News and Views [ April 2004 ]

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Friday, 30 April, 2004: Israeli chess players will apparently be allowed into Libya to participate in this summer's world championships, the Israeli Chess Association said Wednesday. "World Chess Federation, FIDE, officials met this week with Qadhafi's son and it was agreed that the tournament will be open to all," said Yerach Tal, deputy chairman of the Israeli Chess Association. Wednesday Israel received a letter from [Qadhafi's son] Mohammed al-Qadhafi (photo) via the World Chess Federation. [AP]
Friday, 30 April, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Wednesday French President Jacques Chirac would visit Libya in June, adding that no firm date had yet been set. "I believe that President Jacques Chirac will come to Libya on an official visit in June", Qadhafi told public Radio France Internationale from Brussels. "After that, personally, I would not object to coming to visit France", he added. On March 25 British Prime Minister Tony Blair became the first Western leader since to visit Tripoli since the renewal of relations. [AFP]
Friday, 30 April, 2004: Jordan's King Abdullah II paid a surprise visit to Libya on Thursday for talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the official Libyan news agency JANA reported. The two statesmen discussed "the deteriorating Arab situation and bilateral relations," JANA reported. The Qadhafi government is known to accuse Arab governments of having failed to stand up for the Palestinians against Israel. It is also opposed to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. [AP]
Friday, 30 April, 2004: The US and Britain want international assistance to be directed to Libya and Iraq, to ensure their weapons scientists pursue peaceful activities and are not lured to help other countries pursue clandestine weapons programmes. According to a senior Bush administration official, Washington and London are pushing for an announcement at the Group of Eight summit in June that some of the programmes of the G8's global partnership against the spread of WMDs should be used to redirect Libyan and Iraqi scientists. [FT]
Friday, 30 April, 2004: The U.S. said on Thursday Libya and Sudan reduced support for "terrorism" last year but remained on the U.S. list of state sponsors of such violence along with Iran, Syria, N. Korea, Cuba and Iraq. "Several of the seven designated state sponsors of terrorism -- most notably Libya and Sudan -- took significant steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism and the liberation of Iraq removed a regime that had long supported terrorist groups," the report said. "Nevertheless, the other state sponsors ... did not take all the necessary actions to disassociate themselves fully from their ties to terrorism in 2003." [Reuters]
Friday, 30 April, 2004: Libya's efforts to warm its relations with Europe will be dealt a heavy blow in case death sentences are delivered against the six Bulgarian medics, Liberal MP Matias Yorshi from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said. Talking to the BBC, Matias Yorshi, whom PACE appointed observer in the trial against the Bulgarian medics, underlined he believes in Libya's good intentions to move closer to the E.U. and the U.S.. Libya will see the end of its isolation soon but this will come at a price, Matias Yorshi said, stressing that Libya must first put an end to cases such as the one that pitted it against Bulgaria. [Novinite]
Friday, 30 April, 2004: If sentenced, the six Bulgarian medics can be imprisoned in Bulgaria pursuant to the bilateral agreement with Libya for transfer of sentenced nationals. According to Bulgarian Defence Minister Anton Stankov, the positive options for the Bulgarians sued for deliberate HIV infection of over 400 children can be extended to Libya's Supreme Court, which is authorized to hear appeal cases. Commenting to the Bulgarian daily 24 Hours the best and the worst outcomes of the trial, he pointed out that even if the Bulgarians were acquitted, the prosecutor and the infected children's parents would appeal. [Novinite]
Friday, 30 April, 2004: French cable systems developer Nexans has won a contract worth some €100 million ($118 million) from the General Electric Company of Libya to provide high-voltage underground power transmission links in the country's two main cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. The system will connect the electricity substations that will provide power to "Suk el Juma", "Ain zara" and "National" districts of Tripoli and the "North" and "Central" districts of Benghazi, stated a press release. The new underground links will raise the power transmission capabilities of these two cities, where demand for electricity is growing rapidly. [PEI]
Friday, 30 April, 2004: ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly listed oil and gas company, on Thursday expressed enthusiasm for the prospects in Libya, as the US prepares to lift economic sanctions against the country. "Libya? Absolutely we're interested," Pat Mulva, ExxonMobil vice-president of investor relations, responded to analysts on a conference call on Thursday. "We're getting actively involved." ChevronTexaco, the second biggest US oil and gas group after ExxonMobil, is also keen to move in. "As a company with a substantial prior history in Libya, we support the US government's decision to ease sanctions and now look forward to the full opening of Libya for all international investors," said Stan Luckoski, ChevronTexaco spokesman. [FT]

ALFA: A Letter To The Office Of The Public Prosecuter, Brussels

Thursday, 29 April, 2004: Originally the World Chess Federation (FIDE) world championship was scheduled to be staged in two parts, one in Libya and one in Malta. This was mainly to accommodate Israeli players. Now the main sponsor, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has guaranteed "entry visas to all the 128 qualified participants". FIDE is pleased to announce that the 2004 World Chess Championship will take place June 18 - July 13 in Tripoli. The Libyan Olympic Committee (LOC) guarantees entry visas to all the 128 qualified participants and the invitation to the players is signed by the President of LOC [Qadhafi's son], Mohammad al-Qadhafi. [FIDE]
Thursday, 29 April, 2004: Butera Andrews has become the first big US law firm to agree a strategic partnership with a Libyan counterpart following the thawing of relations between Washington and Tripoli. The Washington-based law firm has teamed with Abdulaziz Khalifa, based in Tripoli, to help US companies to enter Libya following the removal of European, and the easing of US, sanctions. "As US commercial interests are now looking to deal with Libya ... this new working relationship between the two law firms will provide crucial expertise and relationships in helping American firms gain swift entrée in oil and gas, banking, tourism and infrastructure development," Butera Andrews said in a statement yesterday. [FT]
Thursday, 29 April, 2004: The Conservative party in Britain today urged Tony Blair's government to press the new "open" Libya to produce a full list of the arms shipped to the IRA. Desmond Swayne, for the Tories, raised the subject at Northern Ireland question time in the Commons. "Is it the (British) government's policy to use the present improved relations with Libya to discover a full inventory of the arms that were shipped to the IRA?" he asked. Michael Mates, a Tory former Northern Ireland Minister, also urged the British government to find out from Libya, under their new openness regime, exactly what arms were shipped to Northern Ireland when Colonel Qadhafi was co-operating with the IRA. [IOL]

Amnesty Int'l: Libya; Time To Make Human Rights A Reality

Wednesday, 28 April, 2004: There was a noisy but friendly welcome for Qadhafi on the streets of Brussels. The little-known Arab-African Immigrant Child Support Committee were responsible for the carnival atmosphere. Authorities brought out extra police to manage the crowd. They had to keep the pro-Qadhafi group away from a 50-strong gathering of Libyan exiles (photo). They say the country's foreign policy may have changed, but human rights continue to be abused at home. Demonstrator Fathi Abdel Salam said: "He's a dictator and he killed a lot of people in Libya. He killed more than 1,000 political prisoners in Libya. And European Union invites him, and receives him as a good person. We are against that." [Euronews]
Wednesday, 28 April, 2004: Colonel Qadhafi warned yesterday that Libya was prepared to sponsor and harbour "freedom fighters" if his offer to the west of peace, including his decision to give up weapons of mass destruction, was rejected. "I hope we shall not be prompted or obliged by any evil to go back or to look backwards," the Libyan leader told an audience in Brussels of EU officials, journalists and security guards. Romano Prodi, the European Commission president, had spent most of his short speech praising the Libyan leader, mentioning in passing German and Bulgarian disputes and other human rights violations. Germany, however, has taken a tougher line, being prepared to block Libya joining the "Barcelona process". Only recently Mr Qadhafi said he would recognise Israel - a condition for membership of the group. [FT]
Wednesday, 28 April, 2004: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said the verdicts in the Benghazi HIV trial would now be better than they would have been in 2001. He agreed with Libyan leader Qadhafi who said that the delay of the verdicts of six Bulgarian medics accused of intentionally infecting Libyan children with HIV, has been in their interest. I can only imagine what the verdicts would have been in the summer of 2001, Passy said commenting media reports after a joint news conference of Col. Qadhafi and European Commission President Romano Prodi in Brussels. The Bulgarian medics are charged with the intentional infection of hundreds of children in a Libyan hospital with AIDS. They have been in Libyan custody since 1999. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 28 April, 2004: Marathon Oil Corp. President Clarence Cazolot is expected to visit Libya next month, company officials said Tuesday. Marathon is fully engaged and making good progress in negotiating a re-entry into production operations in Libya, company officials said during a conference call with analysts. As reported, Abdulla Salem El-Badri, chairman of Libya's National Oil Corp., will meet May 9 with U.S. oil firms in Tripoli, a move that Libyans say could result in U.S. companies pumping oil again there within a matter of months. [Dow Jones]
Wednesday, 28 April, 2004: Long-running disputes pitting Libya against Germany and Bulgaria look set to be resolved within weeks, European Commission President Romano Prodi said on Tuesday after ground-breaking talks with leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Tripoli's ambition to join the EU's partnership with Mediterranean rim nations cannot be fulfilled until the disputes with Berlin and Bulgaria are settled, Prodi said. Germany is demanding compensation for a 1986 bombing of a Berlin discotheque used by U.S. soldiers and Sofia wants freedom for six Bulgarian medics detained since 1999 and accused of deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV. [BNN]
Wednesday, 28 April, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has hailed his first visit to Europe in 15 years as historic and followed up his renunciation of weapons of mass destruction with a pledge to work for world peace. At a joint appearance with European Commission president Romano Prodi, Qadhafi portrayed Libya as a country whose decision to renounce weapons of mass destruction has made it an apostle of peace. "Libya has become an example to be followed," he said. In a lengthy statement, with a visibly uncomfortable Mr. Prodi standing at his side, Col. Qadhafi harangued reporters on such subjects as the failure of European colonialism and Europe's need for immigrants. Showing flashes of his old unpredictability, he called for all nations, including the U.S. and China, to follow Libya's example and give up their WMDs. [Epoch]
Wednesday, 28 April, 2004: Libya wants European and US firms to invest in Libya's oil industry and help develop it, Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi said Tuesday. "We need European companies, we need American companies to upgrade and modernize the wells of gas and oil and to upgrade them," he told a joint press conference in Brussels with European Commission President Romano Prodi. He was speaking after arriving in Brussels for a landmark visit, his first trip to Europe in 15 years, as Tripoli moves towards ending its international pariah status. [AFP]

