News and Views [ March 2003 ]

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Monday, 31 March, 2003: The Kuwaiti foreign ministry on Sunday told Ali Ahmed al-Alus, the Libyan charge d'affaires, to leave Kuwait following tensions over protests against the Iraq war. Kuwait, which has served as the springboard for US-led coalition troops, on Tuesday threatened unspecified measures against Libya after the Kuwaiti flag was ripped down from the emirate's embassy in Tripoli by anti-war protesters. Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai al-Aam quoted unnamed foreign ministry sources last week as charging that the "raid" on the embassy "was provoked by the Libyan government itself and some security personnel also took part." [AFP]
Monday, 31 March, 2003: Libya is to ship medicines, food and other forms of humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq in the wake of the US-led war, according to an official statement. [PANA]
Monday, 31 March, 2003: Result Sunday from a Group 9 African Cup of Nations qualifying match between Libya and Botswana: Libya 0, Botswana 0. [AP]

Sunday, 30 March, 2003: Thousands of protesters demonstrated in several Libyan cities Saturday, denouncing the U.S.-led war on Iraq. Protesters took to the streets in Sabrata and Serman calling for jihad, or Muslim holy war, against U.S. and British forces. "No to war, Yes to peace," "Resistance no surrender," and "Get your hands off Iraq," read some of the banners brandished by protesters. Libyans fasted on Friday in solidarity with the Iraqi people. [UPI]
Sunday, 30 March, 2003: The Pentagon is drawing up a blacklist of non-US companies investing in Iran's energy sector with a possible view to barring them from US-awarded contracts in the reconstruction of Iraq. The Pentagon is listing companies regarded as being in breach of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. This provides for sanctions to be imposed on non-US companies that invest more than $20m a year in the energy sectors of the two countries. [FT]
Sunday, 30 March, 2003: A prolonged stay of U.S. and British forces in Iraq, now likely given Iraq's stiff resistance, may turn Iraq into the latest magnet for Muslim militants seeking a new jihad. Iraq earlier this month publicized one of its battlefield tactics when it took foreign journalists to a training camp east of Baghdad to show off about 40 of what it said were Arab volunteers. They said they came from Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia. [The Star]
Sunday, 30 March, 2003: A new date for a court hearing of the case against six Bulgarian medics charged with infecting 393 children with HIV in a hospital in Benghazi will be set next week. That was announced by the Libyan lawyer of the medics Osman Bizanti in an interview for radio NET. The Bulgarian medics have been detained in Libya for almost four years. [Novinite]

Saturday, 29 March, 2003: Perhaps never in history has an organization been turned on its head quite like the United Nations. The UN has come to stand for everything its charter opposes. ... Libya is heading the United Nations Human Rights Commission. The UN reeks with insincerity -- and inadequacy. The UN is impotent. It no longer serves a rational purpose. [Times-Union]
Saturday, 29 March, 2003: As they waved an Iraqi flag, green flags of Hamas and a portrait of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Palestinians burned a mock coffin (photo) representing some Arab leaders which they believe have betrayed Iraq during an anti-war demonstration in the West Bank. The names written on the coffin are: Saudi King Fahd, Syrian President Assad, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Egyptian President Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah. [AP]
Saturday, 29 March, 2003: Regarding exchanged demonstrations in Kuwait and Tripoli and whether they would affect relations between the two countries, Libyan minister for African Unity, Ali al-Traiki (photo,) said there is no problem between Kuwait and Libya, pointing out that he held talks over the phone with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Tuesday. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 29 March, 2003: A goodwill visit to Libya by Glasgow's Lord Provost Alex Mosson is unlikely to go ahead. Mr Mosson had hoped to visit Libya as a guest of the Mayor of Tripoli on a trip timed to coincide with a Scottish trade mission next week. Glasgow Islamic Centre president Mohammed Shaeen had arranged the visit weeks ago. Mr Shaeen said Mr Mosson's visit would have helped build bridges between Libya and Scotland. He added: "The Libyans had said, 'yes, we'd like to see the Lord Provost' - then suddenly this war started." [MSG]
Saturday, 29 March, 2003: Libya's National Oil Company has left all April term crude official selling prices unchanged compared with March, the company said Friday. [Dow Jones]

Friday, 28 March, 2003: A German commercial pilot has pleaded guilty in American federal court to attempting to buy military aircraft engines for Libya. Klaus Buhler faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison on two counts of attempting to export military engines to Libya without a license and approval from federal officials. Selling anything to Libya is a violation of a 1986 trade embargo instituted by then President Ronald Reagan against the dictatorship. [AP]
Friday, 28 March, 2003: The top UN rights body rejected a proposal to hold an emergency meeting on Iraq. Canada, Japan and several countries from Europe and Latin America lined up with the US to defeat a resolution calling on the UN Rights Commission to "consider the effects of the war on the Iraqi people and their humanitarian situation." The resolution was sponsored by Russia, Syria, Sudan, Malaysia, Libya, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Algeria and DRC. [AP]
Friday, 28 March, 2003: Amnesty International and some other rights groups criticised a decision by the UN's top human rights body not to hold a special session to discuss the human rights situation in Iraq as a result of the US-led war. The groups said the UN Rights Commission should not stand by as a humanitarian crisis developed in Iraq. Algeria, Burkina Faso, DRC, Libya, Malaysia, Russia, Syria, Sudan and Zimbabwe had called for the special sitting. [AFP]
Friday, 28 March, 2003: There are many who scoff at Operation Iraqi Freedom and decry the US for moving against the wishes of the UN. Yet the moment such people talk as though the UN is a vaunted organization representing the last best hope for [humanity], I wonder what they think of Libya being selected to head the UN Rights Commission. Libya has a long record of supporting international terrorism and it has beaten down its own people through torture, persecution and arbitrary incarceration of people considered a threat to [Qadhafi's] regime. [Daily News]

