News and Views [ September 2003 ]

Click here for today's news

Tuesday, 30 September, 2003: Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said Sunday Libya was seeking to lure foreign investment, particularly in the oil sector, and to resume normal relations with the U.S. within eight months. "There are signs indicating that a return to normal American-Libyan relations will occur in the next eight months," Ghanem told AFP. Washington and Tripoli have not had diplomatic relations since 1981. Despite the recent lifting of international sanctions against Tripoli, Washington decided to maintain its own sanctions, imposed since 1986. [AFP]
Tuesday, 30 September, 2003: A U.S. citizen with ties to several American Muslim groups was in federal custody Monday after allegations that he has had prohibited dealings with Libya. Agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI took Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi into custody Sunday as he returned to the US at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia. The criminal complaint charges that in December 1999, November 2000 and August 2001, Alamoudi did "willfully attempt to violate the International Economic Emergency Powers Act," which imposed sanctions on commerce with Libya in 1986. [CNN]
Tuesday, 30 September, 2003: American Federal agents say that in August, British customs agents stopped Abdurahman Alamoudi at London's Heathrow Airport while he was trying to board a flight to Damascus, Syria. They discovered $340,000 in cash. Alamoudi told them he had arranged a sizable cash donation for the American Muslim Foundation on his trip to London. He said that he had received the money in his London hotel room after getting a funding commitment from the Islamic Call Society on his last visit to Tripoli. U.S. authorities consider the Islamic Call Society an agency controlled by the Libyan government. Alamoudi told the British officials that he had traveled to Libya at least 10 times to negotiate financing for the foundation. [CNN]
Tuesday, 30 September, 2003: The patriarch of Egypt's Coptic Christians, Pope Shenuda III, on Monday received the Qadhafi human rights prize, named after Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The 192,000-dollar award went to Shenuda "for the national and humanitarian positions he has adopted and his role in forging a constructive dialogue between religions", organisers said. Pope Shenuda, who was scheduled to meet Qadhafi, led mass after being handed the award in front of an invited audience. In a first for Libya, the mass was broadcast on state radio. [AFP]
Tuesday, 30 September, 2003: Libya, aiming to convert its socialist-style economy to market rules, plans to privatise about 360 state-owned companies worth billions of dollars from next year, Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem said on Monday. "The participation of foreign companies in the privatisation process is very welcome," he told Reuters in an interview. "More than 50 companies will be opened to foreign direct investment because they're too big and heavily capitalised for local investors to buy them," he said. These firms operate in the petrochemicals, steel, cement and agriculture sectors and "they are worth billions, billions (of dollars)," he said. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 30 September, 2003: A boatload of stranded Australian sheep could end up in Libya. Negotiations with up to 10 countries are continuing about the plight of the 56,000 sheep which have now been aboard the MV Cormo Express for eight weeks. Libya is one of those countries, along with others such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, to have expressed an interest in the sheep which are worth around $US100 a head. [The Age]
Tuesday, 30 September, 2003: A Bulgarian nurse was found hung in her apartment in the Libyan city of Benghazi, foreign ministry spokesman Lyubomir Todorov said. He identified the woman as Diana G.V. Her body was found last Thursday. She had suffered from a mental disorder. [BNN]

Monday, 29 September, 2003: Indonesia and Libya have signed a barter trade deal involving Libyan oil for various Indonesian light industrial goods worth an estimated 40 million dollars a month. The deal was signed on Saturday during Indonesian President Megawati Sukarno Putri's visit to Libya, said the Jakarta Post. "The deal covers 5,000 barrels of Libyan crude oil per day for our commodities such as building materials, textiles, furniture and military accessories," said Indonesian Minister of trade Rini Soewandi, who accompanied the president to Tripoli. [IRIB]
Monday, 29 September, 2003: The six African countries bidding to host the 2010 World Cup Finals face their second deadline in Zurich on Tuesday when they hand over their bid documents to FIFA. Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Tunisia are each scheduled to make a 45-minute presentation to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, providing details of their plans and documentation, including government guarantees and commercial contracts. [The Star]
Monday, 29 September, 2003: Al-Ahli now leads the Libyan football League 14-team table with 12 points from four games, after beating al-Madina 2-0 at the weekend. [PANA]
Monday, 29 September, 2003: Chinese President Hu Jintao announced the appointment of new ambassadors ... Huang Jiemin replaces Luo Xingwu as the new ambassador to Libya. [Xinhua]

Sunday, 28 September, 2003: Two Libyans standing trial in Egypt pleaded not guilty to "insulting and aggressing" a public official for allegedly trying to attack Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal in a Cairo hotel. Fathi Beshir Saad, 25, and Mahmud Al-Beshir Ahmad, 27, were arrested by Egyptian security forces after they confronted Prince Saud on Sept. 8 in a hotel lobby as he was on his way to an Arab League meeting. [Arab News]
Sunday, 28 September, 2003: Libya expressed on Saturday its support for Indonesia's territorial integrity and promised to assist Jakarta in its efforts to put an end to the separatist movement in Aceh. "(Qadhafi) said Libya would try to search for suspected Aceh rebels who had reportedly undergone military training here," Indonesian President Megawati said. "According to him there was no such military training sponsored by Libya for any separatist group." Quoting Qadhafi, she said the Libyan government had once required university students, including foreigners, to undergo a self-defense drill in anticipation of any strike by foreign forces. [The Jakarta Post]

Saturday, 27 September, 2003: With the lifting of U.N. sanctions this month, the Japanese government plans to extend 400 billion yen in loans to Libya for infrastructure projects, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper said Saturday. The loans are aimed at helping Japanese companies win engineering orders in Libya. The loans reportedly will be applied to the renovation of oil refineries and steel mills in the suburbs of Tripoli, as well as canal projects in western and eastern Libya. International bidding on the projects is set to begin soon, and Japanese trading companies and engineering firms are said to be among the leading candidates to receive orders. [Kyodo News]
Saturday, 27 September, 2003: Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri held talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on the international fight against terrorism, during a brief stop in Libya. "Terrorism is not linked to any religion and especially not Islam. It can come from anywhere for any reason," Megawati told reporters late Friday after her meeting with Qadhafi. "I am here at the invitation (of Colonel Qadhafi) to strengthen bilateral relations", said Megawati, who is on a 24-hour visit -- the first by an Indonesian president to Libya. [AFP]
Saturday, 27 September, 2003: Norway on Friday announced that it was lifting economic sanctions against Libya, in keeping with a United Nations resolution ending the 11-year boycott. The U.N. Security Council ended sanctions Sept. 12 after Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's government took responsibility for bombing a Pan Am passenger jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, and agreed to pay families of the 270 victims US$2.7 billion. A Norwegian Foreign Ministry statement said Libya accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie disaster, as well as for a French flight that exploded over Niger in 1989. Libya also distanced itself from terrorism, the statement said. [AP]
Saturday, 27 September, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has called for an end to the separatist rebellion in Mindanao of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. said Qadhafi made the statement when they met in Tripoli. [The Philippine Star]
Saturday, 27 September, 2003: Libyan Dinar per: US Dollar 1.38310, Euro 1.58667, Pound Sterling 2.29484, Japanese Yen 80.89075, Swiss Franc 1.02971, Year High 1.42950, Year Low 1.19320. [Zawya]

