News and Views [ May 2003 ]

Click here for today's news

Saturday, 31 May, 2003: In Tunisia, tacit US support for President Zein al-Abedin Ben-Ali has enabled the regime to contain its Islamist opponents and to introduce sweeping economic and social reforms. Tunisia has offered the US military facilities, and generally supports Washington's positions in the region. Next door in Libya, the common view is that unless America puts Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on its "regime change" target list, the nation will not be able to develop a new leadership and build a genuinely modern state. [Gulf News]
Saturday, 31 May, 2003: The six Bulgarian medics, defendants in Libya's HIV case, sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry in Sofia insisting on speeding up their trial. The medics demand Bulgaria's government not to accept possible verdict that does not acquit them. The defendants and their relatives want the Cabinet to declare they are innocent and back them during the trial. The medics have been detained in Libya for four years on charges of deliberately infecting some four hundred Libyan children in a hospital in Benghazi with HIV. [Novinite]
Saturday, 31 May, 2003: Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his Libyan counterpart Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi discussed bilateral relations and regional issues of common interest over the phone Thursday, the Tunisian news agency (TAP) indicated Friday. [PANA]

Friday, 30 May, 2003: Some 3,000 Sudanese soldiers, police and security forces have carried out raids near Khartoum to dent the black market weapons trade from neighboring Libya, police said on Thursday. The forces, as well as customs and tax officials, took part in "a siege and inspection" raid of Libya and Abuzaid markets outside Omdurman, immediately northwest of Khartoum, police said in a statement quoted by the official press. A police officer told AFP the two markets were widely known for illicit trading in weapons usually smuggled from Libya. [AFP]
Friday, 30 May, 2003: Libyans, once again at the suggestion of their leader, have come to an idea of renaming the state. As is known, the official name of the country is Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. It was decided to abbreviate the long name. A new variant of the official name is not published yet; it is said that the word "jamahiria" will be preserved. [Pravda]
Friday, 30 May, 2003: An agreement to prospect and share oil and gas production had been signed between the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) and the German RWE-Dea company. The NOC said that this agreement covers: Three sections in the Sirte basin, two sections in Al-Butnan area and one section in Al-Kufrah basin, measuring in total 30,270 [BBC-MS]
Friday, 30 May, 2003: Bay State students who hail from terrorism-sponsoring nations would be summarily ejected from public colleges and universities under a new Republican bill that sparked accusations of a witch hunt from Islamic activists and civil libertarians. The bill would deny a taxpayer-funded education to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Cuba, N. Korea and Sudan. At least 42 current students would face expulsion under the bill, including 18 from Iran, 10 from N. Korea, six from Sudan, two from Libya, and three apiece from Cuba and Syria. [Boston Herald]
Friday, 30 May, 2003: The US will attempt to block a drive to strip media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) of it consultative status at the UN's human rights commission, the US State Department said. The move led by Cuba which brought the motion in response to an incident on March 17 when RSF members allegedly disrupted the opening of the commission's annual meeting by dropping leaflets to protest the accession of Libya to the body's chair. [AFP]