Tuesday, 27 April, 2004: Despite recent progress, Libya continues to violate basic human rights and a "climate of fear" persists in the country says human rights group Amnesty Int'l. The report, released on Tuesday in Brussels, falls on the same day as Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was due in the Belgian capital. "Libya is at a crossroads. There is an urgent need to establish the truth over past events and for the Libyan authorities to commit to domestic reforms to address current abuses," Amnesty said. While noting positive measures such as the freeing of up to 300 prisoners in 2001 and 2002 and a new openness to int'l monitoring, the group said "a climate of fear" still reigned in Libya. "Today, a pattern of human rights violations, witnessed over the past three decades, repeats itself, often under the new rhetoric of the war against terror." [Al-Jazeera]
Tuesday, 27 April, 2004: Washington no longer sees evidence of Libyan links to militants and wants to remove the once-pariah nation from its list of terrorism sponsors as soon as possible, Secretary of State Colin Powell says. Removal from the blacklist would eliminate one of the final barriers to Libya's full acceptance into the international community after Washington rewarded it this year for giving up arms programs by easing sanctions and improving ties. While Powell told Reuters the U.S. would examine for several more months whether Libya had broken all ties with militants, he wanted a plan that ultimately takes Libya off the terror list to be implemented as soon as possible. "I want it to go as fast as we can make it go. It is in our interests to receive Libya back into the international community," Powell said in the interview on Monday. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 27 April, 2004: The supporters and followers of Imam Musa Sadr trust Iranian officials to determine Sadr's fate, and since diplomatic efforts have gotten nowhere, the government should take more serious measures, Dr. Sadeq Tabataba'i, Sadr's nephew, said on Monday. He said that Libya has been avoiding discussion of the issue since Sadr disappeared over 25 years ago. Musa Sadr traveled to Libya on August 27, 1978 and disappeared three days later. Tabataba'i said that Libya seems intent on developing ties with Iran, but the Sadr issue is a hindrance; thus it has announced its readiness to clarify the Sadr issue. [Tehran Times]
Tuesday, 27 April, 2004: The six Bulgarian medics expecting their verdicts in Libya are innocent, according to the European Commission. We hope that the trial saga of the five nurses and the doctor, charged with deliberate HIV infection of more than 400 Libyan kids, will see its happy end in May, the EU Commission Spokesman Reijo Kempinnen said on Monday. He added that EU Commission President Prodi would raise the issue of the detained and sued Bulgarian and Palestinian medics in his talks with Qadhafi, set to visit Brussels on Tuesday. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 27 April, 2004: Bahrain's Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Al Khalifa yesterday received Libyan Prime Minister Dr Shukri Mohammed Ghanim. [Gulf Daily News]
Monday, 26 April, 2004: Libyan envoys will go to Washington to open a liaison office in the US capital, Libya's foreign minister said yesterday. Abdel-Rahman Shalgam said the move was part of the mutual improvement of relations that has been under way since December when Libyan leader Qadhafi committed his government to dismantling WMDs. "We have agreed to begin upgrading the American interests office in the Belgian Embassy" in Tripoli, Shalgam said, adding that "a Libyan delegation will head to Washington to open an office there". [Gulf News]
Monday, 26 April, 2004: Bulgaria's people should unite in defence of the six Libya suspects, justice minister said in a television interview. Anton Stankov insisted that the medics were innocent, no matter what court should rule. The six medics will be sentenced on May 6. They are accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. Bulgarian media launched a campaign for collecting 1,000,000 letters in support of them. The letters, saying "They are innocent and you know it," will then be forwarded to the US and the EU. [Novinite]

ALFA: A Letter To Romano Prodi; President Of The European Commission

Sunday, 25 April, 2004: The Bush administration will soon inform Congress that it plans to open a U.S. liaison office in the Libyan capital Tripoli, the State Department said. "We are in the process of notifying Congress of our intent to open a U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli headed by a principal officer," said a statement issued early Saturday. The U.S. currently has a senior diplomat, Gregory Berry, in Tripoli who looks after U.S. interests in Libya. In February 1980, the U.S. closed its embassy in Tripoli. In May 1981, the U.S. formally ordered Libya to close its embassy in Washington and instructed its personnel to leave the country. [UPI]
Sunday, 25 April, 2004: Ahmed el-Ghandour, professor of international economics at Cairo University, says the Arab world is likely to view the U.S. decision to ease economic sanctions imposed on Libya negatively. He says, while the Bush administration is calling for democracy in the Middle East, it is supporting Libya's authoritarian regime for economic reasons. "The only reason why the U.S. is taking this step toward Libya, and it is a favorable one as far as Libya and the regime is concerned, is that it has an interest, and in particular, an economic interest," said el-Ghandour. Libya has already announced contracts will be signed in the next few days, and the first shipment of oil to the U.S. since 1986 will be on its way next month. [VOA]
Sunday, 25 April, 2004: Abdallah Al-Qablawi, director general of the Libyan National Oil Company, said that Libya has decided to export its first consignment of oil to the U.S. in May following Washington's decision to lift some economic sanctions imposed on Tripoli. An agreement was signed with a big American company to export one million barrels of crude oil to the U.S., al-Qablawi said, adding the amount is likely to increase up to 2 million barrels if necessary. [Xinhua]
Sunday, 25 April, 2004: Visitors to Libya are left with no doubt that the country is heading towards a market economy, but officials insist that this in no way contradicts Col. Qadhafi's ideology ... the slogans painted on walls and banners in Tripoli, taken from Qadhafi's "Green Book," have not changed. "Partners, not wage earners," is one of the most frequent slogans. In 1977, the slogan translated into collective ownership of the means of production. And this led in turn to a state-controlled economy. But economics professor and director of Tripoli's Graduate Studies Academy, Saleh Ibrahim, said this was "a wrong interpretation of the Green Book." [AFP]
Sunday, 25 April, 2004: An Abu Dhabi Economic Department official has recently had talks with Libyan officials in a bid to invigorate economic ties and explore avenues of bilateral investment and trade cooperation. The official was in the Libyan capital Tripoli, on the directives of Shaikh Hamed, Department's Chairman, to attend an international forum on investment opportunities. The official, Department's Director Mohammed Al Qubeisi, said delegates from some Arab and other countries took part in the forum, the first of its kind to be held in Libya. [Khaleej Times]
Sunday, 25 April, 2004: Libya will be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism after the upgrade of their diplomatic ties, Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam said. Shalgam told reporters in Tripoli that a bilateral accord to normalise relations reached last year provides for "Libya to be removed from the terrorism list after the ties are upgraded." "We hope this will happen as soon as possible," he said. President Bush announced on Friday that Washington was easing economic sanctions to reward Tripoli for giving up its quest for WMDs. [Gulf Daily]
Sunday, 25 April, 2004: Libya welcomed a U.S. move to relax its trade embargo on the North African state and said on Saturday bankers from the two countries were discussing ways to unfreeze Libyan assets in the US. Washington said on Friday it would allow U.S. firms to buy Libyan oil and invest as a reward to Tripoli for giving up WMD development programs. But some restrictions remain and frozen Libyan assets are still blocked. Libyan officials say assets worth about $1 billion are frozen in the United States, including equity holdings in banks. [Reuters]
Sunday, 25 April, 2004: Although Libyan assets in the U.S. remain blocked, a Libyan banking official said there would be no further freezing, which would previously have occurred if, for example, any Libyan dollar transactions were cleared through New York. "Now new funds cannot be blocked. New funds can go through New York without any problems," the banker said, saying the new arrangements were expected to become effective during next week. "For us, especially the banking sector, it is an immense relief. It will allow us to conduct business in the most profitable investment market in the world," the Libyan banker said. [Reuters]