Friday, 26 September, 2003: Indonesia's president will seek ways to boost trade and investment with Libya when she travels to the once-isolated country [on Friday]. Megawati Sukarnoputri will be one of the first world leaders to hold talks with Libyan leader Qadhafi since a September 12 vote by the UN Security Council ending a ban on arm sales and air flights to his country. [AP]
Friday, 26 September, 2003: Libya is planning a major image-building campaign to emerge from the shadow of ostracism and rejoin the international community, which for years treated it as a pariah. Libyan diplomats will attempt to convince Washington of Col. Qadhafi's new orientation, hoping to restore U.S. interest and encourage investments. According to West European diplomats, the Libyan leader wants to "obtain a good conduct certificate after the errors of the past," which caused Libya's isolation for 15 years. [The Washington Times]
Friday, 26 September, 2003: The Bulgarian government is expected to release (BGN) 190,000 to pay lawyers' and health care bills of six Bulgarian medics, whom Libya is trying on charges of infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus. (US$1 = BGN1.70) [BNN]

Thursday, 25 September, 2003: Libya on Wednesday urged the United States to unfreeze assets blocked in American banks since it imposed sanctions on Libya in the 1980s. "As part of completing the lifting of sanctions, we ask for lifting the sanctions imposed by the US on Libyan assets in its banks since 1986," Al-Ujaili Breeni, Libya's secretary for economy and finance told the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Dubai. The UN Security Council ended its sanctions against Libya earlier this month but France and the US have their own sanctions on the Tripoli government including a ban on Libyan oil imports. [Riyadh Daily]
Thursday, 25 September, 2003: Libya is in talks with Germany over compensation claims for a 1986 bombing in West Berlin that killed two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman and injured 229 others, a government official said Wednesday. The remark by Hans Martin Bury, a senior aide to Chancellor Schroeder, was the first official word that the Berlin government - rather than lawyers for the victims and their families - is involved in negotiations for compensation from Libya. [AP]
Thursday, 25 September, 2003: A Libyan energy official said on Wednesday he expected his country's gas reserves to double or triple from the current 37 trillion cubic feet (1.048 trillion cu metres) on the back of an aggressive exploration campaign. Tarek Hassan-Beck, planning and IT director at Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC), said Libya was for the first time offering contract terms aimed specifically at gas exploration and development to meet growing domestic demand and to export. He put Libya's remaining proven reserves at 37 trillion cubic feet and told a MEED conference in Cairo that this could rise to 70-100 trillion cubic feet. [Reuters]

Wednesday, 24 September, 2003: The Lockerbie bomber has lodged a fresh appeal against his conviction for the murder of 270 people in the 1988 atrocity. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has been asked to investigate the case of [Libyan national] Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), who was jailed for the bombing in 2001. The commission is an independent body charged with investigating possible miscarriages of justice. It received an application from al-Megrahi's solicitors, requesting that it review his conviction. Al-Megrahi's solicitor, Eddie MacKechnie, said there was new evidence never mentioned before included in the team's case, but he refused to give details. [BBC]
Tuesday, 23 September, 2003: Libya hopes to open talks with the U.S. on a return to normal diplomatic relations within weeks, Libya's foreign minister said in a newspaper interview. Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo) said the idea of bilateral talks had been discussed during meetings over Libya's role in the 1988 bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. "We have a target and that is to normalise bilateral relations," Shalgam told the Financial Times, adding that talks could start as early as next month. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 23 September, 2003: Some 200 adults and children who lost relatives in the U.S. bombing of Libya in 1986 demonstrated outside the UN European headquarters on Monday seeking compensation. They called on the Libyan authorities to hold back any compensation to the families of victims of the Lockerbie bombing until they were also compensated. "We are here to draw the world's attention to the crime that was committed by the U.S. during the night of April 15, 1986, when civilian zones in Tripoli and Benghazi were bombed," they said. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 23 September, 2003: The lawyers of the six Bulgarian defendants in Libyan HIV case insisted there were gaps and incoherence in the indictment as well as omissions in the documents used by the prosecution. Libyan solicitor Osman Bizanti (photo) presented before the jury a list of 44 names of children infected with HIV who have never been in contact with the defendants. Bizanti and his Bulgarian colleague Plamen Yalnuzov made their pleading during Monday's hearing in Bengazi. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 23 September, 2003: The civil prosecutors in the HIV trial of six Bulgarians on Monday demanded once more damages on behalf of the HIV-infected children. However, this time the claim was reduced to 15 million Libyan dinars per each child "since the affected families are in urgent need of money." The court will convene again on the case on September 29. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 23 September, 2003: Libya has offered to host a summit of OPEC member country leaders in 2005 as part of a drive to improve its image on the international stage, an OPEC official said on Monday. Deciding a venue for the September 2005 summit, the first since Venezuela in 2000, is on the agenda for OPEC ministers at Wednesday's meeting of the 11-member cartel. The OPEC official said Libya so far was the only volunteer for 2005. [Reuters]
Monday, 22 September, 2003: Ilija Loncarevic, sports director of Croatia champions Dinamo Zagreb, claims to have signed a deal to manage Libya's national team. "I was in Tripoli last week on the invitation of Libyan football federation," he said. "They informed me about the situation regarding Libyan football and offered me conditions that I was pleased with, so I eventually signed a two-year contract." The 59-year-old refused to disclose the terms of the purported deal. [BBC]
Monday, 22 September, 2003: Libya's former minister for African Unity, Ali al-Traiki (photo), is the new permanent representative of Libya to the United Nations. Al-Traiki presented his credentials to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Thursday, 17 September, 2003. [AP]
Monday, 22 September, 2003: National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) former chief executive officer, Webster Muriritirwa, has left Zimbabwe and is believed to be in Libya where he will take up a post with Libya's Tamoil oil company amid police investigations into the Noczim fuel saga. A relative of Muriritirwa who spoke on condition of anonymity said he left the country for Libya but claimed to be unaware of his mission there. [Zimbabwe Independent]

