exchange volume which last year reached $318 million of which $303.4 million represent the value of Egyptian exports, including food, tires, dairy products and ceramics. [Arabic News]
Thursday, 17 July, 2003: U.S. states, which have trillions of dollars in investments, are starting to put pressure on companies with business ties to countries accused by the U.S. of sponsoring terrorism. Officials who invest public funds are scouring their holdings for shares in such companies, partly because of the added risk and partly in order to pressure the companies to sever the ties. The State Department lists Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria as sponsors of terrorism. [Reuters]

Wednesday, 16 July, 2003: Some of the overseas Filipino workers involved in a row with Bangladeshis on Thursday in Libya sought refuge in other worksites, as tension remained high at their workplace, the Department of Labor said on Tuesday. According to the report submitted by Wahab Jaafar, a welfare officer in Libya, 550 workers have not reported to work since Saturday, in spite of Daewoo management’s efforts to convince them to do so. [The Manila Times]
Wednesday, 16 July, 2003: The situation at a natural gas plant in Wafa, Libya, where some Filipinos fought with fellow foreign workers last week, is back to normal, Foreign Secretary Blas Ople said Tuesday. Fifteen Filipinos were slightly injured in fighting that ensued among Filipinos, Thais and Bangladeshis. Libyan Ambassador Salem Adam called on Ople on Tuesday to give assurances that the security would be maintained and that all the Filipinos were safe. [INQ7]
Wednesday, 16 July, 2003: North African countries bidding to host the 2010 World Cup will discuss the possibility of presenting a single candidate. The meeting, organised by the Arab Football Union,is likely to take place in Cairo on 21 July. Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya presented separate bids to host the world's most prestigious football event in 2010. [BBC]

Tuesday, 15 July, 2003: Fifteen Filipino workers in Ginwasa, Libya were hurt during a dormitory brawl over the weekend, Labor Secretary Patricia Santo Tomas said Monday. The Filipinos clashed with a group of Bangladeshis over a television program in their dormitory. "We received information that their Korean employers have separated both communities after the incident, " Sto. Tomas said. The 550-member Filipino community in Ginwasa was transferred from the buildings they occupy to prevent further clashes. Ginwasa, an industrial complex 12 hours by land from Tripoli, employs about 2,000 Bangladeshis. [ABS-CBN]
Tuesday, 15 July, 2003: A woman and man have appeared in court accused of abducting five children from the same family - who were later found in Libya. The woman, Wedad Ahmed, 36, and the man, Mustafa Abushima, 43, both from Grange Road, Manchester, deny conspiring with other people to abduct the children, who were from Norfolk. The court heard that the children of Anita Elgirnazi were collected by their father Azzedin Elgirnazi from their home at Saxlingham Thorpe, Norfolk, in June 2000 but failed to return. They were finally tracked down in Libya. [BBC]
Tuesday, 15 July, 2003: A career with Italian club Perugia could force Libya's al-Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo) to abandon his ambition to become the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf). "If things go well with Perugia, I might withdraw from the Caf presidential race," al-Saadi told the pan-Arabic TV channel Al-Arabia News. The Caf presidential election is fixed for January 2004 in Tunisia. [BBC]

Monday, 14 July, 2003: Libyan leader Qadhafi told a conference of African leaders Saturday that Africans who are "straight" need not fear AIDS. Speaking through a translator, Qadhafi drew some laughter with his reference to AIDS only affecting homosexuals. He told the closing session of the African Union conference: "If you are straight, you have nothing to fear from AIDS." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says HIV can be spread by an infected person through heterosexual or homosexual sexual contact, the sharing of needles or syringes and, less commonly, through transfusions of blood or blood clotting factors. Also, babies born to HIV-infected women may become infected before or during birth, or through breast-feeding. [AP]
Photo: One of 393 Libyan children infected with HIV through transfusion of blood in 1999.