Saturday, 24 April, 2004: The Bush administration lifted most U.S. sanctions against Libya on Friday, opening the way for U.S. investments and commercial activities but still forbidding air travel and some exports to the country, the White House said. The decision came in recognition of the steps Libya has taken during the past two months to renounce terrorism and to voluntarily eliminate its weapons of mass destruction and longer-range missile programs, White House officials said. "Libya has set a standard that we hope other nations will emulate in rejecting WMDs and in working constructively with international organizations to halt the proliferation of the world's most dangerous systems," the White House said in a written statement. [CNN]
Saturday, 24 April, 2004: Libya's official JANA news agency Friday described the easing of US sanctions as a "victory", saying Libyan leader Qadhafi had received a phone call from Tunisian President Ben Ali "who congratulated him for Libya's victory over the past challenges." It was the first official reaction in Tripoli to US President Bush's announcement earlier Friday about easing the 18-year-old US economic sanctions imposed on Libya. President Bush made the decision because "Libya has taken significant steps eliminating WMD programs and longer range missiles, and has reiterated its pledge to halt all support for terrorism. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 24 April, 2004: UK Deputy Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien discussed the Bulgarian medics trial with Abdelrahman Shalgam, Libya's Foreign Minister. The Bulgarian section of BBC reported that Shalgam promised a fair judgement in the case. Mike O'Brien has also expressed UK's concerns about the bad condition of the human rights in Libya. The final hearing of the HIV trial against the six Bulgarians was scheduled for May 6. [Novinite]
Saturday, 24 April, 2004: U.S. president's Press Secretary: "... In recognition of our deepening dialogue and diplomatic engagement on a broader range of issues, the Department of State intends to establish a U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli, pending Congressional notification. Our protecting power relationship with Belgium, whose support in Tripoli over the years has been greatly appreciated, would end. Direct diplomatic dealings with Libya will reflect the reality on the ground over the last several months of bilateral cooperation and dialogue". [The White House]
Saturday, 24 April, 2004: A terror suspect jailed without charge revealed today he was not questioned once during his 16 months in prison. The 38-year-old Libyan, known only as M, was held under controversial anti-terrorism laws at the maximum security Belmarsh prison in south east London. He was released last month. He said he was never questioned by police and he said he was treated like a Camp X-Ray inmate. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "They did not question me once". M likened the way he was held to the treatment of inmates held at Guantanamo Bay and Libya's notorious special courts. "This ... reminds me exactly of what my country did with the detainees in Libya, exactly the same," he said. [PA]
Friday, 23 April, 2004: Libya's top diplomat to Romania was found dead early on Wednesday, Romanian police said. Khalifa al-Atrash, the Libyan charge d'affaires in Romania, died in a bar in downtown Bucharest, said police spokesman Marius Tache. He said there were no signs of foul play in the death of the 51-year-old diplomat. "He was in a bar and he took sick. An ambulance was called, but he was dead when it arrived. An investigation is under way," the police said. [AP]
Friday, 23 April, 2004: U.S. President Bush has decided to allow U.S. companies to resume most trade with Libya, U.S. officials said on Thursday. Bush is also poised to terminate the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act's provisions on Libya that allow him to punish non-U.S. firms that invest more than $20 million a year in Libya's energy sector. The officials said some U.S. sanctions will stay in place: Libyan government assets in the U.S. will remain frozen and air travel will still be restricted. Libya will also remain on the U.S. list of "state sponsors of terrorism". [Reuters]
Friday, 23 April, 2004: Arrangements for a ground-breaking visit to European Union (EU) headquarters by Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi are still being thrashed out with ties between Tripoli and the EU dependent on the outcome of a dispute with Germany. EU officials said that Qadhafi would also be asked about the fate of six Bulgarian medics who have been detained in Tripoli since 1999 on charges of having deliberately infected hundreds of children with the HIV virus. "We cannot confirm anything yet," said an EU spokesman, adding, however, that the visit would probably take place on 27 and 28 April. [Expatica]
Friday, 23 April, 2004: The U.N. Security Council on Thursday praised Libya's pledge to drop its pursuit of WMDs and encouraged it to follow through in a way that can be verified by the international community. "The Security Council welcomes the decision (by Libya) to abandon its programs for developing WMDs and their means of delivery," it said in a statement adopted unanimously by the 15-nation body. The statement praised Libya's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and encouraged it "to ensure the verified elimination" of the arms programs. [Reuters]
Friday, 23 April, 2004: U.S. oil companies are awaiting formal announcement of a decision by the Bush administration that is expected next week to lift sanctions on Libya. Companies that had been operating in the North African nation prior to the sanctions being imposed in 1986 are looking forward to exploiting the nation's rich reserves at a time when oil prices are at high levels. Sometime next week President Bush is expected to lift some of the sanctions on Libya that have been in effect since 1986. That would allow U.S. companies with holdings in Libya to negotiate a return to Libya and the once-lucrative production they enjoyed there. [VOA]
Friday, 23 April, 2004: U.S. Marathon oil spokesman Paul Weeditz said that Libya is a very oil rich country with proven oil deposits and the potential for more exploration. He said that Marathon cannot predict what level of production might be achieved in returning to Libya, but he says the potential is impressive. "When we last operated in Libya back prior to 1986 and the imposition of the sanctions, we had 300 million barrels of oil equivalent of proved reserves on our books," he recalled. "Those, of course, were taken off because we did not have access to them for these many years, but that gives you some idea of the order of magnitude of our former operations and the potential opportunities that might exist in the future." [VOA]
Friday, 23 April, 2004: Libya said its potential oil reserves could be three times higher than currently proven, and that many US firms have expressed interest in developing them once sanctions are lifted. Energy Minister Fathi Omar Bin-Shatwan said "a lot of experts working in Libya say our oil reserves may be more than 100 billion barrels", compared to 36 bln barrels of reserves currently proven. If the 100 bln barrel figure is confirmed, Libya would be sitting on nearly 10 pct of the world's current total reserves, with a hydrocarbon wealth similar to Kuwait's. Bin-Shatwan, addressing an international business conference, pointed out that 70 pct of his country's territory was not explored and would be open to prospection by oil companies. [AFX]
Friday, 23 April, 2004: Libya said on Wednesday it was drawing up a new hydrocarbons law to replace decades-old legislation that would help speed up what foreign oil firms say is a tortuous negotiation process for energy deals. Senior Libyan oil officials also said the next energy block licensing round could take place within two months, with 10 to 15 blocks on offer in the under-explored Libya. "We are taking care of speeding the process of agreement ... We are adjusting our law to speed up the process to add a new article in the law, concerning gas, concerning petrochemical, concerning environment as well," Oil Minister Fathi Shatwan said. [Reuters]

Thursday, 22 April, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will pay a rare visit to Europe next week for high-level talks in Brussels marking another retreat from pariah status for his regime. The Libyan leader will have lunch with European Commission President Romano Prodi on Tuesday, followed by dinner with Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. He will stay in Brussels until Wednesday, although his programme for that day has yet to be finalised, the Belgian foreign ministry said. It will be Qadhafi's first official visit outside Africa or the Middle East since 1989, when he took part in a summit of non-aligned countries in Belgrade. [AFP]
Thursday, 22 April, 2004: British Foreign Office minister Mike O'Brien held talks with Libya's foreign minister and deputy prime minister just weeks after Tony Blair's historic meeting with Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in Tripoli. Mr O'Brien welcomed the Libyan leader's announcement on the abolition of special revolutionary courts. But he added: "The UK continues to have a number of concerns about Libya's human rights record." [The Scotsman]
Thursday, 22 April, 2004: Questions about police detentions and legal procedures apparently not being followed in the cases of several foreign Muslims, were raised on Wednesday after the extradition hearing of a Libyan national in Pretoria magistrate's court. Ibrahim Ali Abubaker Tantoush, 38, was released on R8 000 bail pending his extradition to Libya. He is wanted there on charges of stealing gold, which was allegedly used to finance terrorist activities. Abeda Bhamjee of the University of the Witwatersrand legal clinic, who represented Tantoush in his asylum application, said on Wednesday that she was concerned about the fairness of the administrative process in this case. Tantoush arrived in S. Africa on Nov. 1 last year after being deported from Indonesia with a false South African passport. He was still in custody on Jan. 7 this year without having access to a legal representative. During this time, intelligence agents from S. Africa, Britain and America apparently questioned him without him having legal assistance. [News24]