Thursday, 29 May, 2003: The human rights situation across the Middle East and North Africa was further aggravated in 2002 in the name of combatting terrorism, Amnesty International said. There was continued widespread use of torture and unfair trials, as well as judicial and extra-judicial executions... Libya was said to have released a number of political prisoners, but hundreds more reportedly remained in prison, while families of dozens were told by the authorities that their relatives had died in custody, but not when or how. [AFP]
Thursday, 29 May, 2003: Libyan People's Congress Foreign Affairs Secretary Solaiman al-Shehoumi on Tuesday received a French parliamentary delegation in Tripoli. [PANA]
Thursday, 29 May, 2003: Cyprus and Libya have signed an agreement in the field of air transport, providing the framework within which airlines from the two countries could cooperate. The agreement was signed yesterday by Cyprus' Secretary of Communications, Simeon Matsis, and the Deputy Director of the Libyan Civil Aviation Authority, Mohammed Shlebik. [M2]
Thursday, 29 May, 2003: Saadi al-Qadhafi, who will stand for the leadership of African football next year, has been named among 24 players for Libya's two African Cup qualifiers in Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) next month. Al-Saadi is the son of Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi as well as the vice president of Libya's football association and owner of the Al-Ittihad club, which won the league for a second successive year at the weekend. Libya meet Botswana in Gaborone on June 7 and then the DRC in Kinshasa on June 22. [Reuters]
Thursday, 29 May, 2003: Libya's coach Abubaker Bani on Wednesday has named 24 players for the national team: Goalkeepers: Samir Abboud (Al Ittihad), Mohamed Al Bira (Al Wehda), Luis Alejandro (Al Ittihad), Moftah Ghazala (Al Madina). Defenders: Mohamed Al Jelani (Al Nasr), Khalifa Al Magni (Al Hilal), Reda Ataworgi (Al Ahli), Seraj Ben Sheikh, Mahmoud Makhlouf, Omar Mariemi (all Al Ittihad), Sirageddin Mohamed (Al Nasr), Essam Rajab (Al Ittihad), Ramzi Sowaker (Olympic). Midfielders: Nader Abdussalam Al Tarhoni, Akram Ayed, Saadi Gaddafi (all Al Ittihad), Khaled Hussein (Al Nasr), Jihad Muntasser (Triestina, Italy), Marei Suliman (Al Ittihad), Tarek Tayeb (Club Africain, Tunisia). Strikers: Ahmed Masli (Al Nasr), Ali Milyan, Khaled Ramadan (both Al Ittihad), Ahmed Saed (Al Nasr). [Reuters]
Thursday, 29 May, 2003: The American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) welcomes the Rift Valley Institute's (RVI) report on slavery in Sudan and is urging the international community to use this information to free slaves in Sudan. In a press statement released today, RVI reports the names of over 10,000 abductees during a limited investigation in Sudan. AASG urges the human rights community to redouble its efforts and conduct further research in areas where these abducted people have been trafficked as slaves, including Libya and Uganda." [US Newswire]
Wednesday, 28 May, 2003: India has asked its mission in Libya to take up with the Libyan government the ban imposed by it on travel to and from India owing to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) scare. India's Ministry of External Affairs has directed its ambassador in Tripoli to 'take up the matter appropriately with the Libyan officials'. "This ban, unless revoked soon, would hurt the prospects of bilateral cooperation which had emerged from the mutually beneficial last session of Indo-Libyan Joint Commission," the ministry said. [IRNA]
Wednesday, 28 May, 2003: Libya has entered into a joint venture with Spain's Repsol and Austria's OMV for oil and natural gas exploration, the Libyan JANA news agency said Tuesday. Repsol and OMV signed the contract with Abdelhafidh al-Zletni (photo), secretary of the National Oil Company. The contract calls for exploration in Murzuq, Surt, and the Kufra basin. Libya currently exports about 1.3 million barrels of oil per day, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy. [AP]
Wednesday, 28 May, 2003: Libyan Footbal Federation's vice president Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi has claimed that Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen is backing his bid to become the next President of the African Football Federation (CAF). Al-Saadi, the son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is hoping to replace current incumbent Issa Hayatou when CAF rules force him to step down. "Owen said after he knew of my intentions that: 'I hope that Al-Saadi will become president of CAF'," he said. "If you don't believe me go and ask Michael Owen yourself". [This Day]
Tuesday, 27 May, 2003: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgam (photo), talks to the media upon his arrival at the European Union (EU) Mediterranean countries summit, in Iraklion on the Greek island of Crete, Monday, 26 May, 2003. Officials from Israel and the Palestinian Authority will attend the two-day summit. [AP]
Tuesday, 27 May, 2003: The Arab League (AL) on Monday welcomed a decision by Libya to drop plans to withdraw from the pan-Arab organization. "The Arab League welcomes Libya's decision not to withdraw" from the AL, the league's spokesman Hisham Yussef said. He added that the league "had not officially received from Libya a formal request to withdraw". [AFP]
Tuesday, 27 May, 2003: Libya is looking into ways of providing fuel to Zimbabwe to ease the shortages crippling the country. Ali al-Triki (photo), Libya's minister for African unity told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that a team of Libyans was in the country "working on modalities of how to bring fuel to Zimbabwe". Triki was speaking after a meeting with President Robert Mugabe, the radio said. [News24]

Monday, 26 May, 2003: Libya has dropped its plan to withdraw from the Arab League, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in Tripoli at the end of a meeting with Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi. "Libya has renounced its withdrawal... and this decision was obtained by my personally insisting on this with Mr. Qadhafi, who agrees," Mubarak told reporters. [AFP]
Monday, 26 May, 2003: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks in Tripoli Sunday with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on post-war Iraq and developments in the Middle East, officials said. Egyptian officials in Libya told AFP the two leaders also discussed the Sudan peace process, bilateral relations, and the situation in the Arab League. [AFP]
Monday, 26 May, 2003: Israel has captured an Egyptian fishing boat bound for the Palestinian Authority that officials said transported rockets, detonators and computer "how to" disks for suicide bombers. Also on board was a Hizbullah rocket expert. The boat left Alexandria for Libya, where it picked up rocket components. From there, the vessel went to the Lebanese coast, where the Hizbullah operative boarded. The operative was identified as Hamad Mussa. [The Tribune]
Monday, 26 May, 2003: A British columnist said on Sunday that he is sickened by the hero-worship showered on South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela. Mandela is not perfect and not a saint, Peter Hitchens wrote in The Mail on Sunday. "Mandela's first wife only found out that he divorced her after he placed an advertisement in a newspaper. He then married the ghastly Winnie". Hitchens pointed out that Mandela was friendly with some of the "most vile despots and regimes in the world, including Libya's Qadhafi and Cuba's Castro". [News24]
Sunday, 25 May, 2003: The Libyan authorities have launched the Tourism Development Bank (TDB) whose shares are held at 80 percent by the private sector. TDB management committee chairman Muftah Shaibi told PANA that his institution would finance the construction of hotels, clubs, restaurants and cafes under a profit-sharing scheme. The TDB capital subscription published on Sunday by Libyan dailies showed that the minimum stake per person was 300 shares, while the maximum stood at 3,000 shares, valued at 10 Libyan dinars a share. [PANA]
Sunday, 25 May, 2003: Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben-Ali, and Libyan Leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi expressed their "deep preoccupation over terrorism phenomenon." This was expressed in a joint statement issued yesterday. The statement which was issued in conclusion of a five day visit by al-Qadhafi to Tunisia said the two leaders "renewed their condemnation of terrorism in all its shapes and forms." The statement stressed "the importance of convening an international conference to fight terrorism under the auspices of the UN." [Arabic News]
Sunday, 25 May, 2003: Bechtel Group Inc, chosen by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as the main US contractor for reconstruction work in Iraq, denied reports that it has been privately told by US officials to only hand out work to countries which backed the war in Iraq. "We have no such instructions," Terry Valenzano, head of Bechtel operations in Kuwait, told the Wall Street Journal. Aside from countries banned by US laws -- Iran, Libya, Syria, North Korea and Cuba -- "the list is open". [AFX]