Sunday, 13 July, 2003: A ship and an airplane belonging to the Italian Coast Guard arrived in Libya to help authorities there monitor the flow of illegal immigrants to Europe, the Italian News Agency said on Saturday. Libya will use the ship and the airplane to inspect the coastal regions for illegal immigrants and to assist in rescue operations at sea. These duties will be performed in close cooperation with Italian coast guard authorities, and once such duties are over with, the ship and the plane will head for the Maltese coast to carry out similar duties in that country. [KUNA]
Sunday, 13 July, 2003: There seems to be a general consensus among European Union (EU) members, with the exception of Germany, to lessen the burden of the embargo on Libya, said Franco Fratini, the Italian Foreign Minister. He said Libya would get EU equipment and facilities to stem the tide of illegal immigration from the coasts of Libya to Europe, which has recently risen to unprecedented heights resulting in the death of many of these immigrants. [KUNA]
Sunday, 13 July, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi told statesmen at the closing of an African Union (AU) summit in Maputo, Mozembique, that AIDS was a "peaceful virus". "AIDS, AIDS, AIDS. We hear about nothing else. This is terrorism. This is psychological warfare. AIDS is a peaceful virus. If you stay clean there is no problem," Qadhafi said. He also took a swipe at the First World assisting Africa in its development. "They are laughing at us and pretending to be sorting out our problems. We are not pupils. We are not children," he said. [AFP]
Sunday, 13 July, 2003: In the Mozembiquean capital, Maputu, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi yesterday received Romano Prodi, the president of the European Union commission who is attending part of the second African summit activities in Maputu. The meeting discussed the relationships between the African Union and the European Union. [JANA]
Sunday, 13 July, 2003: Colonel Qadhafi of Libya has called for the elimination of all forms of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons on the entire planet, affirming that the African continent is not affected by this type of weapons and the phenomenon of terrorism. [PANA]

Saturday, 12 July, 2003: The US has struck down Libya's efforts to join the UN Security Council when the 15-nation body elects five new members in October, the New York Times said on Friday. The Times said the US State Department successfully convinced North African governments not to support Libya's candidacy. Libya consequently decided not to run and has agreed to leave the seat to Algeria. The council is scheduled to replace five outgoing members: Bulgaria, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico and Syria, which complete their two-year terms December 31. [SAPA]
Saturday, 12 July, 2003: A lawyer for the families of victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie says they are close to setting up an escrow account into which Libya would pay some $2.67 billion in compensation. Lawyer Jim Kreindler told Reuters he expected arrangements for the account to be worked out within two weeks. In a letter to his clients obtained by Reuters, Kreindler said he expected Libya in the next few months to formally take responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103, which exploded over the Lockerbie, killing 270 people. [Reuters]

Friday, 11 July, 2003: Italy scrambled two fighter jets Wednesday to intercept a Libyan air ambulance that flew into Italian airspace without notification, officials said. A seriously ill passenger being transported by the aircraft died during the flight. The Beechcraft air ambulance was en route from Cologne, Germany, to the Libyan capital Tripoli when its pilot asked to land at Rome's Ciampino military airport because the passenger's condition worsened. [AP]
Friday, 11 July, 2003: [Commenting on the visit currently made by American president Bush to some African countries, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi] stated that he has no objection for a president of any state to visit other states. However, he said, the visit by the American president came at a wrong time. "It gave a bad impression for African nationals," he said. [JANA]
Friday, 11 July, 2003: U.S. authorities this year have disrupted a number of illegal arms and technology transfers, including attempts to send howitzer, radar and unmanned aerial drone parts to Pakistan; assault weapons to Colombia; and military aircraft and engines to Libya. [AP]
Friday, 11 July, 2003: Muslims in the Spanish city of Granada have dedicated a new mosque, their first house of prayer in the more than 500 years since Christian Spanish kings expelled Moors from the region. The dedication came more than 20 years after organizers first agreed to launch construction of the mosque, when Libya provided the initial funds for the building. [VOA]