Sunday, 21 September, 2003: Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri on Sunday left for a visit to Libya, Tunisia and the United States. She will arrive in New York on Monday. The state secretariat said that while in New York, she will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. She is scheduled to hold several bilateral meetings on the margins of the event. She will later fly to Tunis and hold talks with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Thursday. Megawati will become the first Indonesian president to visit Tripoli when she arrives there on Friday.[AFP]
Sunday, 21 September, 2003: Hoping to reverse effects of international long-standing sanctions and end years of isolation, Libya is to host a conference entitled "To know each other". "It is a concerted effort to find a common ground with the other as a step leading to dialogue," said Ibrahim al-Rabou of the organizing committee of the conference which will be held in the capital Tripoli on September 20-23. Libya sent an invitation to the U.S., in a conspicuous diplomatic overture shortly after clinching a deal settling the Lockerbie bombing and the U.S. not using a veto against it. "We sent an invitation to the U.S. ambassador to Malta, and he rejected the invitation," said Al-Rabou, with a defiant formal tone, in a news conference. [IOL]
Sunday, 21 September, 2003: The lifting of the 11-year-old UN economic and military embargo on Libya - one of North Africa's richest oil- producing nations - paves the way for a mad scramble by arms suppliers to capture the multibillion-dollar market in that country. "Libya was one of the world's most sought-after arms markets before it came under sanctions," says Michael Khatana of Research and Projections Global Inc., a US-based company that tracks weapons sales. "With the end to UN sanctions, the Russians, the Eastern Europeans, the Italians and the Britishers should be back in the market soon," he told IPS. [Dawn]
Saturday, 20 September, 2003: If Libya, over the past decades, has been supporting, through its resources, many of the liberation movements in Latin America, Middle East, Africa and even Ireland, and if it has paid billions of dollars to the Lockerbie and Air France crash victims, it is high time for it now to make it up to the Libyans for what has been lost over the past years. The Libyan people should enjoy and benefit by its own resources naturally bestowed on the them. Oil revenues can place the Libyan citizen in the world's highest income-bracket. [Khaleej Times]
Saturday, 20 September, 2003: In Ireland, the Government was urged to seek compensation from Libya for victims of IRA violence in Northern Ireland. The IRA received huge arms shipments from Colonel Qadhafi’s regime during the 1980s and Sir Reg Empey, an Ulster Unionist minister in the now suspended Stormont Assembly, said Libya should pay up. Sir Reg said: "It is very well known and documented that the Provisional IRA received enormous quantities of arms and munitions, including Semtex high explosive, from Colonel Qadhafi". [The Scotsman]
Saturday, 20 September, 2003: Libya has offered to pay $1 million each to families of the victims of a 1989 French airline bombing, the head of an association of terrorism victims said Friday. But that new proposal, made during negotiations that contributed to the recent abolition of U.N. sanctions against Libya, still is too low, said Francoise Rudetzki of SOS-Attentat. "We have no intention of selling off the memory of our dead," Rudetzki said at a ceremony honoring French victims of terrorism, held exactly 14 years after the UTA airliner exploded over Niger. [AP]
Saturday, 20 September, 2003: Go mobile's international roaming is now also available in Libya, thus increasing the roaming portfolio to over 92 countries. This has been made possible following a roaming agreement signed between Libyan operator El-Madar and go mobile. Go mobile is the only local mobile operator currently offering GSM. As a result of this agreement, both pre-paid and contract go mobile clients can now roam in Libya. [The Independent]
Saturday, 20 September, 2003: Libyan [state-run] papers this week condemned the American veto of Arab States-sponsored draft resolution at the UN Security Council against Israel's decision to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from the Palestinian territories. [PANA]
Saturday, 20 September, 2003: Spanish firms Abengoa and Cobra have signed two contracts totalling US$338 million to construct electricity grids in Libya, Abengoa confirmed Friday. [PANA]
Saturday, 20 September, 2003: Libyan leader, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Thursday in Tripoli, received visiting President of the African Football Confederation (CAF) Issa Hayatou, and the head of CAF's organising committee of inter-club competitions, Slim Shiboub. [PANA]
Saturday, 20 September, 2003: Libyan ambassador to Zambia, Khalifa Swaisi said bilateral relations between Libya and Zambia had grown and that Libya would invest in crop and animal farming. Swasi said the Libyan Arab Company for African Investment (LAFICO) had already started renting out residential units at the Millenium Village. He said LAFICO was also looking forward to investing in other sectors such as mining and tourism. [The Times Of Zambia]

Friday, 19 September, 2003: Spanish Prime Minister Jose Aznar heralded Libya as an important trade and investment partner after holding talks with Libyan premier Shukri Ghanem. "Spain considers Libya as an important partner," Aznar told journalists Thursday, adding that "conditions are good to strengthen commercial ties and investments between the two countries". Aznar, who flew into Tripoli late Wednesday for a 24-hour visit, is the first Western head of state to visit Libya since the imposition of UN sanctions more than a decade ago. [AFP]
Friday, 19 September, 2003: The delegation of the relatives of victims of the foiled American Nato barbaric aggression against Libya in 1986, left Tripoli international airport last night heading to the United Nations headquarters in Geneve to call for compensation for that aggression," the Libyan official news agency JANA said yesterday. [Arabic News]
Thursday, 18 September, 2003: Libya and families of 170 people killed in a 1989 bombing of a French airliner are finalising details of a compensation deal and will reach an accord before next month's deadline, a senior Libyan official says. The official dismissed reports over French doubts that Tripoli may seek to weaken the accord, in particular the pay-out, since it had now removed French threats to veto a U.N. vote on lifting embargoes against Libya. The U.N. Security Council last week lifted sanctions against Libya imposed for the Lockerbie bombing. [Reuters]

Wednesday, 17 September, 2003: Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar will head to Libya on Wednesday for two days of talks with Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in Tripoli to bolster relations between the countries following last Friday's lifting of UN sanctions on the North African state. Aznar will be the first Western leader to be received by Qadhafi since the imposition of sanctions in 1992 in the wake of the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which two Libyan agents were implicated. Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio was among those who sent congratulatory messages to Tripoli after the lifting of the sanctions. [AFP]

Tuesday, 16 September, 2003: Bulgaria will replace its envoy to Libya in the critical phase of the HIV trial in Benghazi against six Bulgarian medics. Libya has approved Bulgaria's proposal to dispatch arabist Zdravko Velev, a spokesman of the Foreign Ministry announced on Monday. Velev is a controversial nomination since he is known as the official interpreter of Bulgaria's former communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 16 September, 2003: Fantoft has been awarded a contract by ABB in Italy for delivery of a pipeline management system for the Western Libya Gas Project. Fantoft will deliver an online pipeline management system interfaced to ABB automation systems for two pipelines transporting gas and condensate from Wafa dessert field to Melitah at the Libyan coastline. Both the 30in gas pipeline and 16in condensate pipeline are 512km in length. The PMS will be based on the D-Spice state-of-the-art modelling software developed by Fantoft in Norway. [Engineering Talk]
Tuesday, 16 September, 2003: "India has consistently supported Libya on sanctions issue in the UN and NAM (Non-Aligned Movement), particularly during the Indian term in the UN Security Council in 1992," a foreign ministry statement said. "We hope that the lifting of sanctions would contribute to Libya's economic development and promote bilateral cooperation in different fields." The UN Security Council last week lifted UN sanctions on Libya imposed after the 1988 bombing of US Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. [AFP]