ACUS: U.S.-Libyan Relations: Toward Cautious Reengagement

Saturday, 24 May, 2003: Osama bin Laden's terrorist network has been pursuing biological weapons research program and is seeking chemical weapons, the Pentagon has told the United States Congress. Other terrorist groups and dozens of countries also are pursuing chemical and biological weapons, which could be used in a regional conflict or terrorist attack, the military said in a report. The report says Libya also is trying to make biological and chemical weapons but has not had much success. It says Libya resumed contacts with outside suppliers for possible chemical weapons material after the United Nations lifted sanctions against it in 1999. [AP]
Saturday, 24 May, 2003: The son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi announced on Friday he will nominate himself to head the African Football Confederation CAF when current Chairman Issa Hayatou's term ends in 2004. "More than 20 African (football) unions support my nomination for the post," said Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo), captain of the Libyan national soccer team and deputy chief of the Libyan Football Federation. [AP]
Saturday, 24 May, 2003: Libya partially lifted a ban on overseas Filipino workers due to fears of SARS contamination. Libyan Ambassador Salem Adam said Filipino workers for gas projects in Western Libya will be exempt from the ban effective Friday. He said, however, that these workers still need to present medical certificates that they are free from SARS. [ABS-CBN]

Friday, 23 May, 2003: Declaring that Libya has changed its behavior on terrorism, a panel of experts called Thursday for U.S. reengagement to prevent the country from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. The panel said in a report that U.S. policy is based on Cold War concepts that are "outdated." "By all indications, Libya has changed its policy on terrorism," said the report, titled "U.S.-Libyan Relations: Toward Cautious Reengagement." The report was sponsored by the Atlantic Council, which makes policy recommendations on international issues. [AP]
Friday, 23 May, 2003: Preparations are underway for Libya to airlift relief supplies to Algeria following an earthquake that rocked the capital Algiers Wednesday, the secretary of the Libyan general popular committee, Embarak al-Shamekh disclosed Thursday. [PANA]
Friday, 23 May, 2003: Italian Serie A team Perugia is eager to sign up the soccer-mad son of Libyan leader Qadhafi. Perugia's president Luciano Gaucci told Gazzetta dello Sport that he was impressed by the playing skills of Al-Saadi and would meet him this week to discuss a possible transfer. Gaucci's view of al-Saadi's playing skills put him at odds with the former coach of Libya's national team, Franco Scoglio, who was sacked from post last year. Scoglio says he was removed because he refused to select al-Saadi. "I would never have let him play, even for a minute," he was quoted as saying by the Italian press. "As a footballer he's worthless." [Reuters]
Thursday, 22 May, 2003: Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi, vice-president of Libya's Football Federation, intends to be a candidate in the Confederation of African Football's (Caf) presidential elections, scheduled for January 2004. Al-Saadi will formally announce his intention at a press conference in Tripoli on Thursday. Al-Saadi is the son of Libyan president Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and is an international footballer. [BBC]
Thursday, 22 May, 2003: Libya's Secretary of the Peoples Committee of Finance met yesterday with Tawfeek Bakar the Minister of Finance in Tunisia. During the meeting the two sides discussed the development of cooperartion especially in banking and investment. [JANA]
Thursday, 22 May, 2003: Al-Ittihad has emerged clear winners of the Libyan Football Premier League 2003 season, three weeks before the end of the competition. [PANA]

Wednesday, 21 May, 2003: The US further eased strict 12-year-old restrictions on travel to Iraq, allowing US lawmakers and their staffs to legally visit the country on their US passports, the State Department said. 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]

Libyan Opposition Groups: A Declaration Of Agreement..