Thursday, 10 July, 2003: Libya will end efforts to join the UN Security Council, a victory for the U.S. campaign to bar the North African country because of its human rights abuses and support for terrorism. The U.S. pressed UN members to oppose the candidacy of Libya, which is under Security Council sanctions for its role in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. This is the second time that the U.S. has succeeded in keeping Libya off the Security Council. U.S. efforts led to Egypt replacing Libya in 1996. Libya was last on the Security Council in 1976 and 1977. [WN]
Thursday, 10 July, 2003: The Central African Republic (CAR) and Libya have decided to resume diplomatic ties after four months of uncertainty, a government official told IRIN on Tuesday. CAR leader Francois Bozize and Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi met on Monday in N'djamena, the capital of Chad. In November 2001, when Bozize first rebelled, and in October 2002, when he invaded Bangui's northern suburbs, Libyan troops and warplanes contributed to the removal of Bozize's rebels out of the city. [UN-IRIN]
Thursday, 10 July, 2003: The Malaysian government will send more than 25 police and military officials as members of the peace monitoring team to observe the cease-fire situation in Mindanao once peace talks between the the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) start. Besides Malaysia, the peacekeepers would also come from Brunei, Bangladesh, Bahrain and Libya. [The Manila Times]

Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: Five men accused of killing American diplomat Laurence Foley in October 2002 in Amman denied the charges at the start of their trial before the state criminal court. Lawyers for the defence branded the trial illegal and requested the five suspects be released. They include one Libyan national, Salem Saad Salem bin Sued (photo), and four Jordanians, Yasser Freihat, Mohamad Said, who was born in Libya, Neeman al-Harshi, who was born in Kuwait, and Mohamad Daamess. [AFP]
Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: Foreign ministers of the African Union (AU) adopted on Tuesday a far-reaching draft protocol on women's rights, but Egypt and Libya attached reservations. Sources within the AU's Executive Council said that Egypt and Libya expressed reservations because the draft was not in line with Islamic Sharia law. [SAPA]
Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: Central African Republic (CAR) self-proclaimed president Francois Bozize has met with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in the Chadian capital N'Djamena, diplomatic sources said Tuesday. The meeting, which took place at Qadhafi's request, came after Bozize toppled Libyan-backed President Ange-Felix Patasse in March. Libyan troops were deployed in the CAR from May 2001 to December 2002 in support of Patasse. [AFP]
Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: The US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control told "The Australian" the US believed it already had several classes of authority to act against suspected N. Korean smuggling... On Libya he said it was unlikely that Col. Qadhafi would do enough to secure the lifting of US sanctions: "Since the suspension of UN sanctions, Libya has been much more aggressively pursuing all types of Weapons of Mass Destruction". [The Australian]
Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Maputo Tuesday afternoon ahead of the second African Union (AU) summit opening on Thursday. [PANA]
Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: Scotland's Caledonia Training and Consultancy has landed a £2.25million training jackpot in what is easily its largest contract. Caledonia has already begun work on a £500,000 training contract for a leading Libyan oil company. Delivery of further training, worth £1.75million, will start later this year, with close to 100 delegates being sent from Libya to Aberdeen, Scotland. Delegates and their families, who may be in Aberdeen for up to six months, are staying in accommodation organised by Caledonia. [This Is North Scotland]
Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: Following are the results of the last round of the Libyan national football championship league played last weekend: Al-Wifak/Al-Ahli 1-0, Al-Swaihli/Al-Dhahra 7-0, Rafik/Al-Olympique 0-2, Al-Hilal/Al-Tahaddi 4-3, Al-Ittihad/Al-Madina 1-0, Al-Tirsana/Al-Soqour 1-1, Al-Nasr/Al-Wahda 1-0. [PANA]
Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: The European Commission has asked European ministers for the authority to negotiate a fishing grounds access deal with Libya. Brussels is keen to secure rights to exploit fishing grounds in neighbouring countries, especially since its efforts to renew an agreement with Morocco have failed. A Commission statement said that Libya offers the European Union fish industry "sustainable fishing opportunities." [Just-Food]
Wednesday, 9 July, 2003: The next hearing in the trial against the six Bulgarian medics in Libya, accused of infecting Libyan children with HIV, was set for August 4. The Benghazi court proceeded with the Bulgarian medics case on July 8. The court did not respect the claim for releasing the Bulgarian medics on bail until the end of the trial. [Novinite]