Wednesday, 21 April, 2004: A Libyan national with alleged links to al-Qaeda appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court for extradition proceedings. Police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said the matter was postponed to June 30 and Ibrahim Ali Abubakar Tantoush was freed on R8,000 bail. Tantoush was arrested in February for allegedly being in possession of a fake S. African passport. He was also wanted by the Interpol on a warrant issued at the request of the Libyan government on a charge of gold theft. Tantoush reportedly denied the claims, saying Libya wanted to punish him for his role in a student uprising in the late 1980s. [Sunday Times]
Wednesday, 21 April, 2004: More than 100 Libyan political prisoners, including Muslim Brothers prisoners and other organizations, started a hunger strike since the dawn of Saturday inside Bou Slim prison in the Libyan capital Tripoli. The observers of the strike call for releasing all opinion prisoners and to quickly treat scores of patient prisoners and provide aid care to grave health cases as well as halt torture and inhuman treatment inside the prison. [Arabic News]
Wednesday, 21 April, 2004: Libya has given the U.S. an extra three months to end economic sanctions and drop it from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism or it will reduce payments in the Lockerbie bombing settlement, a lawyer said on Tuesday. Under a compensation deal with families of the 270 victims of the bombing, Libya insisted the U.S. take both actions by Thursday or it would cut the amounts paid out to the families. Jim Kreindler, a private lawyer who represents many of the Lockerbie families, said Libya agreed to extend the deadline by three months until July 22 apparently to give Washington more time to end the sanctions. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 21 April, 2004: British Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien has said Libya needs economic reforms to attract foreign investments. Mr O'Brien's comments came as he led a delegation of British business executives to boost trade and investment between the two countries. He told a news conference in Tripoli that Libya was not a dangerous place for investment, but needed a lot of economic reforms to attract foreign investments. Mr O'Brien noted that there was a real wish by Libyan officials to get rid of the country's heavy bureaucracy. [PA News]
Wednesday, 21 April, 2004: The European Union's arms embargo on Libya will remain in force until Germany agrees to lift it, British junior foreign minister Mike O'Brien said in Tripoli Tuesday. "We don't have a problem with it except that it would need agreement with our European partners," O'Brien told reporters when asked about lifting the ban during a visit to the Libyan capital. "There is .. a particular issue with a European country, Germany. Once that is resolved, the stumbling block to lifting that embargo will be removed," he said. [EU Business]
Wednesday, 21 April, 2004: Balfour Beatty Plc, the U.K.'s biggest construction company, said it may bid for contracts from the Libyan government to build railways. The company ended talks with U.S. companies in December about contracts to help rebuild Iraq's infrastructure because of the security risk. "Libya would be a natural place for us to go," said Tim Sharp, a spokesman for the London-based company. "The government is doing feasibility studies for two railways and if it turns out the project does go ahead we would be interested." [Bloomberg]
Wednesday, 21 April, 2004: Libya welcomed on Tuesday indications that the U.S. could lift many economic sanctions as early as this week, saying it would spur investment from U.S and other international companies. A Tripoli diplomatic source said the U.S. move could come as early as Thursday. Asked about the latest U.S. comments on sanctions, Economy Minister Abdel-Qader Omar Belkheir told Reuters: "We welcome this, and we expect this to happen because this is why Libya has done all these initiatives and all these efforts." Belkheir was speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Tripoli to promote investment in Libya after years of isolation. [Reuters]

Tuesday, 20 April, 2004: Thousands of Libyans took to the streets of Tripoli Monday shouting protests against continued U.S. violence in Iraq. The protesters denounced what they called "the mass annihilation campaign" carried out by U.S. forces in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities. "Such crimes are unprecedented in history in terms of savagery and barbarism," they said in a statement also calling for "jihad", or Islamic holy war. They urged Arabs to declare civil disobedience and boycott politically and economically all countries taking part in Iraq's occupation. [UPI]
Tuesday, 20 April, 2004: The U.S. aims to lift many economic sanctions on Libya soon, possibly as early as this week, allowing U.S. oil and other companies to invest there and to buy Libyan oil, U.S. officials said on Monday. The decision, which officials said was still under review and could slip to next week or beyond, would allow U.S. firms to resume most commercial activities in Libya and it largely reflects Tripoli's decision to give up weapons of mass destruction. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 20 April, 2004: It has been announced that British Trade Minister Mike O'Brien will visit Libya [today] on a two-day visit. Mr O'Brien, who visited Libya in August 2001, was the first time a British Minister met the Libyan leader. This time he heads to Libya with a group of senior executives from British business to "help take relations to the next level". The British government and the Libyan authorities have been working hard to cement the improvement in relations after Libya's decision to its WMD programmes last December. [4NI]
Tuesday, 20 April, 2004: French President Jacques Chirac accepted on Monday an invitation in principle to visit Libya soon, Chirac's office said. Chirac has been agreed "in principle" to Libyan Prime minister Shukri Ghanim's invitation to Libya, but the date had not yet been fixed, the presidential office said after Chirac's meeting with Ghanim. "Ghanim arrived in Paris on Monday for a three-day official visit to mark a new era of bilateral ties between Paris and Tripoli. [Xinhua]
Tuesday, 20 April, 2004: Lawyers for victims of the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco are optimistic they can secure compensation from Libya in the coming months, a vital step for Tripoli to restore full diplomatic ties with the European Union. Ulrich von Jeinsen, one of 29 lawyers representing 160 European victims of the attack, told Reuters on Monday that talks in Tripoli at the weekend had gone well. "We meet again on May 14 in Berlin. I hope that we will be able then to reach a final deal," Von Jeinsen said. A Berlin court ruled in 2001 that the Libyan secret service was behind the attack at the West Berlin "La Belle" nightclub, in which a Turkish woman and two U.S. soldiers were killed and more than 200 people injured. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 20 April, 2004: Libya cutting back crude output by mid-May to honor new, lower OPEC quota, oil marketing official in Tripoli tells Dow Jones Newswires. If true, this would equate with 14% less oil mid-May compared with estimated Mar output, or some 200,000 b/d less. Libya OPEC target Apr 1 is 1.258 mln b/d, IEA and OPEC gauge March output around 1.47 mln b/d. Official says; "We started cutting back during the second half of Mar as much of the production is coming from smaller fields which take time to alter outflow." [Dow Jones]
Tuesday, 20 April, 2004: A top Libyan official warned Ireland in 1986 of a plan to use the Irish Republican Army to assassinate Margaret Thatcher and her family. According to classified Irish government files, Eamon Kennedy, Ireland's Libyan ambassador, met with Saad Mujber, Libya's chief of protocol, on June 21 of that year in Tripoli where he was told of Libyan leader Qadhafi's plan to give $50 million in cash and weapons to the IRA so it could kill Thatcher, the Sunday Herald of Ireland reported. A highly confidential and urgent cable sent by Kennedy after the meeting states at times during the two-hour discussion, Mujbar -- a close confidant of Qadhafi -- was "screaming, weeping and sweating all at once." "Thatcher and her children will have to pay. Let there be no doubt about that," his cable quotes Mujbar as saying. "If she does not leave office, she and her family will be destroyed." The documents reveal Thatcher would be killed to avenge the U.S. bombing of Libya, launched from Britain in 1986. [UPI]

Monday, 19 April, 2004: Libyan leader Qadhafi, who is seeking to improve ties with the West, says his government would sign an international treaty banning torture. He also said "normal criminal law procedure" should replace current "revolutionary court". Addressing lawyers and judges, he praised Amnesty Int'l and other human rights groups for attacking the use of torture by governments -- without saying if he included his own. In its 2003 report on Libya Amnesty said: "Reports of torture continued to be received; no investigations were known to have been carried out. Legislation remained in force criminalising non-violent political activities and providing for unfair trials." Amnesty said torture remained common in detention centres and said relatives were told dozens of prisoners had died in prison, but were not informed of the cause of death. [Reuters]
Monday, 19 April, 2004: Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Sunday called for the abolition of Libya's three decade-old exceptional courts and other strict laws criticized by human rights groups. During talks with judges and prosecutors, the Libyan leader urged delegates meeting across the country since Saturday in weeklong annual People's Congress forums to annul the laws, which were passed three years after Qadhafi seized power in a 1969 military coup. Libya's exceptional laws have, among other things, banned the formation of political parties and stipulated death penalties for dissidents.The official news agency JANA reported that Qadhafi also called for an end to arrests without warrant and urged the congresses to endorse int'l anti-torture conventions. [AP]
Monday, 19 April, 2004: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has attended a memorial service to remember a young police officer shot dead outside Libya's London embassy 20 years ago. Yvonne Fletcher, 25, was shot in the back as she helped to police a demonstration against Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on April 17, 1984, prompting the then premier to cut diplomatic ties with Tripoli. More than 100 people joined the policewoman's parents, her three sisters and senior officers at the service held amid tight security in central London on Saturday. Fletcher's family laid flowers at the simple white stone memorial near the spot in St James's Square where she fell and a minute's silence was held. Home Office minister Baroness Scotland represented the government. The jury at an inquest into Fletcher's death ruled that she was "unlawfully killed" by a bullet from a first-floor window at the embassy. [Reuters]
Monday, 19 April, 2004: Libya's internet access seems to be getting back to normal after one of the strangest weeks in the history of the web: the whole country "disappeared" from view this month. Following a dispute about the ownership of the country-code top level domain .ly, the nameserver running the domains stopped answering requests for .ly on April 7, followed by the secondary nameserver on April 9, meaning that none of the estimated 12,500 Libyan domains could be accessed. In effect, the entire country had gone offline. The problem seems to be a dispute between two different organisations as to who governs the .ly domain: while has been running the .ly domain for several years from a base in the UK, another organisation,, is claiming ownership. [ITP]
Monday, 19 April, 2004: OAO Tatneftegeofizika, a subsidiary of Russian oil company Tatneft, has become first Russian company to open an office in Libya. Tatneft said in a press release that the office is located in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Tatneftegeofizika plans to offer seismic exploration and geophysical services in Libya. The company works on the geophysical research market and carries out research and develops well instruments. [Interfax]