Tuesday, 20 May, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived Monday in Tunisia for a "working visit" on the invitation of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the TAP news agency reported. Qadhafi travelled by road to neighbouring Tunisia, where he was met at the border town of Ras Jedir by Interior Minister Hedi M'henni, TAP said. [AFP]
Tuesday, 20 May, 2003: A court in the Netherlands, has freed four suspected Islamic militants. They were among 12 men on trial for having alleged links to al-Qaeda. The 12 men, who come from nine countries, including Libya, Egypt, Iraq and Morocco, were arrested last year. [BBC]
Tuesday, 20 May, 2003: The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has urged the Libyan President Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to defer Libya's decision to withdraw from the Arab League. King Hamad discussed this issue with the Libyan leader in a telephonic conversation. Bahrain holds the current chairmanship of the Arab League. [Khaleej Times]
Tuesday, 20 May, 2003: African foreign ministers are set to gather in Sun City, South Africa, for an African Union executive council meeting, on Wednesday. This meeting will be preceded by the Scale of Assessments Meeting to be attended by Foreign Ministers of Namibia, Malawi, Chad, Mauritius, Equitorial-Guinea, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria and Libya. [BuaNews]
Monday, 19 May, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was expected to visit Tunisia on Monday, a presidential spokesman said Sunday without saying how long the trip would last. Qadhafi was invited by Tunisian President Zine El-Abidine Ben-Ali and the aim of the trip was "to boost fraternal ties and cooperation," he added. The two countries already enjoy good ties. [AFP]
Monday, 19 May, 2003: African Cup holders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Al-Hilal in Libya Saturday. Al-Hilal took a 13th-minute lead through Sherif Magenni in Benghazi, and Mourad Erraji levelled for the Red Devils on the stroke of half-time. Omar Diop restored the Libyans' lead with 59 minutes gone, only for Erraji to strike again nine minutes later and leave Wydad well placed to win the return in two weeks. [IAfrica]
Monday, 19 May, 2003: The United States has captured a major military official under the deposed regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Gen. Kamal Al-Tikriti was secretary of the elite Republic Guard U.S. Al-Tikriti was number 10 on the list of 55 most wanted Iraqis. So far 23 members of that list have been captured. U.S. officials said many of Saddam's aides were believed to have fled to Syria. They said some of them left Syria for Lebanon and Libya. [Tribune]
Sunday, 18 May, 2003: OPEC oil production without Iraq increased three percent in April over March to 26.752 million barrels per day (bpd), the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reports in its Monday edition. "Lost Iraqi production was replaced by increased flows of 450,000 bpd from Venezuela with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya also each lifting output by 100,000 bpd." [AFP]
Sunday, 18 May, 2003: Under a legislative proposal likely to win final approval next month, Pennsylvania would become the first state with a permanent oversight board to screen for state investments in companies doing business with terrorist regimes. The aim is to dump state pension fund holdings in companies that do business in or with such countries as Libya, Iran, Sudan, Syria and North Korea -- those identified by the US as terrorist-sponsoring regimes. [Tribune]

Saturday, 17 May, 2003: The promotion and protection of children's rights in Eritrea, Cyprus, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Libya, Jamaica, Morocco, Syria and Kazakhstan will be reviewed as the Committee on the Rights of the Child meets in Geneva from 19 May to 6 June 2003. The countries scheduled to come before the Committee at this session are among the 192 to have ratified or acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. [UN]
Saturday, 17 May, 2003: The fourth summit of Africa's first ladies began in the Equatorial Guinean capital Malabo amid high drama as part of a wall collapsed, injuring at least two children attending the opening ceremony. Although 50 of Africa's first ladies had been invited, only four attended. Libya was represented by a minister. [Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's wife Safiyah (photo) did not attend the summit]. [SAPA]
Saturday, 17 May, 2003: Former Africa's Cup title holders face away fixtures of varying difficulty Sunday when the second round of the African Champions League kicks off. Cup holders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco did not impress when eliminating minnows Nasr Sebkha of Mauritania, and Al-Hilal of Libya should provide even tougher opposition in Libya. [AFP]
Saturday, 17 May, 2003: A dozen years after the Cold War's close raised hopes for an end to the nuclear threat, the Bush administration is embarking on a quest for a new generation of nuclear bombs that are smaller, less powerful - and that the Pentagon might actually use in battle. In its Nuclear Posture Review of 2001, the administration urged development of a wide range of new nuclear capabilities, and said the US might, in some circumstances, use nuclear weapons against countries that do not have them: Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq. [Los Angeles Times]
Friday, 16 May, 2003: Libyan ambassador to Uganda Abdallah Abujeldain has criticised members of parliament probing the allocation of gazetted land to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) for failure to appreciate Libya's aid to Uganda. Libyan president Col. Qadhafi is funding the construction of a multi-million mosque complex at Old Kampala on the disputed land. The Ministry of Tourism petitioned Parliament, saying UMSC had encroached on two acres of land gazetted for a national monument, Fort Lugard, Uganda's first museum. [New Vision]
Friday, 16 May, 2003: Libyan Ambassador to Iran Ali Maria met in Tehran with Vice-President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hojjatoleslam Mohammad-Ali Abtahi and submitted to him a message from Libya's high-ranking officials. Maria said that Libyan officials are making efforts to offer explicit and transparent reports on some of the existing problems to Iranian officials. [IRNA]
Thursday, 15 May, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi renewed his calls Wednesday for establishing an Israeli-Palestinian state under the name of "Israteen" to resolve the Middle East conflict. Qadhafi said the solution was plausible on condition of allowing the repatriation of Palestinian refugees from wherever they were. Qadhafi first made his proposal at the Arab summit held in Amman in 2001. It was since made part of his "White Book" published on his private internet Web site. His suggestion "guaranteed the settlement of the Middle East conflict as the new Israteen state would become member of the Arab League," Qadhafi said. [UPI]
Wednesday, 14 May, 2003: In Malta, a young man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend more than 20 times and left her to bleed to death after deciding that she was better dead than with another man was yesterday jailed for 25 years. Walid Bazena, 23, from Libya, and Rachel Muscat had been seeing each other for years but by August 12, 2002, the relationship had been over for about a year. On that day, Muscat and Bazena got in touch by phone and they met some time after 6 p.m. When Bazena realised that Muscat would not go back to him, he decided that he loved her too much to let her go and that if she would not have him, no one else could have her. [Times Of malta]
Wednesday, 14 May, 2003: Eritrea has denied reports of a planned meeting in Libya between President Isayas Afewerki and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir. The Sudanese president visited Tripoli last week and there were reports in the Sudanese and foreign press that Afewerki would meet Bashir and the Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in a bid to mend strained relations between Khartoum and Asmara. [IRIN]
Wednesday, 14 May, 2003: Scotland's North Sea oil fields are the world's hottest spot for new exploration in 2003, according to an industry report. Boosted by a raft of government initiatives aimed at bringing life back to ageing North Sea assets, data from research firm Robertson reveals that the UK is the country most likely to see oil investments this year - pushing Australia and Libya into second and third places respectively. [The Scotsman]
Wednesday, 14 May, 2003: North Korea is believed to have exported $580 million worth of missiles to Iran, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates in 2001, the U.S. military said Tuesday. The U.S. government also believes North Korea traded in narcotics and counterfeit dollars, the military official in Seoul said. While North Korea has denied being involved in drug trafficking, it has said it has the right to export missiles. [AP]