Monday, 15 September, 2003: Libya has offered one million dollars compensation (880,000 euros) to the relatives of 170 people killed in the 1989 bombing of a French plane over west Africa, the families said Sunday, immediately rejecting the proposal as not enough. "The Libyan offer is one million dollars per family. This does not satisfy the families. We will continue to negotiate," said Daniele Klein, whose brother died in the crash of the UTA DC-10 in Niger. [AFP]
Monday, 15 September, 2003: Representatives of some of the families, who lost loved ones in the 1989 bombing of a UTA flight over Niger, denied on Sunday that they had received a firm financial offer from Libya to settle a compensation case that has strained relations between Paris and Tripoli. "We are still negotiating and I have seen no proposal from the Qadhafi Foundation," Francoise Rudetzki, the president of the SOS association told KUNA on Sunday. [KUNA]
Monday, 15 September, 2003: Reports from Tripoli said that the Qadhafi Foundation had published Saturday a statement saying they would not award more than one million dollars for each of the 170 victims in the UTA mid-air bombing that has been blamed on Libya. [KUNA]
Monday, 15 September, 2003: Libya on Sunday denied Amercian claims that it had tried to procure weapons of mass destruction, the official news agency Jana reported. "The allegations that Libya tried to procure weapons of mass destruction are no more than an invention," foreign ministry official Hassuna al-Shawesh was quoted by Jana as saying. "We condemn the attempts by the US deputy ambassador (James Cunnigham) to mislead the UN," he added. Cunningham said on Friday that lifting of UN sanctions "must not be misconstrued by Libya or by the world community as tacit US acceptance that the government of Libya has rehabilitated itself." [AFP]
Monday, 15 September, 2003: African Union (AU) Commission Interim President Amara Essy, in a statement from the 53-member union's Ethiopian headquarters, saluted what he called the cooperation shown throughout the affair by Libyan authorities. Libya's unpredictable leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi helped establish the AU at a meeting in Libya in 1999. [Reuters]
Monday, 15 September, 2003: Djibouti has congratulated Libya after a key vote at the UN lifted a decade of sanctions on Tripoli, a statement from the Djibouti foreign ministry said Sunday. The statement coincides with the visit by Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam, who passed on a message from Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to President Ismael Guelleh. [AFP]

Sunday, 14 September, 2003: Amnesty International welcomed the U.N. lifting of sanctions on Libya, but urged Tripoli to clean up its human rights record. Libyan leader Qadhafi tolerates no serious opposition, and Amnesty has accused his regime of holding hundreds of political prisoners. "We are hoping the return of Libya to the international community will engender an improvement in the human rights situation in that country," Amnesty spokeswoman Nicole Choueiry said. [AP]
Sunday, 14 September, 2003: Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna al-Shawish called Saturday for the U.S. to repeal its 17-year-old sanctions, saying it inflicts losses of about $3 billion a year on Libya. "We expect ... that the U.S. will lift completely the sanctions, and will allow its citizens to visit our country," al-Shawish said in an interview with The Associated Press. [AP]
Sunday, 14 September, 2003: Henry Schuler, a former diplomat and executive for a U.S. oil company who spent 30 years working in Libya, said Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi appears to have restored his international credibility simply by handing over millions of dollars. "It seems to me to be the wrong signal to be sending in the midst of the war on terrorism," Schuler said. [AP]
Sunday, 14 September, 2003: The Libyan lawyer of the Bulgarian defendants in Libya's HIV case expects a verdict in the case by the end of October. In case the six Bulgarians are found guilty, there will be an opportunity to appeal, solicitor Osman Bizanti told Bulgarian Darik radio. He pointed out that the testimonies of the HIV discoverer Prof. Luc Montaigner and his colleague Vittorio Collizi were exceptionally useful. However, he added that if there were Arab scholars ... to be called as experts before the court, the effect would have been greater. [Novinite]
Sunday, 14 September, 2003: Saif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Qadhafi and head of the private fund that will handle the UTA payouts, said the agreement concluded with the victims' families would also involve demands on France. He said Libya wanted to resolve the cases of six Libyans convicted in absentia by a French court in 1999, and whom Tripoli insists are innocent. It also wanted to upgrade relations with Paris by signing a friendship pact. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said : "Our position on the six Libyans remains unchanged". [Gulf News]
Sunday, 14 September, 2003: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has hailed the Security Council decision to lift economic sanctions imposed on Libya over a decade ago for its alleged complicity in the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. [PANA]
Sunday, 14 September, 2003: The Arab League on Saturday welcomed the Security Council's decision to scrap UN sanctions imposed on Libya and called on the U.S. to lift its own embargoes on Tripoli. "The Arab League welcomes the lifting of the UN embargo and calls on the U.S. to end bilateral sanctions imposed on Libya," said the league's chief, Amr Mussa in a statement. [AFP]
Sunday, 14 September, 2003: Hundreds of Libyans danced and sang in the streets of Tripoli into the early morning hours of Saturday to celebrate the lifting of suffocating UN sanctions, in what state media hailed as a "victory". Hundreds of young people, holding portraits of Qadhafi and waving streamers, gathered in the central Green Square to welcome the formal end of sanctions. People living in surrounding apartment blocks spilled out onto their balconies, while women cried for joy and drivers banged their fists on car horns. [AFP]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: The UN Security Council lifted the UN sanctions slapped on Libya for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, in a landmark step towards ending Libya's long years of international isolation. The move also clears the way for initial Libyan payments of up to 10 million dollars per victim, or 2.7 billion dollars in total, to the families of the 270 people killed in the downing of US Pan Am flight 103. The vote passed 13-0 with abstentions from the US, which is keeping its own sanctions on Libya in place, and France. [AFP]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: Libya welcomed the UN decision to lift sanctions imposed since 1992, Mohammad al-Zuai, the official in charge of the Lockerbie negotiations, told AFP. Zuai, who is also the ambassador to London, said: "We welcome the Security Council decision, which shows that Libya has kept all its promises and respects international law and legality." He called for "all nations to open dialogue with Libya, which is committed to world peace". [AFP]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: Libya has declared the lifting of sanctions against it a "victory" and called on all nations to open up dialogue with the country. The UN voted on Friday to lift the sanctions, imposed after the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. The vote passed 13-0, with the US and France abstaining. The US cited concerns about Libya's weapons capability as the reason for its decision to opt out of the vote. The US has its own separate sanctions against Tripoli. [Sky News]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: Friday's lifting of U.N. sanctions on Libya is not expected to have an immediate effect on the country's primary product, oil. Libya is already producing at full capacity, and the sanctions did not prevent a number of European companies from working on the oil fields. Jan Stuart, the head of energy research at FIMAT USA, said that what the Libyans really want is U.S. investment. "The really big breakthrough for Qadhafi and the oil industry will be the lifting of American sanctions," Stuart said. [AP]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: Libya will now pay them millions, but families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing say they will not rest until they learn who ordered a Libyan agent to kill their loved ones, and why. Families of the victims are glad to get the money, but they say they are not yet satisfied. "We're pleased to see that this has been settled, but it doesn't answer the basic questions that most of the families have been concerned with for many years," said Barrie Berkley, who lost his son Alistair in the bombing. [Reuters]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw welcomed the UN decision to lift sanctions on Libya, saying it was the start of a new chapter in Tripoli's relations with the international community. "I very much welcome today's vote by the UN Security Council to lift sanctions against Libya," Straw said. "The fact that those sanctions have now been lifted marks a new and welcome chapter in Libya's relationship with the international community." [AFP]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: The US expressed satisfaction with Friday's UN vote lifting Lockerbie sanctions on Libya, but warned Libya it expected "scrupulous" adherence to the agreed terms. "We have stuck to our demands for 12 years ... We have made clear to Libya that there are no shortcuts in getting out of the terrorism business."We expect Libya to adhere scrupulously to the commitments it has now made to the council to cooperate in the international fight against terrorism and with any further requests for information in connection with the Pan Am 103 investigation," said State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli. [AFP]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu on Friday hailed the lifting of UN sanctions on Libya after a meeting of his EU counterparts. "The lifting of the sanctions is very positive and encourages all the efforts made by our country," said Pisanu, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. Italy recently reached a collaboration accord with Libya to try to crack down on illegal immigration. [AFP]
Saturday, 13 September, 2003: Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar will visit Libya on Wednesday for two days of talks in Tripoli with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Spanish government sources said. Aznar will have dinner with Qadhafi Wednesday evening and will have talks on international issues and bilateral links Thursday prior to an Aznar press conference. The Spanish leader will also meet leading members of the Spanish business community. [AFP]
Friday, 12 September, 2003: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has set off a ferocious political storm after saying that former Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was a benevolent leader who had never killed anyone. One Mussolini biographer, Richard Bosworth, estimates at least one million people died as a result of his 20-year rule (1922-1943), with "atrocious massacres of Libyans, Ethiopians, inhabitants of the ex-Yugoslavia and thousands of Italian Jews". [Reuters]
Friday, 12 September, 2003: A senior Libyan official has confirmed Libya and the families of the 170 victims of the 1989 UTA French airliner bombing have signed a compensation deal, opening the way for a U.N. vote to lift sanctions. "The deal was signed a short while ago. It was inked by Rajab Zarouk, a top official from Qadhafi Foundation and a representative of the French families. Every side is happy with the agreement," he told Reuters on Thursday. [Reuters]
Friday, 12 September, 2003: France said it was prepared to vote to lift UN sanctions against Libya after the families of those killed in the 1989 bombing of a French jet over Niger reached a compensation deal with Tripoli. "Now that the families have arrived at an agreement, France naturally no longer has any objection to the UN Security Council voting as soon as possible on the lifting of sanctions against Libya," Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said. [AFP]
Friday, 12 September, 2003: Libya should pay compensation to people killed by the IRA, a British Democratic Unionist has claimed. Libya agreed a compensation deal on Thursday with relatives of people killed in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner. The agreement has opened the way for UN sanctions on Tripoli to be finally lifted, but Ian Paisley Jr claimed these should remain in place. Paisley said Libya had provided weapons and explosives used in a number of atrocities. "I think there has to be parity of compensation and parity of treatment," he said. [BBC]
Friday, 12 September, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi urged Libyans to vote "yes" in a referendum on withdrawing from the Arab League, saying it has been humiliated in the Iraq and Israel-Palestinian conflicts. Qadhafi, who has often threatened to pull Libya out of the league, did not say when he would hold a vote. He has almost complete control in Libya but uses referendums in an apparent attempt to gauge popular opinion. "There is no benefit (in belonging to) the Arabs' dull world," Qadhafi said, according to the official JANA news agency. [AP]
Friday, 12 September, 2003: Two Libyans will stand trial in Cairo later this month on charges of "insulting" and trying to attack Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in a Cairo hotel, judicial sources said Thursday. Fathi Beshir Saad, 25, and Mahmud al-Beshir Ahmed, 27, will go on trial in a Cairo criminal court on Sept. 27 after being charged with "insulting and aggressing a public" official. Egyptian security forces arrested the pair after they confronted Prince Saud Monday in a Cairo hotel lobby as he was on his way to an Arab League meeting. [AFP]
Friday, 12 September, 2003: The UN this week could end 12-years of sanctions against Libya for two airliner attacks in the 1980's. The Christian Science Monitor reports the loosening of the sanctions is a key step in a wider Libyan strategy to modernize and diversify its economy and reintegrate it into the global market. Libya's offer of several billion dollars to compensate the families of the victims is not seen there as an admission of guilt. [UPI]