Thursday, 27 March, 2003: It may not be unfair to say that belief in the United Nations was the first casualty of the 2003 edition of the Gulf War. The U.N. never lived up to the hope and expectations of its more idealistic founders. It never became a maker of international law or a source of moral authority -- though many people were misled to believe otherwise... Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's Libya currently heads its human-rights commission - and if Kofi Annan or any other U.N. official thinks that an outrage, he's kept his opinion to himself. [National Review]
Thursday, 27 March, 2003: A caravan of medical aid from the Libyan charity, Aisha Charity Society [chaired by Col. Qadhafi's daughter Aisha (photo),] is in N'djamena for an immunisation campaign in the Chadian capital and its environs, press accounts indicated Wednesday. The campaign includes medical and social personnel. The society's representatives held meetings with the Chadian health ministry to determine the geographical locations to be targetted by the campaign. [JANA/PANA]

Wednesday, 26 March, 2003: Kuwait has threatened unspecified measures against Libya after protesting the ripping down of the Kuwaiti flag from the emirate's embassy in Tripoli, a newspaper reported Tuesday. First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah told Al-Rai al-Aam his country would take "another measure", besides its official complaint. The daily also quoted unnamed foreign ministry sources as charging that the "raid" on the embassy "was provoked by the Libyan government and some security personnel also took part." [AFP]
Wednesday, 26 March, 2003: Hundreds of thousands of people protested the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq – some burning American and British flags – in the Mideast's largest organized protests since the war began. In the Libyan capital of Tripoli, thousands of demonstrators chanted anti-American slogans as they marched to the Iraqi Embassy. Libyan authorities reinforced security around the Kuwaiti, Saudi, British, and U.N. diplomatic offices ahead of the march. [AP]
Wednesday, 26 March, 2003: Nine countries in the UN Human Rights Commission have asked the world’s top human rights forum to hold a special session on the war in Iraq, the chairwoman of the Commission, Najat Al Hajjaji, announced on Monday. The countries were Algeria, Burkina Faso, DRC, Libya, Malaysia, Russia, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe. [Daily Times]

Tuesday, 25 March, 2003: Libya's African Unity Minister Ali al-Treiki warned Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo Monday: "If Iraq is to fall, many Arab countries will fall as well". Al-Treiki, received sustained applause when he spoke of "Iraqi heroism" battling American and British troops. "We have to raise our heads high and salute Iraqi heroism as proof that Arabs are capable of confronting the mighty, the coercive and the arrogant," al-Treiki said. [AP]
Tuesday, 25 March, 2003: Those who say the UN has outlived its utility could easily point to this year's session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, which opened March 17 in Geneva. The commission finds human rights-abusers; S. Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe sitting as members. Even more deplorable, the chairwoman is Libya's ambassador to the UN in Geneva. [CSM]
Tuesday, 25 March, 2003: Arab foreign ministers Monday condemned the "aggression" against Iraq and called for the "immediate withdrawal" of US and British forces, at the end of a meeting in Cairo. The final statement, read out by Libya's minister of African unity, Ali al-Treiki, said the US-led attack on Iraq was "in violation of the UN charter" and Arab delegates at the UN will "request an urgent meeting of the Security Council so as to stop the aggression". [AFP]
Tuesday, 25 March, 2003: Bulgarian Foreign Minister Passy does not expect that politics will be involved in the trial against six Bulgarian medical workers [charged with intentionally infecting 393 children with HIV in a hospital in Benzhazi, Libya]. The Qadhafi Foundation distributed a statement on March 23rd, in which it expressed its confidence that the lack of sufficient evidence in the official charges against the six medics will help prove their innocence. [SEE]

Monday, 24 March, 2003: Newspapers in the Arab world continue their attacks on the US and Britain, as hostilities in Iraq go into their fourth day. Some argue that the US may win the war,but it will lose the peace. ..."The USA wakes up Iraqi children at midnight and invites them to a banquet of death and fear. "Some of these children will not wake up again," said Al-Jamahiriyah [Libya]. "The USA has started its war with a political defeat," said Al-Shams [Libya]. [BBC]
Monday, 24 March, 2003: [This war] will be a lesson to other megalomaniacs. They can't run rogue states threatening the rest of us and get away with it. I hope you're listening, Colonel Qadhafi (photo) in Libya and Kim Jung in North Korea. The demise of Saddam Hussein, which cannot be long delayed, should serve as a warning to tin-pot dictators everywhere. Watch it or you've had it. [People-UK]
Monday, 24 March, 2003: Foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Sudan, Oman, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, Libya, Morocco and Yemen, will attend a meeting of the Arab League Council on Monday in Cairo. The Arab League called on Arab countries to form a common stance following the US military action against Iraq. [Xinhua]
Monday, 24 March, 2003: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad accused the US and its allies of targeting Islamic countries for invasion and said Iran, Sudan and Libya could be singled out after the war in Iraq. "So maybe... their next target will be Iran and other nations like Sudan and Libya. "These countries have been accused of being ruled with an iron fist and the US has claimed that they want to liberate the people," Mahathir was quoted as saying. [AP]
Monday, 24 March, 2003: The world's first permanent international court of criminal justice (ICC) opened for business earlier this month when the first 18 judges were sworn in. As it stands, refusal to acknowledge the authority of the ICC puts the U.S. in the same camp as Iraq, Zimbabwe, Libya, North Korea and Cuba -- along with China and Russia, two other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. It is undistinguished company. [The Japan Times]
AJC: The US State Department Goes Easy On Libya