Tuesday, 13 May, 2003: Twelve suspected Islamic militants accused of helping to recruit al-Qaeda fighters in the Netherlands have gone on trial on a string of charges including "helping the enemy in a time of armed conflict". The suspects -- four Algerians and a Frenchman, Moroccan, Libyan, Iraqi, Egyptian, Turk, Mauritanian and a Dutchman -- are accused of giving financial and logistical support to al-Qaeda and recruiting fighters. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 13 May, 2003: Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo met Monday in Tripoli with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on wide-ranging issues including the African Union (AU) and peace efforts on the continent, diplomatic sources said in the Libyan capital. [PANA]
Tuesday, 13 May, 2003: Iran's President Mohammad Khatami who is visiting Lebanon this week met the speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri, who said they discussed the fate of Mussa al-Sadr, a top Shiite imam who went missing during a visit to Libya in August 1978. [AFP]
Tuesday, 13 May, 2003: Libyan investors are coming to Zimbabwe at the end of the month to re-open stalled negotiations on the acquisition of assets, including the strategic Mutare to Harare fuel pipeline. Government sources this week said officials from oil conglomerate, Tamoil, together with other Libyan investors, were edgy after President Mugabe's Independence Day interview when he hinted at his retirement. "They would like to secure assets as soon as possible to protect themselves against any eventuality," a source said. [The Zimbabwe Independent]

Monday, 12 May, 2003: Belarus and Libya are considering an expansion of their defense cooperation that could include new weapons sales. Defense cooperation talks between the two countries were renewed amid the visit by Belarus Defense Minister to Libya. "Libya is not looking to purchase ordinary conventional weapons systems," a Western diplomatic source said. "What they seek is strategic capabilities in intermediate-range missiles and nonconventional warheads. They don't see any real purpose in buying more tanks or planes." [MENL]
Monday, 12 May, 2003: Jordan's military prosecutor charged 11 people, including Libyans and Syrians, with the murder of US diplomat Laurence Foley in October. The trial is scheduled to start later this month. Four of those charged, including key suspects Salem Saad bin Soueid (photo,) Libyan, and Yasser Freihat, Jordanian, were also charged of illegal possession of Kalashnikov rifles with the intent to use them illictly. But the charge sheet, a copy of which was received by AFP, did not mention any ties to Al-Qaeda. The arrests of Bin Soueid and Freihat were announced in December by Jordan's information minister, who said that the pair were both members of Al-Qaeda. [AFP]
Monday, 12 May, 2003: Hong Kong ports are being used to smuggle weapons to the repressive Liberian regime, using the timber trade as a foil for the illicit business, the human rights and environmental group Global Witness said. The weapons are used to fuel conflict and human rights abuses in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. China is a major importer of Liberian timber and the funds raised are used to buy weapons from Eastern Europe and Libya. [AFP]