FLD-UK: Letter To British Prime Minister Tony Blair

A Libyan student wounded while peacefully demonstrating against dictator Qadhafi in front of the Libyan embassy in London, 17 April, 1984.Sunday, 18 April, 2004: The brutal murder of WPc Yvonne Fletcher 20 years ago triggered a breakdown of diplomatic relations between Britain and Libya and the wound has never properly healed. Fletcher was gunned down while policing a peaceful protest by Libyan students opposed to the rule of terror chief Qadhafi outside the Libyan Embassy in central London, on April 17, 1984. The bullet that claimed her life was fired by a sniper, hiding at one of the Libyan embassy's windows, and was intended for the protesting Libyan dissidents. Eleven students were wounded (photo). [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 18 April, 2004: Representatives of Norway's government and state-held oil giants Statoil and Norsk Hydro will travel to Libya next week to examine investment opportunities, the government said Friday. Norway hopes to get a jump on the competition now that Libya's ties with the international community have normalized, the Foreign Ministry said. "Given the international competition, it's very important to be quick out of the gates. Norwegian authorities want to help make Norway's interest very clear," Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen, who will head the delegation, told public radio NRK. [The Daily Star]
Sunday, 18 April, 2004: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy extended gratitude to the European Union for its support in the trial against the six Bulgarian medics in Libya. Minister Passy participated Saturday in an informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU Member States, Accession Countries and Applicant Countries, that took place in Tullamore, Ireland. In the middle of January the European Union urged the Libyan side to drop the charges against the six Bulgarian medics in a demarche to the Libyan government handed by the ambassadors of the UK and the Netherlands. The next trial session will be held on May 6. [Novinite]
Sunday, 18 April, 2004: An Austrian business delegation, led by Vice Chancellor Hubert Gorbach, arrived in Tripoli on Friday in a mission to boost bilateral trade. Gorbach told reporters that his country was interested in consolidating and boosting friendly relations with Libya in all domains, according to JANA, the official Libyan news agency. Earlier, the Austria Press Agency reported that the delegation would comprise senior officials of the rightist Austrian Freedom Party, including populist Joerg Haider.No political representative of Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's center-right Austrian People's Party, the senior partner in the coalition with the Freedom Party, was on the delegation, the Austrian agency reported. [AP]
Sunday, 18 April, 2004: Senegal have been drawn against Libya in the opening game of the int'l invitational tournament beginning April 28 in Nigeria. Hosts Nigeria and Jordan will do battle in the other match with the respective winners clashing in the April 30 final at the same venue. The winners are guaranteed $50,000 prize money with the runners-up receiving $30,000. [AFP]

Libyans Demonstrating In London: Letter To Prime Minister Blair

Saturday, 17 April, 2004: When U.S. warplanes bombed Libya on April 15, 1986, they committed an act of terrorism, says Cyril Brown. Brown, 65, has stood a vigil every year on the anniversary of the attack outside RAF Lakenheath, England, which sent 24 F-111s on the operation. "At the time, we thought it was such an act of terrorism," said Brown, who stood Wednesday afternoon with a knot of friends for three hours outside the main gate. "It was done with the collusion of the Thatcher government. "Why we're doing it now is to remind people that terrorism isn't 'them' and we're the good guys. Don't use terrorism and say it's something else." [Stars And Stripes]
Saturday, 17 April, 2004: During World War II, a young diplomat accredited to Nicaragua was asked to return to Washington to brief President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Nazi activities in Central America. The diplomat told FDR that President Anastasio Somoza had been ruthless in his crackdown on German sympathizers. He quickly added that he had been ruthless in cracking down on dissent of all kinds. "Mr. President," the young envoy said, "Somoza is an S.O.B." "Yes," FDR is said to have responded, "but he is our S.O.B." That seems to be the criterion applied to Britain's rapprochement with Libya's dictator Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [Newsday]
Saturday, 17 April, 2004: The U.S. Department of State is facing a deadline and a dilemma. The deadline is April 22, because the following day, according to a deal our diplomats negotiated with the oppressive tyranny of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the Bank of Int'l Settlements in Switzerland will transfer $1.35 billion to Libya unless the U.S. has lifted sanctions. That sum is being held by the Swiss Bank on behalf of the families of the victims of the Lockerbie terrorist bombing, to which the Libyan government has admitted guilt. In other words, either we lift sanctions within the next eight days or the Lockerbie widows and orphans lose - and Libya gains - $1.35 billion. [NRO]
Saturday, 17 April, 2004: Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem is due to make an official visit to Paris from April 19 to 21, the French foreign ministry said Friday, describing his stay as a mark of improved bilateral diplomatic ties. "This visit constitutes a new stage in the development of Franco-Libyan relations", said ministry spokeswoman Cecile Pozzo di Borgo. It follows a visit to Paris in January by Libya's foreign minister, Abdelrahman Shalgam. Ghanem will be welcomed Monday by President Chirac and will meet with Prime Minister Raffarin later in the day. [AFP]
Saturday, 17 April, 2004: British Business and government representatives will step up the corporate drive into Libya next week, at a conference to encourage investment and development as the country moves in from the economic cold. Mike O'Brien, the trade minister, will lead a delegation to Tripoli, speaking on Tuesday at the "Doing Business in Libya" conference. Business representatives will be mainly from engineering and energy companies hoping to tap into Libya's oil and gas reserves and win lucrative infrastructure contracts. [The Financial Times]
Saturday, 17 April, 2004: State Bank of India (SBI) has been slapped with a legal notice from the Libyan Embassy for blocking its sovereign account and withholding $2,53,090.75 at the instruction of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control. It has also asked SBI to pay 18% interest per annum on $2,53,090.75, to make-up for the inconvenience caused ... "We will initiate talks with the Libyan Embassy and sort it out," said a senior official of the bank. [Indian Express]
Saturday, 17 April, 2004: Bulgarian medics, whom Libya is trying for allegedly infecting hundreds of children with the virus, which causes AIDS, said Friday they expected to be acquitted. A court in the coastal city of Benghazi on Thursday delayed for May 6 its verdict."I expect to hear that we are innocent on May, 6," one of the defendants Dr. Zdravko Georgiev told Bulgaria's state TV. Libyan authorities have allowed Bulgarian journalists to meet the medics in a prison in Benghazi. Prosecutors want death penalties for all defendants - five nurses and a doctor - whom they have charged with infecting 426 Libyan children with the HIV virus. [BNN]
Saturday, 17 April, 2004: Journalists met Friday with Bulgarian medics charged with infecting more than 400 children in Libya with the HIV virus, for the first time in eight months. No pictures were made during the one-hour meeting. The medics revealed that they were counting the days till May 6, the date of the final hearing. Journalists were banned from visiting the six Bulgarians in the Quefia prison last September, without any reason by Libyan authorities. On Thursday, the Benghazi Criminal Court postponed a verdict on the Bulgarians - five nurses and one doctor - who have been on trial for five years. The next court session will be held on May 6. [Novinite]

Friday, 16 April, 2004: The U.S. is considering easing two sets of sanctions on Libya but not before an April 22 deadline setting payments to families of the Lockerbie bombing victims, U.S. officials said on Thursday. The officials said their actions on easing sanctions are not bound by Libya's agreement with the families of the 270 people killed in the Lockerbie bombing. Libya last August took responsibility for the bombing and paid $2.7 billion in compensation that is to be paid out to the victims' families under a phased deal that is tied to the lifting of sanctions. U.S. officials said they are considering easing the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) but a decision may be months away. [Reuters]
Friday, 16 April, 2004: U.S. officials said that despite President George W. Bush's statement on Tuesday that "Libya has turned its back on terror," Tripoli will not be removed from the U.S. list of "state sponsors of terrorism" when the State Department releases its annual terrorism report due out on April 29. [Reuters]
Friday, 16 April, 2004: The fall of Saddam Hussein has allowed terrorism, and notably Islamic extremism like that of Osama bin Laden, to flourish in Iraq, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said, describing terror as a threat to the security of the whole world. "Saddam's fall has not brought terrorism to an end," Qadhafi said in a televised speech on Wednesday. "Far from it: it has found a bigger opportunity to flourish," he said, addressing an audience of Libyan police officers. "The Al-Qaeda network did not exist before in Iraq, and now it is there, along with the renegades," said Qadhafi. Al-Qaeda is bin Laden's underground extremist network, and the term "renegades" is used by Qadhafi to refer to Islamic extremists in general. [MEOL]
Friday, 16 April, 2004: A Libyan court postponed its verdict on Thursday on six Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor charged with infecting hundreds of children with the deadly HIV virus, court officials said. A prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for the five women and two men, who were detained in Tripoli in 1999 and accused of infecting 426 Libyan children at a Benghazi hospital with blood products contaminated with HIV, the virus that causes Aids. A court official told reporters one of the judges hearing the case had fallen ill and the verdict in the five-year-old trial would now be delivered on May 6. More than 40 of the children have died since 1999, adding to already heated emotions in both countries over the case. [Reuters]
Friday, 16 April, 2004: The son of a Libyan diplomat in India, Marwan Ali, was assaulted in Defence Colony on April 6. The two assailants reportedly also stole his mobile phone. Marwan is the son of councillor Ali al-Hoshw and had come to India three weeks ago. The police suspect that the assailants were known to him. "On April 4, Marwan and his friends had an altercation with another group of boys in Defence Colony market. This attracted the attention of a sub-inspector who intervened and separated the two groups. When Marwan was asked to report the matter to the police he refused to. "The other group claimed their parents worked with an embassy and they would get the matter sorted through diplomatic channel. They spoke the same language. They might be from Libya or a Middle East country," the police said. [The Times Of India]
LLHR: Libya; Threat To Life Of A Human Rights Defender