Sunday, 23 March, 2003: At a meeting last week with the families of the victims of the 1988 Pam Am 103 bombing, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns indicated that there would be no more meetings with Libyan officials and that the U.N. sanctions related to Pam Am Fight 103 could be dropped in a matter of weeks. Qadhafi's rehabilitation is almost complete. Normalizing Qadhafi will allow a smooth transfer of the throne to his son. Though Libya is not a country that would easily embrace democracy, the State Department's actions to relegitimize Qadhafi will make freedom there a nearly impossible goal. [AJC]
Sunday, 23 March, 2003: Last Friday, contents of a US State Department report blasting President Bush's push for democracy in the [Middle East] was leaked to the Los Angeles Times. But what wasn't reported by the Times is that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy by State. Witness State's long-term undermining of the Iraqi National Congress (Iraq's opposition forces) and its near-completed mission to relegitimize Libyan leader Qadhafi. Essentially arguing that the Arab and Muslim populations are not fit for self-rule, the report claims that "[e]lectoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements." [AJC]
Sunday, 23 March, 2003: At the Arab League (AL), foreign ministers pleaded for international intervention to stop the airstrikes on Iraq. But at the same time, Kuwait's delegate to the AL demanded that the League condemn Iraq for firing missiles into Kuwait. Most Arab officials -- excepting the leaders of Libya, Syria and Lebanon -- have blamed Saddam Hussein for creating the opening that allowed American military power into the region. [New York Times]
Sunday, 23 March, 2003: As bombs rained down on Iraq, Muslims across the Washington area gathered for weekly worship services and heard sermons that questioned, and sometimes condemned, the war. Mohammad Shafi told worshipers that the position of Islam, and that of the Prophet Mohammad, is that preemptive strikes are not permitted. Zak Elyazgi, 27, a computer worker, from Libya, said: "Many people might be intimidated to say what they feel. "But it is the duty of every Muslim to speak out against a wrong and not accept it". [Washington Post]
Sunday, 23 March, 2003: Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Saturday received Chadian Foreign Minister Mohamed Salah Naddif, who brought a message from President Idriss Deby, on the situation in Central African Republic, official sources said in Tripoli. [PANA]

Dr. Abdelrahim Saleh: Arab Human Development Report 2002

Saturday, 22 March, 2003: Now that US President Bush has ordered a preemptive strike to effect a regime change in Iraq, who is next? Will he then look toward N. Korea, Libya and so on until the world runs out of dictators? Is the new role of the US to play judge, jury and executioner? How much loss of innocent lives should be acceptable for a regime to be displaced? How bad does a dictator have to act to warrant a 2,000-pound missile being dropped on his head? After this precedent, what will be the role of the US in fostering world peace? [News-Chronicle]
Saturday, 22 March, 2003: Arabic papers are full of foreboding and misgivings about the outcome of the war in Iraq. Many editorials probe the long-term repercussions of the military conflict... "The Arab leaders will be held responsible for any child who is killed in Iraq," said Al-Jamahiriyah newspaper [Libya]. "The USA might benefit in installing an allied regime, but this will force it into losing many regimes in the world," said Al-Shams newspaper [Libya]. [BBC]
Saturday, 22 March, 2003: Key members of the US Congress are looking into the scandal involving corporations whose investments have ended up in the hands of terorrists. Some 400 companies are doing business in or with the nations listed by the State Department as terrorist-sponsoring governments. These are Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan. [News-Max]

Friday, 21 March, 2003: Riot police have used water cannons to prevent demonstrators from marching to the U.S. Embassy in Egypt on the first day of the U.S. war against Iraq. The protest in Cairo drew around 5,000 people and left 30 people hurt. Elsewhere, Palestinians in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun shouted "Death to America, death to Bush." There also were demonstrations in Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Syria. The secretary-general of the Arab League called it a "sad day for all Arabs," while Iran said the U.S. military campaign is "unjustifiable." [AP]
Friday, 21 March, 2003: Lawyers for victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing met a son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi this week and emerged more convinced that Libya wants to settle the matter. A source close to governmental talks between Libya, the US and Britain told Reuters on March 11 that Tripoli had agreed to accept responsibility for the bombing and compensate the victims' families. But U.S. officials later said it may be weeks, if ever, before a final agreement is signed. Lawyers for families of some of the 270 people killed when Pan Am 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie told their clients in a letter they met the lead Libyan negotiator as well as Qadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, this week. [Reuters]
Friday, 21 March, 2003: Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi, the man heading Libya's 2010 World Cup bid, said they are prepared to spend $6 billion on upgrading their facilities to Fifa standards. "We will allot US $6 billion for this event," he told al-Jazeerah TV channel. When asked about how Libya will be able to afford such a huge amount of cash, the son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi explained: "We have a yearly budget of US $3 billion for development programs. "And we will cut an amount of US $1 billion each year starting from next year until 2010". [BBC]
Friday, 21 March, 2003: A special court created through an agreement between the UN and Sierra Leone to prosecute major violators of human rights during Sierra Leone's rebel war began its pre-trial hearings this month. It indicted seven men to stand trial for crimes against humanity. One of them was Foday Sankoh, former leader of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group which fought against the state from 1991 to 2002. The RUF was founded towards the end of the 1980s in Libya under Sankoh's leadership, and began armed operations in 1991. [IRIN]
Friday, 21 March, 2003: Petro-Canada has started production at the small En-Naga oilfield in Libya, with planned initial output of 6,800 barrels per day (bpd), a company source said on Thursday. The field, which was purchased from Swedish independent Lundin Oil in 2001, will be pumped to the Samah oilfield complex through a new 100-kilometre pipeline. [Reuters]