Tuesday, 8 July, 2003: Talking to journalists in N'djamena, Libyan leader Qadhafi denied supplying the Chadian government with weapons to fight a rebellion led by the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT). Rejecting the allegation, made last week by the MDJT, Qhadafi said there was no rebellion: "People have dispersed, they have abandoned their weapons. Some people have taken refuge in other African countries and are making statements". [AFP]
Tuesday, 8 July, 2003: Any forecasts about the outcome of the trial against the six Bulgarian medics in Libya now can have a reverse effect, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Passy said July 7, a day before the new hearing in Benghazi. Passy expressed the hope that the court will consider the report prepared by the HIV experts Professor Collizi and Professor Luc Montaigner, which proves the innocence of the Bulgarian defendants. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 8 July, 2003: En route to the African summit in Maputo, Mozambique, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Monday arrived in N'djamena, Chad, a few hours' stopover. [PANA]
Tuesday, 8 July, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi warned on Monday that African countries must not give Western states an opportunity to intervene militarily in Africa, referring to the possible deployment of US troops to Liberia. "We Africans must assume our responsibilities to resolve our problems. We must not give Westerners the opportunity to intervene with their troops in Africa," Qadhafi told journalists following his arrival for a daylong visit to Chad. [AFP]

Monday, 7 July, 2003: The Liberian issue draws worldwide attention following the threat by US President Bush to make possible military intervention in that country. On Friday, Libyan leader Qadhafi (photo) held telephone discussion with President Obasanjo of Nigeria and Bouteflika of Algeria on the Liberian crisis. The Libyan leader and his counterparts agreed on a common stance that rejects foreign intervention in Africa. [Xinhua]
Monday, 7 July, 2003: President Bush's new "proliferation security initiative" calls for forcing down aircraft and boarding ships suspected of carrying weapons from N. Korea, Iran, Syria and Libya. The plan is set to be unveiled next week. The goal of Bush's plan is simple – stop the shipments of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons material between rogue nations. [G2]
Monday, 7 July, 2003: The second African Union (AU) summit will kick off in Maputo, on Thursday. The 53-nation-strong AU will meet in Mozambique from July 10 to 12, one year after it was inaugurated in Durban, S. Africa. The Central African Republic will be excluded, however, because its leader Bozize came to power in a coup in March. A tug-of-war can be expected between S. Africa and Libya who have both offered to host the Pan African Parliament. [AFX]
Monday, 7 July, 2003: A squad of 80 Pakistanis held by Italian authorities was Sunday flown to Lahore, Pakistan, by a special plane and in the custody of Italian police. These Pakistanis were arrested for illegally entering Italy via Libya, and were behind bar on terrorism charges. [NNI]

Sunday, 6 July, 2003: Italy and Libya have signed a security cooperation accord that paves the way for joint naval patrols in the southern Mediterranean Sea. Sources said Italy demanded that the patrols include Libya's territorial waters and the agreement was vague on the issue. Last week, Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgam (photo) said Libya would not allow Italy to establish a military presence in its territorial waters. [MENL]
Sunday, 6 July, 2003: Kenya clinched a place in the African Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Cape Verde on Saturday, on a day when Mali, Congo and Egypt also booked their tickets to next year's tournament. In Group 9, Congo got the point it needed in a 0-0 draw in Botswana to qualify in top spot ahead of Libya which trounced Swaziland 6-2. [AP]
Sunday, 6 July, 2003: Burundi's president, Domitien Ndayizeyeof has begun a tour that will take him to Libya, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and Holland. The aim of the visit is to explain the ongoing peace process to his counterparts and ask them to contribute to this process. President Ndayizeyeof will also explain to his counterparts that "we are in need of financial support to enable us kick-start the economic recovery of our country". [Radio Burundi/BBC-MS]