Sunday, 11 May, 2003: Libya has decided to freeze its dealings with the Arab League, prior to withdrawing from the body that groups all Arab countries, the official Libyan news agency JANA reported Saturday. "The ministry of African Unity notified Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, that it is preparing a memo ... for Libya to withdraw from the league," JANA said. Moussa left Libya on Saturday after a 24-hour visit in which he asked Libyan leader Qadhafi to drop his long-mooted plan to withdraw from the league, JANA reported. [AP]
Sunday, 11 May, 2003: French coach Troussier is interested in an offer from Morocco and will announce his decision by the end of May. Troussier, who coached Japan from 1998 until last year's World Cup, told France Soir he had also received proposals from Qatar and Libya. [BBC]

Saturday, 10 May, 2003: A U.S. offer to establish a free trade zone with the Middle East is open to any country in the region that is willing to make the necessary economic reforms, a senior Bush administration official said on Friday. Middle East countries first must obtain membership in the World Trade Organization. The official said the initiative could eventually even be extended to Syria and Libya, which are currently subject to U.S. economic sanctions. [Reuters]
Saturday, 10 May, 2003: Countries like Iran (and Libya, Syria and the many other nations seeking weapons of mass destruction) noted that the US invaded Iraq -- a nation without nuclear weapons -- but treated North Korea much more gingerly. Perhaps the main reason the neo-conservatives pressed for an invasion of Iraq was to achieve a "demonstration effect." Their thinking was that other rogue nations would be intimidated and improve their behavior. [UPI]
Saturday, 10 May, 2003: American Oil services giant Halliburton, once run by Vice President Cheney, already under fire over accusations that its White house ties helped win a major Iraqi oil contract, has admitted that a subsidiary paid a multi-million dollar bribe to a Nigerian official. On Tuesday, US Congressman Henry Waxman also criticized Halliburton for dealings with countries such as Iran, Iraq and Libya, cited by Washington as state sponsors of terrorism. [AFP]
Saturday, 10 May, 2003: Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates have all barred the entry of overseas workers from the Philippines due to fears of the SARS disease. Last month, Libya imposed a ban on the entry of Filipino workers due to fears of SARS. [AFP]

Friday, 9 May, 2003: Libyan health authorities on Thursday sent back to Cairo a Thai passenger who arrived from Egypt with possible symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Cairo International Airport officials said Kannithet Thonghci, 46, was denied entry into Tripoli, Libya, because of a high fever, one of the SARS symptoms along with a dry cough and breathing trouble. More than 500 deaths have been attributed to SARS worldwide. [AP]
Friday, 9 May, 2003: The UN Human Rights Commission continues to marginalize itself. Almost as if it were a reward for Fidel Castro's dispatch of 78 human rights activists and political opponents to prison for long terms, Cuba won re-election to the commission. Cuba joins such paragons of human rights as Libya (its chairman), Zimbabwe and Sudan. [The Cinicinnati Post]
Friday, 9 May, 2003: A House committee approved legislation Thursday that would offer Palestinians substantial economic and humanitarian aid if they follow a U.S.-backed international blueprint for peace with Israel. The bill also urges President Bush to establish a "Democracy Caucus" at the U.N. to prevent U.S. adversaries from assuming important positions. Lawmakers were outraged when Libya assumed the chairmanship of the U.N. Human Rights Commission and Cuba was later re-elected to the commission. [AP]
Friday, 9 May, 2003: The World Health Organization (WHO) Friday welcomed the call by African health ministers for "appropriate responses" to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and pledged its continued support. At their 26-30 April meeting in Tripoli, Libya, the ministers had called for more intensive advocacy on SARS, the mobilization and deployment of resources to keep the disease at bay, and collective action through regional cooperation. [WHO]
Friday, 9 May, 2003: European experts and their Arab counterparts are gathered in the Libyan capital Tripoli for a preparatory meeting of the working group responsible for dialogue between Europe and the Arab world in education and culture. [PANA]
Friday, 9 May, 2003: After gaining access to business in Iraq, American oil services giant Halliburton also hopes to be allowed to enter Libya and Iran. US sanctions have prevented the company from working in these countries. In Iraq, Halliburton will focus first on repairs to vital infrastructure such as pipelines and pumping stations that are needed to move Iraqi oil to markets. After the fall of Hussein, it is hoped that relations with Libya could be normalized. [Neftegaz]
Friday, 9 May, 2003: Some of the biggest names in Information Technology (IT) security from around the world will gather in Dubai next October when the Etisalat Academy hosts MEITSEC 2003 (Middle East IT Security Conference), October 4-9, 2003. Over 300 IT professionals from around the Arab world and elsewhere attended last year's event, including the UAE and all the Gulf Cooperation Council states, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Libya. [Mena Report]
Friday, 9 May, 2003: Libya has corrected a previously issued official selling price (OSP) for its Brega crude oil in May to Dated -5 cents from the initially reported Dated -10 cents, trading sources said on Thursday. Other prices remained unchanged. [Reuters]
Friday, 9 May, 2003: Libyan Dinar: US Dollar 1.2031, Euro 1.38113, Pound Sterling 1.92373 Japanese Yen 97.17397, Swiss Franc 0.91581, Year High 1.3152, Year Low 1.1932. [Forex]
Thursday, 8 May, 2003: Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans Frontieres, RSF), a French-based watchdog organization, is beside itself with anger after releasing their annual report on May 3 giving the less-than-spectacular verdict for journalists in the Middle East. No Middle Eastern country has conditions better than "noticeable problems" on the RSF scale. Syria, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are listed as a "very serious situation." According to RSF,   journalists in these countries sometimes face imprisonment or worse. [Iowa State Daily]
Thursday, 8 May, 2003: Halliburton, the oil giant once headed by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, has done business in Iran, Iraq and Libya for years despite US embargoes. A letter from US Congressman Henry Waxman, obtained on Tuesday, said Halliburton's dealings with countries cited by the US as state sponsors of terrorism or members of the "axis of evil" dates back to the 1980s. The dealings "appear to have continued during the period between 1995 and 2000, when Cheney headed the company; and they are apparently ongoing even today," said Waxman. [F2]