Thursday, 20 March, 2003: The United States said Wednesday that Libya had proved it was not fit to lead the UN Human Rights Commission just minutes after it assumed the chairmanship of the body earlier this week. Washington said Libyan envoy Najat al-Hajjaji had proved the point by using her opening address to the commission to criticize a US-led war against Iraq on human rights grounds. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: "We think that somebody in that position who would want to talk about Iraq would talk about the rapes, tortures and murders that go on in Iraq on a daily basis in violation of the human rights". Boucher said al-Hajiji's comments indicated that Libya desired to cover up its own human rights abuses. [AFP]
Thursday, 20 March, 2003: The secretary of the Libyan general popular committee on Wednesday held talks with the Spanish ambassador to the United Nations on relations between Libya and Spain as well as on the international arena. [PANA]

Wednesday, 19 March, 2003: A U.S-led war on Iraq would be catastrophic for the people and a violation of their right to life, the UN Human Rights Commission has been told by its Libyan chairwoman. Najat Al-Hajjaji (photo), appealed for what she termed "reason and wisdom" to be applied to tackle the root causes of terrorism, concern over which the US and Britain say partly lies behind their ultimatum to Iraq to disarm. Al-Hajjaji was speaking at the opening of the body's annual six-week session. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 19 March, 2003: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says negotiations about Libya accepting responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing are at a "very delicate" stage. Powell said on Tuesday he wanted to know more from his aides about how the families of the victims reacted to the discussions underway before he commented on the issue. A source close to talks between Libya, the United States and Britain last week told Reuters Tripoli agreed to accept responsibility and to compensate the victims' families. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 19 March, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Tuesday accused the UN Security Council of turning into a "terrorist" body. Qadhafi, speaking in Mali, said the 15-member body had become a "terrorist council" through actions such as economic sanctions, imposed on countries including Iraq. The Libyan leader said that if the issue was weapons of mass destruction, "they must be destroyed, from the US to Iraq." If, however, the root of the crisis was oil, then oil-producing countries -- including Libya -- should stop prospecting for it, Qadhafi said. [AFP]
Wednesday, 19 March, 2003: The United Nations Human Rights Commission has begun it annual session in Geneva amid controversy as a pressure group was barred from participating for staging a protest against Libya's chairing of the meeting. The group - Reporters Without Borders (RSF) - was suspended for showering the meeting with leaflets criticising Libya's record on human rights. In a statement, RSF said that Libya's heading of the commission was a "sick joke". But Libya's ambassador Najat al-Hajjaji, who holds the commission's chair, said she intended to be impartial and represent all those taking part in the forum. [BBC]
Wednesday, 19 March, 2003: The United States on Monday demanded reforms at the UN Commission on Human Rights which it said was becoming a haven for serial rights abusers. The state department said it was deeply concerned that the 53-member Geneva-based commission - which opened its annual session earlier on Monday - was gradually being taken over by nations with poor human rights records. Washington, backed by numerous human rights groups, fought a fierce but unsuccessful battle earlier this year to prevent Libya from assuming the chairmanship of the commission over its poor record on human rights. [SAPA]
Wednesday, 19 March, 2003: Libya is set to join the 20-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in 2004, African Unity Minister Ali al-Triki said Tuesday. Libya submitted an official request to join during a COMESA summit held in Khartoum Monday, Triki said. Triki attended the Khartoum summit where African leaders warned that a US-led war on Iraq could harm the economies of African states, exacerbate food shortages, as well as overshadow their financial aid needs. COMESA was created in 1994. [AFP]

Tuesday, 18 March, 2003: Libya began its controversial leadership of the world's top human rights body Monday with pointed criticism of Israel as the U.N. agency began annual meetings overshadowed by an expected U.S.-led war against Iraq. The body has always had trouble completing its work in six weeks, and many governments were calling for a special debate if war starts in Iraq. Libya was appointed in January to head this year's meeting of the Human Rights Commission despite opposition from the US, which said it was horrified that a country with such a poor human rights record could lead the body that censures rights abusers. [AFP]
Tuesday, 18 March, 2003: Libyan leader Qadhafi arrived in the Malian capital Bamako Monday for a two-day visit. The Libyan leader did not address reporters on his arrival, which was marred by a minor incident when Qadhafi's vast security detail broke the glass window on the door to the VIP lounge to gain entry to it. A Malian policeman was injured in the incident. [AFP]
Tuesday, 18 March, 2003: Libya will award new exploration permits for 30 blocks before the end of June as part of an ambitious plan to develop its oilfields, the head of Libya's state oil company said. "As part of our exploration programme we will sign a significant package of exploration deals involving 30 new blocks with leading international firms in the first half of this year," Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) chief Abdulhafidh al-Zlitni told the African Petroleum Producers Association conference at the weekend. [Reuters]