Saturday, 5 July, 2003: A diplomatic row between Libya and South Africa over who should host the Pan African Parliament threatens to ruin this weekend's annual summit of African leaders in Mozambique. Diplomats say the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, wants the parliament to be in his home town of Sirte. Thabo Mbeki, the South African President, wants it to be permanently based in Cape Town because Libya has no history of democratic parliamentary standards. Another conflict between the two leaders centres on the appointment of a new African Union commission chairman, who will run the union's day-to-day affairs. [The Independent]
Saturday, 5 July, 2003: It is outrageous that Africa's leaders are tolerating the prospect of Libya competing with South Africa to host the proposed African Parliament. How the swashbuckling Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi can be allowed to dream along these lines is difficult to contemplate, given that Libya does not itself have a functional parliamentary democracy. [Business Day]
Saturday, 5 July, 2003: The president of the European Commission Roman Prodi said in Rome Friday that it was still too soon for the European Union to consider lifting the embargo imposed on Libya five years ago. "We haven't yet arrived at a decision on lifting the embargo," Prodi told reporters in Rome. "There is still a lot to accomplish. When the conditions are ripe then we can lift the embargo," he said. However, he said talks between the Commission and Libya are continuing to put the country back on the road to full membership of the international community. [AFP]
Saturday, 5 July, 2003: Liberia's President Charles Taylor, under U.S. pressure to quit, says he has agreed to step down but urged the world to send peacekeepers to prevent chaos in the aftermath. A senior Nigerian official said on Friday the former warlord had accepted an offer of asylum. The official also said taht Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo had agreed to ask Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, a close ally of Taylor from before his days as a guerrilla leader, to help facilitate the asylum deal and possibly fund his stay. [Reuters]
Saturday, 5 July, 2003: American Independence Day was celebrated in Libya on Friday for the first time in 20 years, despite the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries, an AFP correspondent reported. At the bidding of the American-Libyan Friendship Association (LAFA), members of the estimated 500-strong American community in Libya joined with high-ranking Libyan officials, including the number two at the foreign ministry, Hassuna al-Shaush, and foreign diplomats at a reception. In a speech to the assembled guests, LAFA's chairman, Adel Daemi, called on US President Bush to "lift the ban on travel to Libya imposed on Americans". [AFP]
Saturday, 5 July, 2003: The former leader of the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad, Yousouf Togoïmi, rumoured dead last September in a Tripoli hospital following injuries, has been reported alive and should shortly be discharged, the Chadian weekly, Le Temps, said. [PANA]

Friday, 4 July, 2003: Italy's Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu signed an accord with Libyan officials in Tripoli Thursday to counter illegal immigration into Europe from Libya. Justice Minister Mohammed al-Mosrati signed the accord for the Libyan side. The accord calls for "the authorities in the two countries to make joint efforts to combat illegal immigration". It also provides for "a joint action plan to combat criminal organisations" using land and sea routes for people trafficking, as well as "an operations plan to help and rescue immigrants at sea". [AFP]
Friday, 4 July, 2003: Osman Bizanti (photo), the Libyan defense lawyer of the six Bulgarian medics charged with deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV, confirmed that the date of the new hearing of the case has been set for July 8. The Bulgarians were arrested in 1999, and first appeared before a court dealing with national security. The court rejected claims by the Libyan prosecutors that the medics were part of an international conspiracy involving foreign intelligence services. [Novinite]
Friday, 4 July, 2003: Libya's request to have their African Nations Cup qualifier against Swaziland rescheduled has been turned down by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). CAF ruled that to guarantee fair play and avoid incidents of 'match-fixing' on the final weekend of qualifying, two matches of each group will be played on the same day and have sychronised kick-off times. Consequently, Libya's game against Swaziland in Tripoli has been arranged to start at the same time as the match between Botswana and the DR Congo in Gaberone. [BBC]
Friday, 4 July, 2003: Abdulmajid Aboushwesha, the secretary-general of the Libyan Football Association (LFA), has criticised their scheduled African Nations Cup qualifier against Swaziland kick-off time as "suicidal". "Caf want us to play at three o'clock on Saturday afternoon but this is suicidal," Aboushwesha said. "At that time of the day the humidity is over 40 degrees centigrade which could be fatal for the players and officials." He fumed: "Saturday is also a working day in Libya, which means we will lose income." [BBC]
Friday, 4 July, 2003: The US is being called to the rescue of Liberia... The US interest in Liberia became strategic during the Cold War, when President Reagan welcomed it as a launch pad for covert activities against Libya. Libya, in turn, looked to strike back at the US and its ally - and found Taylor. A Boston-educated business student, Taylor graduated from the Cold War-era Libyan training camps of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. In 1989, bringing the U.S.-Libyan rivalry home, Taylor launched Liberia into war, leading a small force of armed men to overthrow President Doe. The 14 years of near-perpetual conflict that followed has killed hundreds of thousands. [AP]