Wednesday, 7 May, 2003: Anti-terrorist police in London searched the home of a former associate of Libya's Colonel Qadhafi yesterday as it was claimed that dozens of British Muslims were ready to die in suicide bombings. Officers swooped on Altaf Abbasi's home during raids aimed at smashing a possible anti-Israeli terrorist network in Britain. Abbasi is known for his role in a bizarre scandal linking Qadhafi to miners' leader Arthur Scargill. [The Mirror]
Wednesday, 7 May, 2003: Libya and Sudan have shown interest in playing Uganda's Cranes later this month in African Nations Cup build-up games. "The football federations of Sudan and Libya have revealed interest of playing games with us but we still await official reports from them," FUFA assistant secretary Zubair Galiwango said. [The New Vision]


Tuesday, 6 May, 2003: The "fog of uncertainty" characterising relations between Libya and The Gambia, has thickened considerably, as Gambia decides to close her Embassy in Tripoli. The steady rate of deterioration in Gambia-Libya relations began to be noticed several months ago when Marina Parade, which was changed to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Avenue was changed back to its original name. The proprietors of Bonacta, a Libyan business interest just astride the American Embassy along Kairaba Avenue were recently given notice to transfer after the owners were allegedly requested by the U.S Embassy to send them packing from there. [The Independent]
Tuesday, 6 May, 2003: A comedy short movie has been produced in Egypt about Saddam Hussein's top spin doctor Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf, who became a global celebrity for his persistent refusal to admit US troops were in Baghdad. The 12-minute film, titled "I am not Sahhaf," tells the story of a man of the street who admired the former Iraqi information minister so much that he ends up thinking he is Sahhaf. The film will be broadcast on Arab television channels soon, its producer Abu al-Qassem Omar Rageh, a Libyan, told AFP. [AFP]

Monday, 5 May, 2003: Libya has proposed a draft constitution for a tripartite union of Libya, Sudan and Egypt. The proposal came during Saturday's brief visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Tripoli, the official SUNA news agency quoted Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail as saying. The Libyan side led by President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi put forward for discussion with the Sudanese delegation a draft constitution for unity of the two countries and Egypt. [AFP]
Monday, 5 May, 2003: For Naser al-Zuway, a refugee from Libya who now lives in Cabramatta, Australia, and is struggling to find work, life just doesn't seem to be getting any easier. The 32-year-old fled Libya in 1995 after he was thrown out of university for his pro-democracy political activities. Many of his friends who had also been vocal in their opposition to the suppressive Libyan regime were arrested. So, too, was his own father when authorities came searching for the young engineering student but could not find him in the family home. So Mr Zuway paid a people smuggler $15,000, and came to Australia in 1998. After one failed attempt at deporting Mr Zuway to Libya - he ate the first page of his passport to stop being sent back - he was granted permanent status as a refugee, with some help from Amnesty International. [SMH]
Monday, 5 May, 2003: Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa is to discuss the pan-Arab organization's future in the light of recent Middle East changes during a visit to Qatar. Mussa told journalists Sunday he would also discuss with Emir Hamad Al-Thani the situations in Iraq and the Palestinian territories. Following his visit to Qatar, Mussa is to kick off a tour of North African countries. Mussa is expected first in Algiers, followed by stops in Tunisia and Libya. [AFP]

MENAS: Libya: Reform Programme In Doubt

Sunday, 4 May, 2003: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Sirt, Libya, making an unscheduled visit for talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Arab countries' roles after the war in Iraq, an official source said. Sudanese media had indicated earlier that al-Bashir would also meet his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afeworki. Earlier this week, Sudan accused Eritrea of involvement in recent violent incidents in Al-Fasher, capital of North Darfur State. [AFP]
Sunday, 4 May, 2003: It was the 1980s, and Maher Hathout needed money for the Muslim community in Los Angeles, USA. Saudi Arabia, Libya and other governments were offering millions of dollars to help build mosques and Islamic schools in America. But Hathout refused the donations. "We cannot be an extension of, or serve the agenda of, any other country," he said. These days, debate among U.S. Muslim leaders about whether to accept money from foreign sources has gained urgency as the community has been scrutinized unfairly, its members say for any links to extremists because of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Iraq war. [AP]