Thursday, 15 April, 2004: An entire nation's internet addresses stopped functioning for almost five days, before being reactivated yesterday. All URLs and email addresses ending in the domain .ly, for Libya, did not work between Friday and Tuesday. Thousands of web sites, many of them in English and not directly connected to Libya, became inaccessible as a result. It's still not clear exactly what happened, but it seems to be the fault of the domain's "caretaker", possibly related to an ongoing political struggle for control over .ly. Blame was initially laid at the door of the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which was accused of turning the domain off without consulting users, but this turned out not to be true. [CBR]
Thursday, 15 April, 2004: Libya is beginning the process of opening up its offshore oil reserves to foreign firms by trying to map out the extent of what it has to offer. The country became a target for oil majors late last year when it agreed to abandon programmes for developing weapons of mass destruction. The decision triggered an easing of sanctions, allowing Anglo-Dutch major Shell to sign a gas deal. Now Libya is hiring a French firm to see how much oil it has in its waters. The company, Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (CGG), has been contracted to start seismic surveys by June this year. The client for the work is Libya's National Oil Company. [BBC]
Thursday, 15 April, 2004: The White House moved quickly to correct the record when President Bush misspoke on a weapons issue. During his news conference last night, Bush twice told the nation that 50 tons of mustard gas were found in Libya. But that was twice the amount actually uncovered. In one reference to Libya, Bush used the disclosure of Libyan mustard gas to suggest that weapons of mass destruction could still turn up in Iraq. [AP]
Thursday, 15 April, 2004: Reports saying that Iranian officials have received a letter from Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi over the disappearance of the head of the Supreme Islamic Shiite council in Lebanon Imam Moussa al-Sader, said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hameed Asefi on Wednesday. Iranian News Agency (IRNA) quoted Asefi as saying that "Iran has received a letter from President al-Qadhafi including Tripoli's point of view and measures carried out in this regard". Al-Sader and two of his companions had disappeared during a visit to Libya in 1978 to participate in the ceremonies of the Libyan revolution. [KUNA]
Thursday, 15 April, 2004: Libya's return to the world stage could be paved by an Epsom engineering firm. WS Atkins, Epsom's biggest employer, confirmed it was close to clinching a deal to design a new commercial centre for Tripoli. It has also opened talks with BAE Systems over helping the UK defence contractor to revamp two airports in the city. Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom and Ewell, has backed the move and hopes Atkins can prepare the ground for better political relations between Britain and the one-time pariah state. [This Is Local London]
Thursday, 15 April, 2004: The City Hotel in Kumasi, Ghana, is to be rehabilitated and upgraded into a first class facility, Finance Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo has said. The project would be undertaken by the Ghana Libya Arab Holding Company (GLAHCO) under a joint partnership. Mr. Osafo-Maafo was briefing newsmen at the Kotoka International Airport on his return from Tripoli, Libya, where he attended board meetings of GLAHCO. [Accra Mail]

LLHR: Libya; Violation Of The Right To Fair Trial

Wednesday, 14 April, 2004: Libya has disappeared from the Internet and no one seems to be able to explain why. Late on Friday, all .ly domains stopped working and they're still not up now. The administrative and technical contact for the country's Internet presence have not answered phone calls or emails at their Tripoli office. However, one intriguing clue has come from company - the company charged with selling all .ly domains. put out an email on Friday which read: "It is with regret that we have to inform you, that due to unilateral action by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the Domain Name Servers that host the zone files for the ccTLD .ly have been disabled. IANA is the California-based organisation that decides how Internet domains all over the world are allocated. [The Register]
Wednesday, 14 April, 2004: Israel's Shiryonit Hosem Security Products Manufacturing has signed a $1.25 million contract to supply 5,000 security doors to a residential project to be built in Libya. The contract was signed with a European company, probably from Germany, which is about to build a residential neighborhood with thousands of housing units in Libya. So far as is known, these are the first Israeli exports to Libya. Shiryonit Hosem beat 14 Arab and European security door manufacturers in the international tender. [Globes]
Wednesday, 14 April, 2004: While the terrorist threat in Iraq has increased, Libya is among the safest places to do business, according to a new global risk assessment. Qadhafi's North African state, which recently pledged to give up its WMDs, ranks with Scandinavia and much of Eastern Europe as being relatively safe from terrorism, organized crime and political violence. Iraq has moved from virtually nowhere to fifth place, behind Kashmir, the Palestinian territories, Colombia and India, according to the assessment by international insurance brokerage Aon. [CNN]
Wednesday, 14 April, 2004: Talks on finalising the imposition of a visa for travel between Malta and Libya, which will come about on May 1, were held during an official visit to Libya by John Dalli, the Foreign Affairs Minister. During his visit, which ended yesterday, Mr Dalli met Prime Minister Shoukri Ghanem and Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam. He also had meetings with Energy Minister Fathi Ben Shatwan, Finance Minister Mohamed Hwaij, Economy and Commerce Minister Abdelqader Al-Kheir, the deputy minister for international cooperation Muhamed Siala, and Lafico chairman Muhammed El-Zarroug Rajab. [The Times Of Malta]
Tuesday, 13 April, 2004: An Iranian paper reported on Monday that the Libyan Leader Qadhafi (photo) has sent a letter to the Iranian officials confirming his willingness to help resolving the issue of Head of the Lebanese Higher Shia Council Imam Moussa Al-Sadr, who had disappeared while in a visit to Libya in 1979. The reformist "Itimad" paper said "A Libyan senior official, Saad Mujbar, has delivered a letter from Qadhafi". The paper added that Qadhafi reminded in his letter of his support to the Islamic revolution in Iran, saying the letter was an expression of his religious commitment, not a political stance. The Amal Movement and the Lebanese Hezbollah accuse Libya of being involved the al-Sadr disappearance, but the Libyans strongly deny such allegations. [KUNA]
Tuesday, 13 April, 2004: Arab officials started talks in Cairo on Saturday on linking Iraq with the Jordanian-Egyptian power project and enable both countries to meet part of Iraq's need for electricity. Several countries, including Syria and Lebanon, are scheduled to be linked to the project next year before it goes to Turkey. Libya and Tunisia are also slated to be linked to the venture before it extends to Morooco, Spain and other European countries. [Jordan Times]

Libya Watch: Letter To The President Of The European Union

Monday, 12 April, 2004: Libyan People's Court has adjourned the Muslim Brotherhood case to Nov. 25 in the hearing held in Tripoli last Wednesday. A sit-in was staged at the court by the relatives of those involved in the case soon after the court's adjournment decision until the security forces had to interfere. Amnesty International has now joined the families call for an end to their detention. Among the detainees are Dr Salem Bou-Hanak (photo/right) and Dr Abdullah Izzedin (photo/left), who were both sentenced to death on Feb. 16, 2002. [Khaleej Times]
Monday, 12 April, 2004: Thousands of Libyans demonstrated in Tripoli yesterday against the US-led occupation of Iraq and voice their support for the residents of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, an AFP reporter witnessed. "Death to America, long live the people of Iraq," the protesters shouted, carrying banners hailing "the resistance of the Iraqi people". The demonstrators, who also carried photographs of Fallujah residents killed in clashes, burned a US flag outside the offices of the United Nations. Thousands also paraded in Benghazi, Libya's second city, the report said. Libya on Saturday proclaimed a day of mourning for the "martyrs of Fallujah". [Arab News]
Monday, 12 April, 2004: Iran's Ambassador to Libya Mohammad Menhaj and Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem in a meeting in Tripoli on Saturday discussed ways and means to improve ties in all political, cultural, economic and trade areas. Ghanem said the capabilities of the Islamic Republic in the technological and industrial areas should be presented to the Libyans adding that Libya was ready to expand ties with Iran in all spheres. [IRNA]
Monday, 12 April, 2004: The Executive Director of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GACIC) Peter Goepfrich said an office of the GACIC will soon open in Tripoli to promote participation of Egyptian and German companies, in the investment activities in Libya. The GACIC official was speaking after his return from a visit to Libya. [Arabic News]

LHRS: Concerns Over Developments At The "People's Court"