Monday, 17 March, 2003: The family of the Libyan agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has returned to Scotland, as relatives of his victims revealed they expect a bank account for compensation to be set up in days. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's wife Aisha (photo), 39, and four of his five children were forced to leave Britain last month because their visas were due to expire. It has now emerged that they have returned to their £500,000 home in Newton Mearns, south of Glasgow, after the government rushed new visas through to allow them to stay in Scotland. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 17 March, 2003: The Libyan government is expected to set up a bank account in a neutral country this week as a sign of its willingness to strike a compensation deal with the families of victims of the Lockerbie bombing. The account would be used to channel money to the families of victims. Yesterday Dr Jim Swire, a leading Lockerbie campaigner whose daughter Flora died in the attack, said around £1.7bn would be placed in the account, which will be released to relatives when economic sanctions, imposed on Libya after the terrorist atrocity, are lifted. Swire said: "My contacts said that the account will be set up [this] week." [The Scotsman]
Monday, 17 March, 2003: Libya leader Qadhafi, is expected to pay a two-day official visit to Bamako on Monday, a foreign ministry official told PANA in the Malian capital. [PANA]
Monday, 17 March, 2003: Rebels loyal to a former army chief were in control of the Central African Republic (CAR) capital Bangui after seizing the city's airport and presidential palace while President Ange-Felix Patasse was on a trip to Cameron. African diplomats told AFP that Patasse should not remain in Cameroon for long, and that talks were under way to find a country which would take him in temporarily, with Gabon and Libya being mentioned as possible hosts. [AFP]
Sunday, 16 March, 2003: President Mamadou Tandja of Niger has taken over the rotating presidency of the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CENSAD) from Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Tandja's office announced Saturday. Tandja will head the 18-member organisation for a year, whose summit ended in the Niger capital Niamey on Saturday. The next CENSAD summit will be held in the Malian capital Bamako but the date has not been fixed. [AFP]
Sunday, 16 March, 2003: As if the US didn't already have enough stress at the UN, here comes the annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva starting Monday -- chaired by Libya. The US objected strongly in January to electing Libya as commission chair. Human Rights Watch (HRW) also opposed Libya's campaign to lead the commission. HRW said that nations like Libya "must not be allowed to hijack the UN human rights system." [AP]
Sunday, 16 March, 2003: Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Burkina Faso on Saturday at the start of a three-day working visit to the country. [PANA]
Sunday, 16 March, 2003: Leaders of the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CENSAD) on Saturday expressed their support for Iraq's sovereignty and for peaceful disarmament while closing a summit in the Niger capital Niamey. The two-day summit brought together heads of state from Benin, Burkina Faso, the CAR, Chad, Ghana, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan. Seven other countries were represented by high-level officials. [AFP]
Sunday, 16 March, 2003: The biggest rebel group in the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has said it wants Malaysia or Libya to broker peace talks between it and the government, a local daily said Saturday. MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said his group wants the cessation of hostilities and resumption of the stalled peace talks between the government and the MILF to be brokered by Libya or Malaysia. [Utusan Online]
Sunday, 16 March, 2003: A total of 2.6 million people used the Malta International Airport in 2002, five per cent less than the preceding year. The number of passengers from EU countries stood at 2.2 million, including one million from the UK, 383,000 from Germany, 335,000 from Italy and 169,000 from France. A total of 88,000 came from Libya. [Independent]

Saturday, 15 March, 2003: Libya's offer to accept responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing could lead to the lifting of UN sanctions and payment of compensation to the victims' families, but will not bring an end to US sanctions, a senior US official said yesterday. An outline proposal by Libya, presented at talks in London with senior US and UK diplomats, is being considered, he said. However, the senior US official said there was no prospect of the US "moving towards" normalisation of its relations with Libya until the issue of weapons of mass destruction was settled. "They are actively seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The trend is moving in the wrong direction," he said. [Financial Times]
Saturday, 15 March, 2003: Africa's arid northern nations should cooperate to combat desert-like conditions to increase irrigation and food production, Niger's President Tandja Mamadou told the Group of Sahel and Sahara States summit. The summit held in Niger aims to further economic cooperation among member states. Among heads of state in attendance were Libya's Qadhafi and Nigeria's Obasanjo. The group includes Burkina Faso, CAR, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gambia, Libya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. [AP]
Saturday, 15 March, 2003: Libya's state-run National Company for Supply Commodities has bought between 78,000 and 103,000 tonnes of white sugar to date in a long-delayed tender, traders said on Friday. They said so far two trade houses had sold 28,000 tonnes and 25,000 tonnes, with a further 25,000 to 50,000 tonne consignment clinched by a third operator. Further purchases were expected with negotiations still underway. [Reuters]
Saturday, 15 March, 2003: About 20 Moro separatist rebels were killed in fighting Friday with the Philippines government troops around a fallen rebel enclave in Mindanao, as mediator Libya called for a ceasefire. Libyan ambassador Salem Adam, whose government has helped foster previous talks between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said an immediate stop in fighting could pave the way for resumption of negotiations. [Sun Star]

"US-Libya Relations 1969-2002: A Descriptive Account" By: Abdelrahim Saleh

Friday, 14 March, 2003: Libya's ambassador to London said Thursday Libya had accepted its employees' responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. The Libyan ambassador, Mohammed al-Zwai (photo), was Libya's chief negotiator at recent meetings in London with U.S. and British officials to try to reach a political settlement in the bombing. "The sticking point that delayed agreement was Libya's acceptance of responsibility for the incident .... This problem has been solved with Libya's admitting to what its employees have done," al-Zwai told The Associated Press in Tripoli. [AP]
Friday, 14 March, 2003: Libyan oil firm Tamoil Private Limited plans to introduce southern Africa's first mobile fuel stations in Zimbabwe, as part of a partnership agreement with the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), it was learnt this week. Mohammad Azabbi, the Libyan ambassador to Zimbabwe, told the Financial Gazette that the mobile fuel stations - petrol and diesel dispensing facilities on wheels - would especially be targeted at remote areas where there are fewer or no service stations. [Financial Gazette]
Friday, 14 March, 2003: An agreement in which Libya would accept responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 could be reached within weeks. The news was revealed by relatives of victims after a meeting with a top US State Department official. But family members of the 270 people killed in the disaster said they were neither shown a draft Libyan statement they believe was under consideration, nor promised a deal would cemented. US officials said it may be weeks, if ever, before a final agreement is signed, sealed and announced. [Sky News]
Libyan-American Relations; By: Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi

Thursday, 13 March, 2003: Hopes that the Libyan government would accept responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing have been dashed. William Burns, a key member of the US State Department, told American relatives of victims of the atrocity that no deal was yet possible. He said progress had been made but the Libyan government was still refusing to accept its officials were responsible for the atrocity in which 270 people died. [BBC]
Thursday, 13 March, 2003: Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of the Libyan Leader Qadhafi, has sent a letter to the Bulgarian foreign minister, in which he insists about a change of Bulgaria's position on Iraq. "Dear friend Solomon, leaving aside your concern about the fate of the medics, I want to express my bigger concern on the looming threat for war over the Iraqi people..." the letter reportedly reads. Six Bulgarian medics, charged with intentionally infecting 393 children with HIV in a Benzhazi hospital, have been detained in Libya for almost four years. Dimitur Tsonev, government spokesman, said that Bulgaria will not change its position on Iraq. [Novinite]
Thursday, 13 March, 2003: Seeking victory or death, scores of Arab volunteers are flocking to Iraq to take part in a likely war with the United States. Dozens of self-styled "suicide attackers" from Arab countries are training at an Iraqi Special Forces military camp near the capital Baghdad and hope to join the Iraqi army in confronting any U.S.-led invasion. The volunteers came from countries including Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Tunisia. [Reuters]
Thursday, 13 March, 2003: Experts of African Petroleum Producer Countries' Association (APPA) are holding their 25th meeting since Wednesday morning in the Libyan capital Tripoli, to analyse among other issues the implementation degree of 2000/2002 action programme. [APA]
Wednesday, 12 March, 2003: Representatives of Libya, Britain, and the US have held talks on compensation for the families of victims of Pam Am Flight 103 bombing. A British Foreign Office spokeswoman told CNN Tuesday that no final agreement has been reached but said progress was made and called the session "useful." She said the delegations are now to report to their capitals and consult on what steps to take next. Relatives of the victims have said they are due to hold a meeting with U.S. State Department officials Wednesday afternoon in Washington. [CNN]
Wednesday, 12 March, 2003: Libyan dictator Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has been admitted to the select group of African leaders tasked with implementing democracy, good governance and human rights on the continent. Libya had been appointed to the heads of state and government implementation committee of Nepad, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, S. African deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad confirmed. Qadhafi seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1969 and has never permitted real, multiparty elections. [The Mercury]
Tuesday, 11 March, 2003: On the eve of a likely conflict with Iraq that the Bush administration says is part of its war on terrorism, the administration appears close to persuading Libya to admit responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. US State Department officials said Assistant Secretary of State William Burns will meet today with British and Libyan diplomats in London. Burns will return to Washington to brief U.S. relatives of the victims on Wednesday. Relatives who have sued Libya for compensation say they have been told that after more than a year of difficult negotiations, a deal is imminent. A settlement would end UN sanctions against Libya and allow victims' relatives to collect at least $5 million per family from Libya. [USA Today]
Tuesday, 11 March, 2003: OPEC on Monday was split over plans to suspend output limits should the U.S. launch war on Iraq, fueling fears of a further spike in the price of oil. Iran said it opposed a bid by Western-friendly OPEC states for a policy that Tehran says implies support for a U.S. attack, by controlling oil prices. Gulf OPEC powers Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are hoping to get backing at a Tuesday meeting of the OPEC to set aside production quotas if war stops Iraqi exports. Delegates said Iran's position was likely to find support from Libya, at least. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 11 March, 2003: Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and his Libyan counterpart, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Monday stressed the need for a "peaceful resolution" of the current US- Iraqi crisis, according to the Tunisian News Agency. [PANA]
Monday, 10 March, 2003: Arab economies are growing more slowly than populations and labor forces; and governments rarely exercise strong fiscal discipline. Unemployment hangs over the economies, with some of the politically most volatile and dysfunctional countries having the highest estimates. Algeria has an unemployment rate of 26.4 percent; Tunisia at 15.6 percent; Oman at 17.2 percent; Libya at 11.2 percent; Jordan at 14.4 percent; Morocco at 14.5 percent; and Egypt at 8.7 percent, with a propensity toward disguised unemployment everywhere. [Arab News]
Monday, 10 March, 2003: The head of Libya's OPEC delegation Abdulhafidh Zlitni (photo) told reporters on Friday he saw no need for more OPEC oil if a war halts exports from cartel-member Iraq. Asked whether he thought OPEC was set to temporarily lift quotas at its Tuesday meeting to make up for Iraqi production should a war halt Baghdad's U.N. controlled exports, Zlitni said: "Suspension of quotas, who spoke of suspension of quotas?" "There is enough oil in the market," he added. [Reuters]
Monday, 10 March, 2003: The international political system has a method for dealing with regimes that flout the UN Charter -- sanctions. It is time for the UN to consider political and other sanctions against the Bush administration. After all, other countries and regimes that have snubbed their noses at international norms of behavior have been on the receiving end of sanctions. The US heartily supported such measures against regimes in S. Africa, Rhodesia, Iran, Iraq, ... Libya, Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia, N. Korea, Afghanistan, ... Cuba, and Sudan. [IMC]

Sunday, 9 March, 2003: A press source said that 70 Saudi Arabian companies have withdrawn their applications to take part in a fair to be held in the Libyan capital Tripoli in October, following the crisis which erupted between the two states. Libya has summoned its ambassador from Saudi Arabia following a rift between Libya's leader Qadhafi and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah during the Arab summit in Egypt last week. In a report from Jeddah, the London based al-Sharq al-Awsat said that the 70 Saudi companies pulled out participation requests from the second Saudi "Quality Fair" for industrial and agricultural products. [Arabic News]
Sunday, 9 March, 2003: Creating art out of horror is never easy. But it is a challenge that has been taken up by Scottish playwright Des Dillon and theatre director Rachel Ashton, whose play Lockerbie 103 premieres in Edinburgh this week. Two hundred and seventy people died when PanAm Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), a Libyan, was convicted of the bombing, but few of the bereaved families feel satisfied with the outcome. Ashton and Dillon are not alone in suspecting a serious injustice might have been done. But if Libya didn't do it, who did? There are any number of theories, some of which are rehearsed in Lockerbie 103. [Sunday Herald]