Thursday, 3 July, 2003: Italy's Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu flies to Tripoli Thursday to seal a deal with his Libyan counterpart to counter immigration into Europe from Libya. Italian newspapers said Wednesday that diplomats from both countries had thrashed out an agreement in Rome under which Italian naval vessels would participate in joint patrols off the Libyan coast. The visit was postponed by 24 hours in the wake of the row, officially for agenda reasons. [AFP]
Thursday, 3 July, 2003: The new hearing of the case against the six Bulgarian medics in Libya has been set for July 8, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Passy said Wednesday. Earlier in the day the Bulgarian National Radio broke the news, citing the son of one of the detained medics, accused of infecting Libyan children with HIV. Marian, son of doctor Zdravko Georgiev, said that the medics are getting ready to travel to Benghazi, where the case will be heard. [Novinite]
Thursday, 3 July, 2003: A Ukrainian Export Company announced Wednesday its plans to sell Libya four passenger aircraft, Interfax news agency reported. The Ukrspetsexport company will hand over to the Libyan government four Antonov-32 turboprops, in exchange for cash and Libyan goods, the report said. The Soviet-developed An-32 can carry 7.5 tones of freight or 42 passengers. The value of the deal for the four planes was being kept a secret. An An-32 typically retails for between 3 and 5 million dollars, depending on condition. [KUNA]
Thursday, 3 July, 2003: An Eritrean high-level delegation led by President Isayas Afewerki arrived in Tripoli today [1 July, 2003], on a visit to the Republic of Libya. President Afewerki and his delegation was met by Eritrea's ambassador to Libya and the country's high government officials upon arrival at the Tripoli International Airport. [BBC-MS]
Thursday, 3 July, 2003: Moroccan-Libyan cooperation was on Monday at the heart of talks between Libyan secretary for external relations, Abdelrahman Shalgam, and Morocco's ambassador in Tripoli, Driss Alaoui, the Libyan news agency (JANA) reported. [Arabic News]

Wednesday, 2 July, 2003: Christians and Muslims must reject attempts to use religion to incite violence, Pope John Paul II told Libya's envoy to the Vatican on Tuesday. John Paul said any attempt to "distort religion is an illegitimate use of sacred traditions". The Pope addressed Libya's new chief of mission, Abdulhafidh Gaddour, who presented his credentials. [AP]
Tuesday, 1 July, 2003: The Libyan government has bought the shares formerly held by Israeli groups in Egypt's Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR) for $430 million, the official MENA news agency reported Tuesday. The agency said the buyer is a "Libyan government body," giving no other identity details of the new partner in the 100,000 barrels per day refinery. The Libyan party bought the 39 percent stake held in MIDOR by the state-owned National Bank of Egypt for $430 million, it said, adding that the deal was done Monday in the Egyptian stock market. [AFP]
Tuesday, 1 July, 2003: The [South] Korean government yesterday appointed Kim Joong-jae, a former director general for European affairs, as the new ambassador to Libya. Kim replaced Kim Sung-yup, who was appointed as consul general in Atlanta, the United States. [The Korea Herald]
Tuesday, 1 July, 2003: African officials began meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, Monday to discuss the establishment of a pan-African parliament that still needs to be ratified by at least eight more countries. "We appeal for greater enthusiasm, as only 19 have ratified it. We therefore need at least eight more ratifications to meet the required 27," South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma said at the opening of the two-day meeting. South Africa, which currently chairs the AU, and Libya have both offered to host the parliament. [AFP]
Tuesday, 1 July, 2003: He is already Italy's richest man, a billionaire media tycoon, soccer supremo - and Italian prime minister. On Tuesday, Silvio Berlusconi gets to represent the EU. "At home he is dismantling the judiciary, subjugating TV, gets laws from Parliament as he needs them," the German news weekly Der Spiegel wrote. "Now Berlusconi will represent Europe." Berlusconi has deviated from EU orthodoxy by suggesting that Russia and Israel may soon join the EU; following a U.S. rather than EU line by refusing to meet Yasser Arafat on a recent Middle East visit; and pushing to end an arms embargo on Col. Qadhafi's Libya. [AP]

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