Sunday, 11 April, 2004: Libya Saturday officially mourned hundreds of Iraqis killed in clashes involving U.S. troops in the city of Falluja [Iraq]. All Libyan flags flew at half-staff, while five minutes of silence was observed at noon Saturday. Newspapers were issued with black banners. The Libyan government declared Saturday an official day of mourning for the approximately 300 Iraqis who were killed and more than 1,000 injured in fighting with U.S-led coalition forces in Falluja. Dozens of U.S. soldiers have also died in the battle with Sunni insurgents. [UPI]
Sunday, 11 April, 2004: In keeping with its pledge to destroy its unconventional weapons, Libya has told American officials that it will convert hundreds of its Scud-B missiles into shorter-range, less powerful weapons for purely defensive purposes and end all military trade with North Korea, American officials said last week. The officials said in interviews that Libya had also agreed to make a public declaration of its decision soon. The Bush administration has told Libyan officials that the U.S. will not lift trade sanctions against Libya unless it ends support for terrorism and takes action to dismantle existing weapons that threaten its neighbors. [The New York Times]
Sunday, 11 April, 2004: A two-man delegation from the Pentagon arrived in Tripoli on Saturday to investigate the fate of an American airman missing in Libya since 1986, the official Libyan news agency reported. An Air Force F-111 bomber and two aviators were lost when the U.S. bombed two Libyan cities in 1986. The missing airmen were identified as Capt. Fernando L. Dominicci of Utuado, Puerto Rico, and Capt. Paul L. Lorence of San Francisco, CA. Dominicci's remains were returned in 1989 after Vatican intervention. Libya has said only one body was found. [AP]
Sunday, 11 April, 2004: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Mohamed ElBaradei said Tuesday that some member states of the IAEA Board have tough views and others have moderate views on the nuclear programs of Iran and Libya. He told reporters that he hopes that the members can devise a compromise solution. ElBaradei has inexplicably been comparing Iran with Libya, even though the two country's cases are completely different. [Tehran Times]
Letters: Saturday, 10 April, 2004

Saturday, 10 April, 2004: Jordan's state security court has sentenced eight Islamic militants to death for their role in killing a U.S. diplomat in an assassination blamed on followers of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda. Libyan Salem Saad bin Sweid (photo) and Jordanian Yasser Friehat, who were accused of shooting diplomat Laurence Foley in October 2002, were among those given the death sentence on Tuesday. Chief Judge Fawaz al-Baqour also handed down death sentences on six fugitives in absentia. [Reuters]
Saturday, 10 April, 2004: FIFA president Sepp Blatter reiterated his objection to Africa's joint-hosting of the World Cup in 2010 on Thursday and has even told Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi that the idea is a non-starter. "I officially told Qadhafi during my recent visit that there will not be a co-hosting," said Blatter, who was visiting Morocco in the run-up to the vote on the hosts of the tournament. The event has already been promised to Africa with either Morocco or South Africa expected to be given the nod despite bids from Tunisia and Libya, who had hoped to jointly organise the World Cup, and Egypt. FIFA will announce the winner on May 15. [The Star]
Saturday, 10 April, 2004: It would appear that the possibility of a Grand Prix (GP) in Libya is not such a wild idea. We understand that Col. Qadhafi was scheduled to attend last week's Bahrain GP but had to cancel at the last minute. Instead the Libyan Prime Minister, Shukri Ghanem attended. After years of being ostracised by the west, Libya has made strenuous moves to rebuild its former alliances, Qadhafi recently hosting an historic meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Within hours several major multinationals, including Ferrari sponsor Shell, were in talks with the Libyan government, with various contracts signed soon afterwards. [Pitpass]
Saturday, 10 April, 2004: The head of the Libyan National Oil Company met with Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Romero Mendez this week. According to sources, at the meeting the parties discussed ways to strengthen spheres of bilateral cooperation in the sphere of oil and to open new prospects for cooperation between the specialized Venezuelan and Libyan oil companies through exchanging technical know-how and training, in addition to coordinating stances inside OPEC regarding prices and produced quantities. [Neftegaz]
Friday, 9 April, 2004: The Libyan security forces escorted by special forces are besieging al-Shaab court, to the south of Tripoli, in preparation to break into it in order to end a sit-in announced by members of the Muslim Brothers group since Wednesday. Witnesses said that 152 members of the group refused to get out of the court and decided to observe the sit-in inside its halls in protest of the postponement decision and continued imprisonment. [Arabic News]
Friday, 9 April, 2004: Reports indicate that the Muslim Brothers group prisoners started a hunger strike since several days in Abu Salim prison in Tripoli in protest of their continued imprisonment and trial by the al-Shaab court which is denounced by the international human rights organizations, foremost the Amnesty International. In the first reaction to the sit-in, the Monitor organization which takes Manchester, UK, as a headquarters urged Amnesty and the human rights committee in the British parliament and all defenders of human rights to interfere to protect the sit-in persons and to make the necessary pressure to release them. [Arabic News]
Friday, 9 April, 2004: US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has apologised for not including the Lockerbie bombing in a list of terrorist incidents she gave to the panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks. "This was the most deadly terrorist action prior to al Qaida's attack of Sept. 11, 2001," Rice wrote in a letter to families. "As we put my remarks for the 9/11 Commission together, we listed the major attacks committed by al Qaida or other terrorist groups" such as Hezbollah. The list did not include attacks that were "the work of a government, such as the Libyan government's bombing of Pan Am 103. This was a mistake". [The Scotsman]
Friday, 9 April, 2004: US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice's only mention of Libya in her nearly three hours of testimony yesterday before the US government commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks was to suggest that Libya's capitulation on weapons [of mass destruction] programmes was owed in part to the US invasion of Iraq. [The Scotsman]
Friday, 9 April, 2004: Libya Thursday signed a $1.2-billion contract with a Dutch company for building tourist resorts as part of a 15-year-plan to develop the tourism sector. Official sources told UPI that Holland's Ladorado will build 10 tourist complexes in the city of Tobruk near the Libyan-Egyptian border over a period of seven years. The projects will include the construction of five-star hotels, tourist villages, shopping centers and restaurants in a region that is green and mountainous. Historically it was a major World War II battlefield. The sources said the projects will secure jobs for a large number of Libyans in that remote area. [UPI]
Friday, 9 April, 2004: Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will dispatch Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aisawa to Libya on Saturday as his special envoy to strengthen bilateral ties, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Thursday. Aisawa will present Libyan officials with a letter from Koizumi in which the prime minister praises Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi for declaring in December that the country will abandon WMDs. [Kyodo News]
Friday, 9 April, 2004: Nigeria's Rangers International were shocked out of their wits on arrival last Wednesday at the international airport in Tripoli, when officials of El-Nasir F.C. of Libya told them that there was no provision for accommodation for them in Tripoli. Rangers CEO, Davidson Owumi was further told by El-Nasir officials that Rangers will travel to Benghazi, venue of the match by road, an eight-hour journey. Officials sent by the Nigerian Embassy advised the team to pass the rest of the night at the Embassy. Players and officials managed the night at the living rooms of the embassy, having to sleep on the rugs and settees. [This Day]

WSJ: Why Won't Qadhafi Let Fathi el-Jahmi Answer His Phone?

Thursday, 8 April, 2004: Libya has offered compensation to Jews who fled the country, assuring them Libya "is their country and their original homeland," Ha'aretz reported Wednesday. The remarks were made by Col. Qadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam in an interview with the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram Al-Arabi. He said Libya wants to distance itself from the ongoing Middle East crisis, but said repatriating exiled Jews would free up homes for use by Palestinians. [UPI]
Thursday, 8 April, 2004: The Foreign Office last night announced a joint British-Libyan investigation into the death of murdered WPC Yvonne Fletcher in London 20 years ago this month. The new inquiry was being seen as a significant step towards solving the shooting of the young police officer outside the Libyan Embassy in April 1984 and follows a three-day visit to Tripoli earlier this week by three Met officers. The joint inquiry will be conducted under Libyan law and led by a senior Libyan investigating magistrate and a detective chief superintendent from the Metropolitan Police. Witnesses will be summoned by the Libyan magistrate and questioned in the presence of members of the British investigation team. [The Scotsman]


Wednesday, 7 April, 2004: The US administration criticised the action taken by the Libyan government in Tripoli against the opposition leader Fathi el-Jahmi (photo). Washington said it disapproved the storming of el-Jahmi's home, warning against any human rights abuses. Mr el-Jahmi, a 63-year-old civil engineer, was the governor of the province of Al Khaleej. But he ran afoul of Libyan leader Qadhafi in 1973 when he began privately criticising the Libyan strongman for refusing to allow elections. [Khaleej Times]
Wednesday, 7 April, 2004: Ukraine hopes for the creation of a joint intergovernmental workgroup with Libya that would help deepen bilateral dialogue in all areas. Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych expressed this hope during a meeting with his Libyan counterpart, Shukri Ghanem in Kyiv Tuesday. [Interfax-Ukraine]
Wednesday, 7 April, 2004: Three African leaders earlier expected to attend Uganda's President Museveni's retirement from the army today will not attend, The Monitor learnt yesterday. Information minister Nsaba Buturo and army spokesman Shaban Bantariza had earlier said that Col. Qadhafi of Libya, Mr Mkapa of Tanzania and Mr Chissano of Mozambique would attend the ceremony, where Mr Museveni will also be decorated an army general. [The Monitor]