Saturday, 8 March, 2003: In a rare action against a head of state, U.S. President Bush invoked economic sanctions Friday against President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and dozens of officials of his government on grounds they undermined the country's democratic institutions. The executive order Bush signed blocks all property and financial holdings in the United States of Mugabe and 76 government officials. Other problems leading to Bush's decision, a U.S. official said, include Zimbabwean authorities' denial of food to the country's poorest people and closer ties between Mugabe and Libya's mercurial leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [AP]
Saturday, 8 March, 2003: North Korea was receiving tactical missiles from the Soviet Union as far back as 1969, but its first Scuds reportedly came via Egypt in 1976. Egypt is believed to have supplied North Korea with Scud-B missiles in return for its support against Israel in the Yom Kippur War. In 1987-88, Iran is believed to have bought up to 100 Scud-B missiles from North Korea, adding to missiles and launchers already bought from Libya and Syria. [BBC]
Saturday, 8 March, 2003: The 2014 World Cup will be held in South America, world soccer governing body FIFA's executive committee ruled. The 2006 World Cup will take place in Germany with the 2010 event slated for Africa with six countries - South Africa, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia - bidding. The 2010 venue will be chosen in May 2004. [AFP]

Friday, 7 March, 2003: Six African countries - South Africa, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia - are to bid to host the 2010 World Cup. Fifa have sent a list of requirements to the prospective host national associations with the document including details of the essential elements that must be covered in the bid documents. The completed dossiers will be presented to Fifa on Sept. 30 with the host being named in May 2004. [Sapa-AFP]
Friday, 7 March, 2003: Libya's state-run National Company for Supply Commodities will pick the winner of a tender for 120,000 tonnes of white sugar at the weekend, a senior company official said on Thursday. The official said the company had received all the new offers at reduced prices after the firm asked bidders who made initial offers to lower their prices. [Reuters]
Friday, 7 March, 2003: The head of Somalia's transitional government, Abdelkassem Sallat Hassan arrived in Tripoli Thursday evening on a working visit of an unspecified duration, according to official sources in the Libyan capital. [PANA]
Friday, 7 March, 2003: Libyan Dinar per: US Dollar 1.19820 - Euro 1.31656 - Pound Sterling 1.92112 - Japanese Yen 97.83008 - Swiss Franc 0.89982 - Year High 1.24400 - Year Low 1.19320. [FCR]

Thursday, 6 March, 2003: Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa hopes the Libyan-Saudi dispute could be contained soon, the Egyptian Gazette reported Tuesday. "It is not in the Arab's interest to deepen rifts and row," he said, calling on all sides to bridge present gaps in view of a looming US-led war against Iraq. "We hope we could succeed soon in containing Libyan-Saudi dispute," Moussa said. In a meeting with Egyptian media on Monday, Qadhafi renewed his threat to quit the Arab League, saying he was "serious" this time in making the decision. [Xinhua]
Thursday, 6 March, 2003: Kuwaiti foreign minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad has expressed his regret over what was stated by Libya's Leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on that Kuwait is able to end the Iraqi crisis by just merely saying to America its does not want its protection. In a statement to the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Aam, the Kuwaiti minister said that the current crisis is not an Iraqi- Kuwaiti crisis, rather an Iraqi- International, noting that that the foreign bases came into Kuwait in implementation of resolutions issued by the UN Security Council. [Arabic News]
Thursday, 6 March, 2003: A convicted aide to terrorist Carlos the Jackal has gone on trial on murder charges for five attacks in France, Germany and Greece that killed a total of six people in the 1970s and 1980s. Johannes Weinrich, now 55, was head of European operations for Carlos and once topped Germany's most-wanted list. Weinrich also allegedly organized a 1983 attack on the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Athens, Greece, at Libya's request. [AP]
Thursday, 6 March, 2003: A series of meetings over the next week will heavily influence the future of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), as well as the African Union (AU). On the agenda will be the specifics of peer review including its objectives, standards, criteria and indicators. Libya who was expected last year to become one of the representatives of North Africa on Nepad's implementation committee is not expected to attend. [Business Day]
Thursday, 6 March, 2003: The ambassadors of Malaysia and Libya to the Philippines condemned on Wednesday the bombing of the Davao City International Airport that killed 21 people. Malaysian ambassador Muhammed Taufik said what made the situation appalling was that "the terrorist act was committed at a time when southern Philippines was already having problems between the MILF and the Philippine military." Libyan ambassador Salem Adam, meanwhile, said the perpetrators of the bombing must be brought to justice. [ABS-CBN]
Thursday, 6 March, 2003: Iraq's second in command called a Kuwaiti envoy a "monkey" and a "traitor" in a very public display of divisions at an Islamic forum convened to seek a unified stance against any U.S.-led war on Iraq. No one is surprised that Iraq and Kuwait are at odds or that Libya, with its hard-line pan-Arabist philosophy, would clash with pro-U.S. Saudi Arabia. But until the advent of satellite television and the fairly recent innovation of broadcasting at least parts of summits live, Arab leaders could keep their spats private. [AP]

Wednesday, 5 March, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Tuesday that he opposed recalling Libya's ambassador from Saudi Arabia. Qadhafi said he had been surprised to see a television report of Monday's recall, which followed a live TV spat between him and Saudi Crown Prince Abullah ben Abdulaziz at last weekend's Arab summit. "This matter is the responsibility of the foreign ministry," said the Libyan leader. "I believe relations don't need to be cut even in the event of war," he said. A Libyan official announced on Monday that parliament had decided to recall the ambassador from Riyadh for consultations. [AFP]