Thursday, 11 September, 2003: Families of victims of a bombed French airliner urged Libya to take the opportunity afforded by a delayed vote at the U.N. in order to increase its offer of compensation. "We hope Libya will grasp this opportunity ... An agreement is not impossible. This delay gives us a chance to reach it," Guillaume de Saint-Marc, who speaks for the families, said Wednesday. On Tuesday the British delegation at the UN gave in to pressure from France and agreed not to table till Friday a Security Council resolution lifting sanctions on Libya. [AFP]
Thursday, 11 September, 2003: A US official said Wednesday that Washington is "disappointed" with the decision to delay until Friday a UN Security Council vote on lifting sanctions against Libya over the Lockerbie bombing. London and Washington agreed to end the sanctions after Libya last month accepted responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, and offered 2.7 billion dollars to the families of the 270 dead. "We are very disappointed that the vote did not take place (Tuesday)," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. [AFP]
Thursday, 11 September, 2003: Diplomatic missions in the UK owe more than £120,000 in unpaid parking and traffic fines. The Foreign Office has revealed the United Arab Emirates tops the table of foreign states failing to pay, with 323 outstanding fines totalling £12,830. According to the latest figures it is followed by Libya, which has 226 outstanding fines worth £8,940 and then China (195 fines at £7,790) and Egypt (97 fines worth £3,790). [Ananova]
Thursday, 11 September, 2003: Libyan Dinar per: $US 1.39950 - Euro 1.56930 - Pound 2.22744 - Japanese Yen 83.71561 - Swiss Franc 1.01142 - Year High 1.42950 - Year Low 1.19320. [Zawya]