Tuesday, 6 April, 2004: A Libyan court will issue next week a verdict in the trial of six Bulgarian medics charged with intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus, Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry said on Monday. A criminal court in Benghazi would announce a verdict in the five-year-old trial on April 15, after Libyan prosecutors reiterated their demand for death sentences for the six and a Palestinian doctor. Prosecutors have said the six deliberately infected 426 children at a Benghazi hospital with blood products contaminated with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. More than 40 of the children have died since 1999, when the six were detained in Libya. Lawyers for the families of the infected children have demanded $6.0 billion in damages from the Libyan state and the Bulgarian medics. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 6 April, 2004: Egypt tried on Saturday to prevent conflict with Tunisia over an Arab summit, saying Cairo wanted to look to the future and "get over" the consequences of Tunisia's unilateral decision to call off a meeting last week. Tunisia's decision took Arabs by surprise and Cairo's quick offer to host a new summit could have driven a wedge between North Africa and governments in the east of the Arab world. Moussa met Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in Tripoli on Saturday to discuss the summit after talks with Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam. "There is no difference on the summit agenda but the matter needs more consultations," Moussa told reporters after his talks with Shalgam. Libya officials had earlier told reporters that Moussa had not met Qadhafi and gave no explanation for the change of plan. [Reuters]
Monday, 5 April, 2004: British detectives arrived in Libya on Saturday to investigate the killing of a policewoman who was shot outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984, causing a 15-year break in relations between the two countries. The detectives planned to meet with a number of Libyans who were at the embassy when policewoman Yvonne Fletcher was killed by a shot fired from the building, sources told the Associated Press. The four Metropolitan Police officers were also scheduled to meet officials from the foreign affairs, justice and interior ministries. [AP]
Monday, 5 April, 2004: Visiting Libya, which boasts stellar Roman ruins and striking Sahara scenery, isn't a typical tourist jaunt, at least not yet ... The country's tourist infrastructure, from hotels to domestic air service, is not extensively developed although it's improving. Visiting Libya poses political and ethical problems, too. In lifting the travel ban, the White House praised Libya for taking "significant steps" toward disclosing and dismantling its WMDs. But the U.S. still lists Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism. Libya's human-rights record has been criticized in Amnesty International's annual reports. But there has been progress on that front, too: Qadhafi met with Amnesty representatives in February during their first visit to Libya in 15 years. [LA Times]
Monday, 5 April, 2004: The United Arab Emirates has shut down a Dubai-based computer firm that allegedly helped Libya and Iran develop their nuclear programs, the Central Bank said Sunday. US President Bush said in February that SMB Group was a front for proliferation of nuclear components. He said its director, B.S.A Tahir, was an aide to Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan who has confessed to leaking nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and N Korea. [Reuters]
Monday, 5 April, 2004: Libyan officials say they have arrested 91 Egyptians and Moroccans who were illegally attempting to flee to Europe through Libya. Italy has accused Libya of being lax in allowing illegal immigrants to use its territories to enter Italy. The two countries signed an agreement last July to jointly combat illegal immigration. [UPI]
Monday, 5 April, 2004: Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa left Tunis for Tripoli on Saturday for talks with senior Libyan officials on holding the Arab summit which Tunisia unilaterally called off last week. [The Egyptian Gazette]

Sunday, 4 April, 2004: The Tripoli trade fair has attracted about 3,000 foreign firms, twice last year's number, signalling greater investor interest following an improvement in relations between Libya and the US and Britain. "The increased attendance of firms at the Tripoli fair is evidence about the interest the international community is showing towards building economic relations with Libya," said Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem (photo), who opened the fair late on Friday. The fair lasts until April 12. [Reuters]
Sunday, 4 April, 2004: North Korea is different from Libya because the Asian communist country has what it calls "nuclear deterrence," a U.S. congressman quoted a North Korean diplomat as saying. Rep. Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told a committee hearing Wednesday that North Korea's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Han Song made the comment at a recent meeting with him. [Yonhap]
Sunday, 4 April, 2004: A preparatory committee was inaugurated with due ceremony in Libya on Mar. 21 to commemorate the Day of the Sun. Ihab Al-Amin Al-Buweiji, general secretary of the Libyan Federation of Students' Associations, was elected chairman of the committee. The committee set the period from Mar. 25 to April 20 as a period of commemorating the Day of the Sun and decided to hold colorful functions including a meeting, photo exhibition and film show. A message of greetings to Korean leader Kim Jong was adopted at the ceremony. [KCNA]

The New York Sun: Libya's Democrats Press Their Case

Saturday, 3 April, 2004: Detectives from Britain's Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch are flying to Libya on Saturday to resume investigations into the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. She was shot dead as she policed a demonstration outside the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984. The bullet which killed her was fired from inside the Libyan People's Bureau and the Yard has long suspected it knows the identity of the man who fired it. [BBC]
Saturday, 3 April, 2004: A senior U.S. military commander says Libya could become a partner in North Africa's efforts to combat terrorism, especially the activities of an al-Qaida-linked organization called the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. General Charles Wald said Libya is actually afraid of the Salafists, Algerian-based Muslim extremists who have been increasingly active across the entire Sahel region of north-central Africa. Speaking in a VOA interview, Wald gives no indication of how he knows of Libya's concerns about the group. [VOA]
Saturday, 3 April, 2004: Warming relations between Washington and Tripoli are giving U.S. travelers a chance to see some of the world's most stunning Roman ruins, which had been off-limits to Americans for more than two decades. From the sere sands of the Sahara to the rose-tinged remains of Sabratha's amphitheater, U.S. travel agencies have added Libya to their menu, serving up a glimpse of a country that was long a pariah state. "There's wonderful world history that's been off-limits to Americans for the past 23 years," noted Tom Stanley, president of Newport Beach, California-based Travcoa, which is offering its first trip to Libya May 7-16. [AFP]
Saturday, 3 April, 2004: The first association between UK and Libyan law firms was formed this week in the wake of Prime Minister Blair's visit to Tripoli - and City lawyers are preparing for a rush of interest in the oil-rich territory. Irene Dallas - a sole practitioner with Reading-based Dallas & Co who has been asked to write the British Chamber of Commerce Web pages on the legal aspects of investment in Libya - signed a deal with Tripoli-based, five-lawyer firm Rajab Bakhnug this week. She said: "I have been working with Mr Bakhnug's firm for the past four years ... but now we've decided to form an exclusive association". [Law Gazette]

Friday, 2 April, 2004: A Libyan Foreign Ministry high-ranking official said Thursday that Libya had never made any contact with Israel. All the reports of secret meeting between Israeli and Libyan officials are "groundless and fabricated," the official Libyan news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry deputy secretary as saying. He said Libya's policy on Israel, which is "no reconciliation, no negotiation, no recognition," had never changed. [Xinhua]
Friday, 2 April, 2004: Britain is trying to woo Libya into ending its support for Zimbabwean President Mugabe following British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's very first meeting in Tripoli last week. Blair told the House of Commons this week that his country hoped it could change Qadhafi's mind regarding his support for Mugabe. He was answering a question from Labour MP Kate Hoey, who asked whether he had, in his discussions with Qadhafi, raised the question of Libya's continued support for Mugabe. [IOL]
Friday, 2 April, 2004: Canadian energy companies wanting a stake in Libya's oil sector should not dawdle because improving relations with the United States will spark a stampede of U.S. firms, senior Libyan energy officials said Monday. Tarek Hassan-Beck, planning director for the Libyan National Oil Corp. (NOC) and two other NOC delegates were in Calgary, Canada, to discuss investment opportunities for Canada's explorers, producers and oil field service companies. Hassan-Beck said state-owned NOC was especially interested in Canadian technology for boosting oil output from older oil fields through enhanced recovery methods. [Reuters]

Thursday, 1 April, 2004: OPEC oil producers have agreed to endorse tighter oil supply curbs, ignoring consumer country concerns about crude prices near 13-year highs, the Libyan Oil Minister Fathi bin Shetwan (photo) says. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to implement a deal cutting one million barrels a day from April 1, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday. The pact, was first arranged in Algiers in February. [Reuters]
Thursday, 1 April, 2004: Libyan solicitor suggested that Bulgaria's medics in Libya will see their verdicts in a month. Osman Bizanti will personally attend the April 5 hearing of the case. The six Bulgarians, arrested more than five years ago, are accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. The last hearing of the case so far was on March 15. Then the presiding judge put off once again passing the verdicts, but pledged it would happen on April 5. [Novinite]
Thursday, 1 April, 2004: A joint bid by Libya and Tunisia to host the World Cup in 2010 will be rejected by world football's governing body, FIFA president Blatter said. "Co-hosting between Libya and Tunisia will not be accepted by the Executive Committee," Blatter told reporters. FIFA's decision-making body, which is presided by Blatter, is due to decide on May 15 the first African country to host the event. Egypt, Morocco and S. Africa are also in the running. [MEOL]
Thursday, 1 April, 2004: A British-U.S. team of Libyan nuclear inspectors have found evidence Libya and Egypt exchanged nuclear and missile technology late last year. said Wednesday the evidence confirmed suspicions of a secret trade between Cairo and Tripoli in strategic weapons obtained from North Korea. [UPI]
Thursday, 1 April, 2004: A prominent U.S. Muslim already accused of illegal financial transactions with Libya pleaded innocent Wednesday to additional charges. A June 1 trial date was set for Abdurahman Alamoudi. Alamoudi pleaded innocent to charges of assisting in the preparation of a false tax return, a corrupt endeavor to impede the investigation of Internal Revenue laws, and false statements on a tax return. Prosecutors accused Alamoudi of violating U.S. sanctions against Libya in August 2003, when he received $340,000 from the World Islamic Call Society. The indictment says the organization is controlled by the Libyan government. [AP]
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