Saturday, 3 May, 2003: Commenting on Libya's acceptance of "civil responsibility" for the 1988 explosion over Lockerbie and its willingness to pay $2.7 billion in compensation, British Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien said that while ongoing talks appeared to be "drawing toward a conclusion," there were still details to be agreed. "We have still got some final discussions to have with them, ... we need to be a little bit cautious at this stage," he said. [AP]
Saturday, 3 May, 2003: Libyan newspapers commented at length Thursday on the international Labour Day, dismissing it as "a day of fraud and imposture". [PANA]
Saturday, 3 May, 2003: Papers in the Middle East reflect a growing anxiety over America's "roadmap" for peace. Arabic editorials reveal a deep-seated mistrust of the plan and question America's true intentions for the region. "How can the Arabs be convinced of the USA's "love", when they see the USA always siding with Israel?," Al-Jamahiriyah [Libya] said. [BBC]
Saturday, 3 May, 2003: Syria has been smuggling out aides of Saddam Hussein to Belarus, Lebanon, North Africa and other countries. According to Western intelligence and Lebanese opposition sources, the Iraqis - including Saddam's wife, Sajida and her three children - were given travel documents and placed on passenger flights to Libya and Belarus. [GD]
Saturday, 3 May, 2003: US White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that Cuba's re-election to the UN Rights Commission was "like putting Al Capone in charge of bank security". He said the commission "cannot expect to have Libya be its chair, to re-elect Cuba, and not to have people wonder if they really do stand for human rights or not". Rights campaigners fear the Commission is becoming increasingly dominated by countries known to violate human rights. [BBC]
Friday, 2 May, 2003: Argentina defeated Libya 3-1 in a friendly in Tripoli. Saviola, Riquelme and Aimar were the goalscorers. Tareq Tain equalised for Libya in the 65th minute, but the home side's joy was short-lived. 25,000 fans packed into The October 11th Stadium. The Argentinians were reportedly paid $1 million for their participation in the game. [Planet Football]
Friday, 2 May, 2003: US Secretary of State Colin Powell wants US terrorism sanctions against Iraq to be dropped, the State Department said. However, until a new local government is formed in Baghdad, Iraq will remain one of the seven nations designated by Washington as "state sponsors of terrorism," he said. Iran, Cuba, Libya, N. Korea, Sudan and Syria, were all renamed to the department's annual blacklist, inclusion on which brings with it a variety US sanctions. [AFP]
Friday, 2 May, 2003: Libya has lowered its official selling prices for most of its crude oil grades for May, cutting benchmark Es-Sider by 30 cents to Dated -65 cents, while other grades were cut by 20-35 cents, trading sources said on Thursday. Bouri was left unchanged. [Reuters]
Friday, 2 May, 2003: At the close of their conference in Tripoli, Libya, African health ministers Wednesday urged their countries to adopt a common stance on the problem of brain drain, and on support from the World Fund for the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. [PANA]
2003 Tibra Awards

Thursday, 1 May, 2003: A U.S. State Department annual report released Wednesday said terrorist attacks were down overall last year -- the lowest level since the 1960s -- but that the world is still a dangerous place. The report, called Patterns of Global Terrorism, said that although Syria, Sudan and Libya had taken steps to combat terrorism, they had not done enough to be taken off the list of "state sponsors of terrorism". [CNN]
Thursday, 1 May, 2003: Libya's move in saying it accepts civil liability for the Lockerbie airliner bombing and will pay 2.7 billion dollars in damages was dictated by new developments on the world scene, notably the US conquest of Iraq, analysts in neighbouring Egypt said. "Libya has opted for a more realistic political approach, dictated by developments in the balance of forces internationally," the editor of the Egyptian government-owned periodical Al-Mussawar told AFP. Makram Mohamed Ahmed, who is close to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, added: "It is an attempt on Libya's part to bring itself into line with changes on the international scene. [AFP]
Thursday, 1 May, 2003: The British government and families of victims of Pan Am Flight 103 responded cautiously to Libya's claims that it has accepted "civil responsibility" for the 1988 explosion over Lockerbie and is willing to pay $2.7 billion in compensation. A spokesman for the victims' families said they had heard nothing new from their lawyers regarding the deal. [AP]
Thursday, 1 May, 2003: Libya is not inclined to lift the travel ban against Filipino workers bound for Tripoli even after the Philippine government protested the country's "unfair and discriminatory" advisory, an embassy report said. Philippine Embassy officials met on Monday with Libyan Foreign Ministry Director for Asia and Australia Galousie Mohammad to convey the government's concern on the travel restriction it is imposing on Filipino workers. [Asia Pulse]
Thursday, 1 May, 2003: Libya hope their World Cup dream - qualification in 2006 and potential hosting of the 2010 event - can come a little step closer with a strong showing in their friendly against two-time champions Argentina. The vice-president of the Libyan Football Federation Saadi al-Qadhafi, son of President Qadhafi, has persuaded the South Americans to provide top-rank opposition for his side - induced by a reported payment of one million dollars. [AFP]
To send me the latest news or views please click here:
Back to: Libya: Our Home