Wednesday, 10 September, 2003: A veto threat at the U.N. has won Paris extra time to sweeten a deal with Libya aimed at compensating victims of the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner but has further strained ties with increasingly wary allies Washington and London. Bowing to France's threat, the Security Council on Tuesday put off for three more days a vote to lift U.N. sanctions imposed on Libya over the Lockerbie bombing. U.S. officials said the threat had astonished them, pointing out that France had previously pressed for a quick end to the sanctions after declaring itself satisfied with an earlier compensation deal with Libya over the UTA attack. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 10 September, 2003: Libya will unveil an accord with Paris on compensation in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner as soon as UN sanctions are lifted against Tripoli, the Libyan ambassador to London said Tuesday. "Libya will announce in detail an accord between Paris and the Qadhafi Foundation Charity as soon as the UN lifts the sanctions," Mohammad al-Zouai told AFP. A spokesman for some of the families of the 170 people killed in the UTA bombing had said earlier Tuesday they had still not reached a Lockerbie-style compensation deal with Libya. [AFP]
Wednesday, 10 September, 2003: Libya on Tuesday boycotted a meeting of the Arab League to protest the admission of Iraq's US-appointed interim government to the league. Libya's foreign minister, Abdelrahman Shalgam, said in a message to the league that Tripoli was boycotting because "the meeting will take decisions which are not in harmony with Libyan positions." An AFP correspondent saw a copy of the message, which league sources said amounted to a protest over the league's decision to admit Iraq's interim leadership to the league. [AFP]
Wednesday, 10 September, 2003: Two Libyan men who shouted insults at Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and tried to attack him in the lobby of a Cairo hotel have been remanded for four days, judicial sources said Tuesday. Fathi Beshir Saad, 25, and Mahmoud al-Beshir Ahmed, 27, were charged with "insulting a public leader," the source told AFP. They were arrested by Egyptian security forces Monday night after being prevented by the minister's bodyguards from attacking him. Prince Saud later confirmed the incident. "One man tried to aggress me but the men around me prevented him," he told reporters. [AFP]
Tuesday, 9 September, 2003: A Libyan prosecutor Monday demanded the death sentence for seven chiefly Bulgarian medical workers accused of spreading AIDS in a Libyan children's hospital, while the victims' relatives asked for more than four billion dollars in damages, Bulgarian radio reported. The lawyer representing the families of more than 400 children infected with the HIV virus at Benghazi told a court in the northern Libyan town that they should each receive 10 million dollars in damages. Prosecutors originally gave the number of infected children as 393, but on Monday upped it to 426. Twenty-three of the children have already died. [AFP]
Tuesday, 9 September, 2003: A Libyan organisation that was almost certainly reflecting government views suggested on Monday that Libya would nationalise French oil interests and cut economic ties if Paris did not accept its compensation offer for a 1989 airliner bombing. The statement by the Association of Libyan Economists appeared to be intended to put pressure on the French government to help break a deadlock in negotiations between Libya and the families of the victims of the bombing. France has threatened to hold up the lifting of U.N. sanctions imposed on Libya for the Lockerbie bombing if Libya does not satisfy the families' demands. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 9 September, 2003: Two Libyan men shouted insults at Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal and tried to beat him in the lobby of a Cairo hotel in response to past jibes at their leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, a police officer said. According to the officer, the two, aged 25 and 27, were prevented from coming close to the minister by his bodyguards and were then arrested by Egyptian security officers. The two were bitter over remarks made on March 1 by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, who had branded Qadhafi a "liar" and a "slave of colonialism." [AFP]
Tuesday, 9 September, 2003: Britain will call Tuesday for a UN Security Council vote to lift sanctions against Libya after Tripoli agreed to a multibillion-dollar payout to victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, British UN ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said Monday. The call would put the spotlight on France, which has threatened to use its veto power to block the measure if the victims of a French airliner bombing did not win a similar deal. A French diplomat said instructions on whether to veto the lifting of the sanctions would be sent "at the last minute." [AFP]
Tuesday, 9 September, 2003: The families of those killed in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner were split Monday over whether UN sanctions against Libya should be lifted before they reach a compensation deal with Tripoli. Guillaume Denoix de Saint-Marc, a spokesman for some of the families, said they were not opposed to a lifting of sanctions if "significant progress" toward a deal had been made. But Francoise Rudetzki -- president of the French victims' rights group SOS Attentats -- insisted Monday that a compensation agreement had to come first. [AFP]
Tuesday, 9 September, 2003: Arab foreign ministers drew closer to allowing a minister from the US-backed Iraqi government to attend their upcoming meetings, an Arab League official said. But the accord under discussion would only allow Baghdad's interim foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, to participate as an observer. Libya declined to send its minister to the meetings amid a row with Lebanon over the disappearance of a Shiite Muslim cleric, Mussa Sadr, in 1978. [AFP]
Monday, 8 September, 2003: Britain has scheduled a Security Council vote for Tuesday to lift U.N. sanctions against Libya that would release $2.7 billion to the families of 270 victims killed in the 1988 airliner bombing over Lockerbie. British U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, sponsor of the resolution and this month's council president, set the date for the vote on Friday, British officials said, despite a last-minute snag between France and Libya on payments to the families of 170 people killed in a 1989 French airliner bombing over Niger. Unclear is whether the vote, which had been anticipated two weeks ago, will be delayed again or whether Britain and the United States were daring France to use its veto power to kill the resolution. [Reuters]
Monday, 8 September, 2003: The six Bulgarian medics that will stand before Benghazi Criminal Court Monday are optimistic about its decision, the Bulgarian National Radio reported Sunday. On their visiting day Sunday, the medics, accused of deliberately infecting some 400 Libyan children with HIV, had a 5-minute meeting with Bulgarian journalists and talked to their relatives over the phone. They said that they hope the court will take note of reports by HIV experts Prof. Luc Montaigner and Vittorio Collizi who testified in favour of the defendants. [Novinite]
Monday, 8 September, 2003: At least 114 Chadian prisoners including five women and two children deported by Libya arrived at N'djamena airport at the weekend, officials said. [PANA]

Prince Mohammed el-Senoussi's Letter To President Bush And Prime Minister Blair

Sunday, 7 September, 2003: Lebanon should have severed diplomatic links with Libya 25 years ago over the disappearance of a prominent Shiite cleric, Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri said. Berri blasted Tripoli for closing its Beirut embassy this week due to criticism of its handling of the disappearance of imam Mussa Sadr on a visit to Libya in 1978. Berri claimed no investigations were necessary after the Libyan regime "admitted" last year that the imam and his two companions went missing on Libyan soil. [AFP]
Sunday, 7 September, 2003: Unemployment in the Arab states stands at 19.4 percent of their total 90-million strong active population, according to figures disclosed at an inter-Arab economics conference. The 22 members of the Arab League need investments of 33 billion dollars to offset this massive unemployment, an Arab Investment Agreement Organisation official, Abdul Razeq al-Kubeisi, told the opening session of a two-day conference of the Council of Arab Economic Unity. The council is made up of Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, the Palestinian Authority and nominally Iraq and Somalia. [AFP]
Saturday, 6 September, 2003: The UN Security Council will vote Tuesday on whether to lift sanctions against Libya, though France and Libya still don't agree on how much to pay the families of 170 people killed in an 1989 airliner bombing, diplomats said. The UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Britain's UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry told a closed Security Council meeting that the vote would take place Tuesday. Jones Parry, president of the Council for September, on Friday only told reporters he expected a vote sometime next week. [AP]
Saturday, 6 September, 2003: France has not recieved "sufficient guarantees" from Libya on behalf of the families of victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner and could use its veto to prevent UN sanctions against Tripoli from being lifted, deputy Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier warned Friday. Muselier said the French government hoped for "an agreement as rapidly as possible" with the Libyan side which would be "fair for all the victims and not just for the families of French victims". "We still don't have sufficient guarantees," to reach an accord and "if a vote comes before the (UN) Security Council right now, we would have to block it," he said. [AFP]
Saturday, 6 September, 2003: Libya and Tunisia have launched a joint bid to co-host the 2010 soccer World Cup, due to be held in Africa for the first time. The two countries had submitted separate initial bids along with Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa. "Libya and Tunisia will submit a joint bid to co-host the World Cup 2010 and other steps, like setting up joint committees, will follow," Saadi al-Qadhafi, Libya's soccer boss, told a news conference. Saadi, son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and vice-president of Libya's soccer body, held talks with Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on Friday before announcing the bid. [Reuters]
Saturday, 6 September, 2003: A new allegation was pushed forward by the prosecution in the Libyan HIV trial against the six Bulgarian defendants, Bulgarian media reported. This time the Bulgarians who were accused of infecting some 400 Libyan children with HIV are claimed to have carried out experiments on the infected. Bulgarian TV reporter Mirolyuba Benatova who is in Libya to cover the trial told Info radio the prosecution changed its main version alleging that the medics tested a new drug on the children thus infecting them with HIV. [Novinite]