Tuesday, 4 March, 2003: A clash watched by millions of TV viewers between the Libyan head of state and the Saudi crown prince at the Arab summit sparked Monday a diplomatic crisis between the two Arab nations. Libya said it plans to recall its ambassador to Riyadh for consultations following the spat between Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the de facto Saudi leader. A Libyan official statement said the decision was taken by the Libyan parliament, the General People's Congress, which expressed its "discontent' at what it called Prince Abdullah's "aggression" towards Qadhafi. It also said the congress would review relations between Tripoli and Riyadh and Libya's membership of the Arab League. [AFP]
Tuesday, 4 March, 2003: The regime of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi poses more of a threat to the Arab world than foreign powers and must be toppled, a leading Saudi newspaper said Monday. "The continuity of this regime and others like it will pose a real and crushing danger to this (Arab) nation ... more than arrogant foreign powers," Okaz daily said in an editorial. "When we say it is time to remove the 'suspicious' regime of Qadhafi and regimes like it, we affirm there is no way to face potential dangers without this couragous and essential step," it said. Saudi newspapers on Sunday accused Qadhafi of serving the enemies of Arabs following his spat with Crown Prince Abdullah at an Arab summit in Egypt to review the Iraq crisis. [AFP]
Tuesday, 4 March, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi repeated in Cairo on Monday his intention to pull out Libya from the Arab League (AL), two days after he was cursed live on television by a Saudi royal, Egyptian official media reported. The maverick colonel told Egyptian media editors and a group of intellectuals that "his demand to withdraw from the Arab League is serious and official," the state-run MENA news agency said. Libya "is above all an African country ... the African Union (AU) is sufficient enough", he added, also proposing a "united North African state stretching from Egypt in the east to Mauritania in the west." [News International]
Monday, 3 March, 2003: Thousands of Libyans held anti-Saudi demonstrations for a second straight day in Tripoli Sunday prompting a Saudi official to warn the kingdom would tolerate no damage to its embassy in the Libyan capital. More than 6,000 people rallied near the Saudi compound as demonstrators protested a live TV spat between Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah, and Libyan leader Qadhafi. "Rid Saudi Arabia of its treacherous rulers," "Emir Abdullah is plotting against the Arab nation," the protestors chanted. A smaller protest was reported in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Television viewers across the Arab world were able to see Prince Abdullah, cursing Qadhafi at Saturday's Arab summit in Egypt. [AFP]
Monday, 3 March, 2003: Saudi newspapers Sunday accused Libyan leader Qadhafi (photo) of serving the enemies of Arabs, following his live TV spat with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah at an Arab summit in Egypt. "(Qadhafi's) mission at the summit has revealed his real intentions and his secret role of serving the enemies of the (Arab) nation," Al-Riyadh daily charged in a front-page editorial. The previous track record of Qadhafi indicates "that this personality needs to be treated by psychiatrists," Al-Riyadh added. The paper said that Qadhafi was brought to power in Libya in 1969 "by an American tank" and has exploited the Libyan people under various slogans. TV viewers across the Arab world were able to see Prince Abdullah cursing Qadhafi at the summit. [AFP]
Monday, 3 March, 2003: Libyan News Agency (JANA) reported Sunday that "the US government's resolve to topple the current regime in Iraq and destroy the country's arsenal is motivated by a perceived danger which the regime poses to countries of the Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia under US umbrella". [PANA]

Sunday, 2 March, 2003: Thousands of protestors gathered near the Saudi embassy in Tripoli Saturday to protest a live TV spat between Crown Prince Abdullah and Libyan leader Qadhafi at an Arab summit in Egypt. Television viewers across the Arab world were able to see Crown Prince Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, cursing Qadhafi at the summit before Egyptian state TV pulled the live feed. "Who exactly brought you to power?" the Saudi royal asked the Libyan leader, alluding to suggestions that his 1969 overthrow of the British-backed monarchy enjoyed US support. "You are a liar and your grave awaits you," Prince Abdullah added. [AFP]
Sunday, 2 March, 2003: The Arab summit atmosphere was strained, and tempers flared during a spat between political heavyweight Saudi Arabia and regional maverick Libya over the kingdom's hosting of U.S. forces. Saudi Arabia has been home to U.S. forces since the 1991 Gulf war. The row erupted after Libyan leader Qadhafi criticised Saudi Arabia for hosting U.S. forces. Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah walked out of the plenary session, and returned only after the presidents of Egypt, Syria and Lebanon managed to calm him down. [Reuters]
Sunday, 2 March, 2003: An Arab summit on the Iraq crisis was marred by a televised row between Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah which ended in a brief walkout by the Saudi delegation. The two Arab leaders exchanged diatribes in the full glare of the cameras before Egyptian state TV pulled the plug on its live feed . Qadhafi charged that Saudi Arabia's King Fahd had been ready to "strike an alliance with the devil" to defend the kingdom after Iraq's 1990 invasion of neighbouring Kuwait. Crown Prince Abdullah then cut in, retorting that "Saudi Arabia is not an agent of colonialism" and demanding of Qadhafi: "Who exactly brought you to power? ... You are a liar and your grave awaits you." [AFP]

Saturday, 1 March, 2003: Arab leaders said Friday they can't ask Iraq's Saddam Hussein to leave office, despite advice from the US and the feeling among many in the region that it's the only way to avert war. Privately, however, Arab diplomats said the idea has been under informal discussion ahead of an Arab League summit that convenes Saturday to debate what to do about the crisis over Iraq. Ali al-Treiki, Libya's representative to the summit preparatory meeting, said: "It is up to the Iraqi people to decide, not to the Arab summit or to Mr. Powell." [AP]
Saturday, 1 March, 2003: Arab foreign ministers continued Friday to seek to overcome differences over Iraq on the eve of a summit conference at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Kuwait and Bahrain insist that war in Iraq is inevitable and therefore the Arabs should prepare to deal with its consequences. In contrast to the Kuwait-Bahrain position, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon -- and to a lesser extent Libya and Yemen -- called for support for Baghdad's position and emphasized the need for the summit take a clear stand against war. These countries, especially Syria and Lebanon, fear the US, once done with Iraq, would target them. [UPI]

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