Libyan HROs: A Letter To The UN, Families Of The Victims, And HROs

Une Letter Pour La ONU, Les Families De Victimes, Et Les ODHs

Friday, 5 September, 2003: A dispute over when the payments should be made is holding up the conclusion of a compensation deal between Libya and relatives of those killed in the bombing of a French airliner, the Libyan ambassador to London told AFP Thursday. Mohammad Al-Zuai (photo) said that Libya had offered to pay the money after sanctions imposed by the UN in 1992 were lifted but France was demanding the money be paid in advance. The demand came during a meeting between French Foreign Minister Dominque de Villepin and his Tunisian counterpart, Habib ben Yahia. [AFP]
Friday, 5 September, 2003: Four Libyan diplomats left Lebanon for Syria on Thursday, a day after their embassy was closed due to the long-running row over the disappearance of a prominent Muslim cleric. A large group of supporters of the imam Moussa Sadr, who went missing in Libya 25 years ago, waited in vain at the Masnaa crossing point to hurl rotten eggs and tomatoes at the departing diplomats, but were dispersed by police. Libyan charge d'affaires, Hussein Sharif, told AFP by telephone from Masnaa: "I am sorry to be leaving Lebanon but I have been forced to do so because we can no longer put up with all the bad things that are being done to us". [AFP]
Friday, 5 September, 2003: Regardless of the political implications of Libya's settlement with the West over alleged involvement in the downing of planes in the 1980s, the economic impact of the move is adding fuel to reform engines in Libya. In June this year, Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo), decided to open up the economy and attract foreign investment, and publicly stated that the country's public sector had failed and should be abolished. As Africa's major oil producer, Libya estimates that UN sanctions have cost the country over $37 billion in lost oil revenue since 1992. [Gulf News]
Friday, 5 September, 2003: The Arab League is acting as mediator to end the crisis between Lebanon and Libya over the disappearance of a prominent Lebanese Shiite Muslim cleric 25 years ago, Arab League chief Amr Mussa said Thursday. Mussa told journalists he had made telephone calls to the respective Lebanese and Libyan Foreign Ministers, Jean Obeid and Abdelrahman Shalgam. He said that he was trying to arrange a meeting with the two together "in the hope of overcoming the current problem between the two countries". [AFP]
Friday, 5 September, 2003: One of the renowned microbiologists who testified in favor of the Bulgarian defendants in Libya's HIV case, Vittorio Collizi, said there is a breakthrough in the trial. He declared his readiness to repeat the testimony before another instance. The scholar made the pledge in an interview with the Bulgarian National Radio. On Wednesday, he appeared together with the discoverer of the HIV virus, Luc Montaigner, in the criminal court in Benghazi that hears the case of the six medics accused of intentionally infecting local children with HIV. [Novinite]

Thursday, 4 September, 2003: Libya closed down its embassy in Beirut on Wednesday, but denied it had severed diplomatic relations with Lebanon in a row over the disappearance of a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric, a government spokesman said. "Libya has decided to close its office of brotherhood (embassy) in Beirut but not to cut diplomatic relations with Lebanon," Hassuna Shaush said. Tripoli was responding to accusations by Lebanese religious and political officials that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi helped cover up the disappearance of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric, Imam Mussa Sadr, who went missing on a trip to Libya in 1978. [AFP]
Thursday, 4 September, 2003: The French doctor who first isolated the HIV virus said that a hospital AIDS epidemic in Libya was probably caused by poor hygiene, and not by the seven medical workers who are on trial on charges of deliberately spreading the disease. Professor Luc Montagnier spoke in a Bulgarian radio interview on the same day he testified before a Libyan court in the trial of the five Bulgarian nurses and two doctors -- one Bulgarian, one Palestinian -- who face the death penalty for allegedly injecting tainted blood products into 393 children. [AFP]
Thursday, 4 September, 2003: Libya regards compensation for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing as a thing of the past, and it now looks forward to the lifting of UN sanctions, its prime minister Shukri Ghanem said. Interviewed on BBC radio, Ghanem said Wednesday that the question of compensation for relatives of Lockerbie victims had been "a subject for a long discussion, legal and political, between the different teams". "I think it has been explained and the whole matter now is put behind us," he said, adding: "What we are saying now (is that) we would like to once again be part of the world economic system." [AFP]
Thursday, 4 September, 2003: Britain's UN ambassador said Wednesday he hoped that the Security Council would be able to vote soon on lifting sanctions on Libya, but that agreement had to be reached ahead of any ballot. "We would hope to take that to a vote at an early date," Emyr Parry said in his first press conference since assuming the presidency of the Council. "But my clear objective is that we should put that to a vote when we achieve the necessary conditions to get the resolution not only adopted but, I hope, carried by the council," he said. [AFP]

Wednesday, 3 September, 2003: The families of Egyptians and Libyan passengers of a Libyan airliner shot down by Israel 30 years ago have plans to sue for Lockerbie-style compensation. "Egyptian blood is no cheaper than American, British or French blood," al-Ahram daily quoted Mohammed Sherif as saying. Sherif is the son of Egyptian TV presenter Salwa Hegazi, one of the 106 passengers and crew who perished on Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 in February 1973. The aircraft, bound for Cairo from Tripoli, lost her way and was intercepted by Israeli jets over Egypt's Sinai peninsula, then under Israeli occupation. Sherif said the lawsuit was prepared by Hegazi's family "in solidarity with 32 other families of Egyptian and Libyan victims." [AFP]
Wednesday, 3 September, 2003: Last-minute hitches were Tuesday holding up a Lockerbie-style compensation deal for victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over west Africa, a move due to pave the way for the lifting of international sanctions against Libya. Telephone negotiations between victims' families and representatives of the Libyan government dragged into a second day, following Monday's announcement by French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin that a "basis" for an agreement had been reached. "There were new contacts today but no progress. The contacts will continue. The ball is in the Libyan court," said Guillaume Denoix de Saint-Marc, spokesman for the families, adding that the situation was "not dramatic". [AFP]
Wednesday, 3 September, 2003: Africa Union chairman Joaquim Chissano has succumbed to pressure from Libyan President Qadhafi to hold a special summit for African leaders. The meeting, which Qadhafi has apparently undertaken to bankroll, will take place in Sirte in February. South African President Mbeki and Qadhafi were engaged in a running battle at last month's AU summit on the issue. Mbeki wanted the AU to begin setting up a peace and security council. But he vehemently opposed the idea of a special summit, saying that heads of state should either settle the outstanding issues in Maputo or leave them to their officials to resolve. [Sunday Times]
Wednesday, 3 September, 2003: China hopes the United Nations will remove its sanctions on Libya at an early date, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan Tuesday. In response to a question at a regular press conference, Kong said the people of Libya have suffered from the sanctions and China hopes the related issues for lifting them will be settled at an early date. Kong said he believed this wish would come true soon. [Xinhua]

Tuesday, 2 September, 2003: Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar plans a visit to Libya this month, a government source said on Monday, in a further sign the North African country is starting to emerge from years of international isolation. Aznar, a close ally of U.S. President George W. Bush, has pencilled in the trip for September 17 and 18 but details remain to be worked out, the source said. "It is planned. The agenda is being prepared," the source said, adding that he expected the trip to include talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 2 September, 2003: British firms that had been hoping to do business in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein are switching their attention to Libya as a more promising market. With UN sanctions likely to be lifted tomorrow or Thursday, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's oil-rich country is coming in from the cold at a time when trade prospects for Iraq are rapidly deteriorating. "There is a lot of enthusiasm for Libya," said James Lawday, director-general of the London-based Middle East Association, which promotes trade and investment in the region. [The Guardian]
Tuesday, 2 September, 2003: France said that Libya and relatives of those killed in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger would soon sign a Lockerbie-style compensation deal, a move expected to pave the way for the lifting of UN sanctions against Tripoli. French Foreign Minister De Villepin told Radio France Internationale that the "basis" of an agreement had been reached, adding: "It just needs finalizing, which will happen in the next few hours". [AFP]
Tuesday, 2 September, 2003: Britain took over leadership of the UN Security Council Monday as London voices confidence that a vote lifting 11 year-old sanctions against Libya could be called this week. "We hope very much to put a resolution to a vote this week," a British Foreign Office spokesman said Monday. France had threatened to veto a British-backed resolution to lift the sanctions prior to the breakthrough on French compensation payments. With this hurdle seemingly cleared, it now appears likely that the UN will lift its sanctions on Libya. [AFP]
Tuesday, 2 September, 2003: Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi celebrated 34 years in power Monday as the Arab world's longest-serving, but most enigmatic head of state. Today he maintains that he no longer rules the oil-rich state, whose economy has been crushed by years of crippling sanctions, and insists that all power lies in the hands of the people. "The ignorant, the superficial and those driven by hate ask how I've stayed in power for 34 years. But I do not govern. It is the people who have ruled since 1977," Qadhafi said Sunday. [AFP]
Tuesday, 2 September, 2003: Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the radical Shiite movement Hezbollah, on Monday called on Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to admit responsability for the disappearance of a Lebanese Shiite cleric 25 years ago. "Qadhafi, personally, knows the fate of Imam Sadr," Nasrallah told a rally in Beirut's southern suburbs. The imam and two companions, a sheikh and a journalist, disappeared during a visit to Libya on August 31, 1978. [AFP]
Tuesday, 2 September, 2003: Libya has pardoned and rapatriated 263 Sudanese prisoners on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the Libyan revolution, Sudanese police said. A special Libyan plane brought the former prisoners to Khartoum late on Sunday, the police public affairs office said in a statement. It did not specify what crimes they had been convicted of. Libya is a magnet for Africans who use its territory as a staging post on the way to Europe. [AFP]
Tuesday, 2 September, 2003: Germany said on Monday it was waiting to hear the details of a Libyan offer to pay compensation to relatives of people killed in a 1986 nightclub bombing in Berlin. "The exact modalities must be still worked out," said foreign ministry spokesman Walter Lindner. But he said Germany welcomed the offer to pay compensation, made last week by the Qadhafi Foundation, which is headed by Qadhafi's son Saif al-Islam. Two US servicemen and a Turkish woman were killed when a bomb exploded at the La Belle nightclub in 1986. [AFP]

Monday, 1 September, 2003: "People own the power, the wealth and the arms," says a banner honoring the anniversary of the 1969 coup that put Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in power. But Qadhafi's image and words are omnipresent on television, posters and monuments. And Libyans who think otherwise are loath to be identified. "No one asked us when they bombed the (Pan Am) plane (over Lockerbie in 1988) and no one was expected to discuss with us how to clean up the mess," said a Libyan who agreed to be identified only by his first name, Matouk. [AP]
Monday, 1 September, 2003: Libya's deal accepting blame for the Lockerbie bombing is being sold to the Libyan public as a triumph for Qadhafi that has ended a 15-year standoff with the West and opened the way to badly needed foreign investment. But as the country festoons itself in celebratory banners for the anniversary of the 1969 coup that put Qadhafi in power, indications are that relief is still a long way off, and that the real reason Qadhafi relented was fear that he might meet the same fate as Saddam Hussein. Saleh Ibrahim, whose Libyan Academy for Higher Studies researches political and economic issues for the government, links the deal to the toppling of Saddam and the possibility Libya too might become a candidate for regime change. [AP]
Monday, 1 September, 2003: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi confirmed that Tripoli has reached a compensation deal with the relatives of those killed in the bombing of a French airliner over Niger in 1989. "(French) President (Jacques) Chirac called me earlier ... and we agreed to come to an understanding under the Qadhafi foundation" to resolve the question of compensation, he said in a speech broadcast live on Libyan television. "We can say that the UTA affair and the Lockerbie affair are now behind us and that we are turning a page with France and the United States," he said. "The money is of little importance to us, we have our dignity." [AFP]
Monday, 1 September, 2003: The Qadhafi Foundation headed by the son of Libyan leader Qadhafi said that it has reached a compensation deal with the relatives of those killed in the bombing of a French airliner over Niger in 1989. After numerous meetings and negotiations over the past year with victims' families, "we have reached a compromise formula that is satisfactory for all parties," the foundation headed by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi said in a statement. [AFP]
Monday, 1 September, 2003: Supporters of imam Sadr On Saturday delivered a petition to the Lebanese government demanding it take up the case against the Libyan government in the relevant international courts. The petition accused Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi of being responsible for the imam's disappearance and of "having personally admitted in 2002 that the imam Sadr had been killed in Libya." The imam was the head of the Shiite Higher Council, the most important body in the Lebanese Shiite community. [AFP]
Monday, 1 September, 2003: Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese National Assembly, on Sunday appealed for international help in the quest for information about a Shiite cleric who disappeared in Libya in 1978. Speaking on the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of imam Mussa Sadr, Berri called on the UN, the Arab League, the Lebanese government and aid organisations for assistance. He demanded that "the Lebanese government take up the matter ... in order to learn the truth about the fate of the imam and his two companions". [AFP]

To send me the latest news or views please click here:
Back to: Libya: Our Home