News and Views [ February 2004 ]

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Sunday, 29 February, 2004: U.S. Congress Rep. Chris Chocola [Bristol, Ind.] will be among a group of lawmakers traveling to Libya on Sunday to meet with Libyan leader Qadhafi. The trip is being organized by Rep. Curt Weldon [Penn.], the No. 2 Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. In addition to meeting with Qadhafi, the delegation is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Suleiman al-Shahoumi, as well as officials and students of al-Fateh University. The group will return Wednesday. [Indy Star]
Sunday, 29 February, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's insistence that all African armies should merge into a single military force delayed the closing ceremony of a major African Union summit by several hours, delegates said. When asked why the closing ceremony had not begun on time, several other delegates explained that Qadhafi had once again put the plan on the table. "Qadhafi thinks that by summoning us here he can impose his views on us. This shows a lack of understanding and respect," said a delegate from a west African state. [AFP]
Sunday, 29 February, 2004: African leaders after a two-day summit in Libya have agreed to set up a joint military force which could intervene to end civil wars or prevent genocide. The joint force is part of a sweeping agreement on defense and security in Africa signed by the leaders following their meeting in Sirte, the BBC reported Saturday. In establishing the joint force, summit leaders rejected a plan by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to set up a single African army. [UPI]
Sunday, 29 February, 2004: Declaring the nuclear arms race "crazy", Libyan leader Col. Qadhafi said on Saturday that Libya abandoned its quest for weapons of mass destruction because it exposed Libya to "danger" and was no longer needed. He urged other nations with nuclear capabilities to renounce their programs, too. "Any national state that will adopt this policy cannot protect itself," Qadhafi told African leaders at the end of a two-day summit in Sirte. [KRW]
Sunday, 29 February, 2004: Perugia's Saadi al-Qadhafi has revealed he plans to try and lure Juventus coach Marcello Lippi to take over Libya's national side. Saadi al-Qadhafi, who works as an official for the Libyan Football Federation, is working on trying to install Lippi as the country's coach for the 2010 World Cup. The son of the Libyan leader knows Lippi from his time as a member of the Juventus board. "I will soon meet up with Lippi and try to convince him that Libya have a long-term project," Qadhafi told Italian daily Tuttosport. [Sky Sports]

Saturday, 28 February, 2004: U.S. Congressman Chris Chocola is heading to Libya. "I just found out recently that I have the opportunity to fly to Libya and meet with Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, which is an extraordinary opportunity given the fact that he's decided to get out of the terrorist business," commented Chocola. "When someone like Qadhafi appeals to the Arab world and says we should not pursue these programs, that we should cooperate and we should try to make sure that we have more stability in the Arab and Muslim world that's an extraordinary thing". [WNDU]
Saturday, 28 February, 2004: Libya on Friday welcomed the lifting of a long-standing ban on U.S. travel to the North African country and said it would start destroying bombs designed to carry chemical weapons. "Positive, positive," Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam said in response to a question about the lifting of the U.S. travel ban. "The wheel started to roll," he told The Associated Press outside a pan-African summit being held in the coastal city of Sirte. [AP]
Saturday, 28 February, 2004: More than 40 heads of state and government have gathered in the Libyan town of Sirte for an extraordinary summit of the African Union (AU), aiming to discuss security, water and agriculture policies for the continent. Delegates of the summit scheduled for Friday and Saturday, which is called and organized by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, are expected to finalize a "peace and security protocol". European Commission President Romano Prodi also attended the opening session on Friday. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 28 February, 2004: The European Union pledged $310 million Friday to an African rapid reaction force that will be empowered to intervene unilaterally across the troubled continent to end civil wars or genocide. Pledging the $310 million, European Commission President Romano Prodi told the assembled leaders in Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's hometown of Sirte, "Africa is and will stay a priority for the European Union." [Reuters]
Saturday, 28 February, 2004: The African Union has passed a resolution condemning the recent massacre of people in Lira, Uganda, by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army. The rebels killed about 192 people last Saturday. The government insists only 84 people died. The condemnation came two days to the opening of the AU's 2nd extraordinary summit in Libya. [The Monitor]
Saturday, 28 February, 2004: African presidents and top officials agreed to act collectively to tackle crucial issues of water, agriculture and defence at the African Union summit in Libya. Delegates dealt a blow to their host, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, by rejecting his proposal for creating a single African army, replacing all existing government forces, diplomatically deeming the concept as "ahead of its time." [AFP]
Saturday, 28 February, 2004: U.S. President Bush tightened U.S. travel restrictions against Cuba on Thursday, a move likely to strengthen his election-year standing in politically important Florida and heighten tensions with Fidel Castro's communist regime. The tightening of Cuban restrictions came on the same day that Bush rescinded a travel ban on Libya, a nation that was on the U.S. blacklist until it acknowledged responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. [AP]
Saturday, 28 February, 2004: Basking in the glow of improving ties with the West, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi hosted a summit of African heads of state on Friday, urging the continent to close ranks and become an influential force in the world. Qadhafi opened the two-day gathering with a speech notably free of the anti-Western rhetoric that has been a hallmark of his 35-year rule. However, he criticized the West for historical sins such as colonizing Africa and enslaving millions of its people. European Commission President Romano Prodi praised Qadhafi in a speech to the summit, saying "Libya has taken very bold steps and is back on the world stage." [AP]
Saturday, 28 February, 2004: The Council of Arab Ambassadors met at the Embassy of Libya in Islamabad under the chairmanship of the Dean of the Arab and Diplomatic corps Ahmed El-Salman, Ambassador of Palestine. The guest of honor at this month’s meeting was Daniyal Aziz, chairman of the National Reconstruction Bureau. [Pakistan Link]

Friday, 27 February, 2004: After more than two decades of bitter relations with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the U.S. yesterday eased travel and other restrictions as a reward for Libya's giving up efforts to build WMDs. The Bush administration delivered long-sought benefits by rescinding a ban on travel by Americans to Libya and authorizing U.S. firms with holdings in Libya -- notably large oil companies -- to begin preparations to return. The Bush administration hopes not only that Qadhafi's change of direction is real, but also that progress will lead to the lifting of all U.S. sanctions and serve as a model to other pariah states. [The Washington Post]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Treasury, certain transportation restrictions will remain in place. U.S. airlines will still be prohibited from scheduling flights to Libya. The press release stated, "While the ban on travel by U.S. persons is being lifted, the prohibitions on transportation-related activities, such as flights to Libya by U.S. air carriers, will remain in place at this time". [USInfo]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: At the invitation of Qadhafi and Libya's national assembly, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is scheduled to give a speech to the assembly in Tripoli next week, Biden's office said. [The Washington Post]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: Britain's rapprochement with Libya remains on track, says Prime Minister Tony Blair, despite a glitch this week when Libya's prime minister denied his country's guilt in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Blair said he had been "very concerned" to read Ghanem's comments but that Britain was satisfied by assurances subsequently given by Libya's foreign minister. "Any lack of clarity has now been summed up very clearly ... and it's important Libya does accept the full responsibility it has already indicated," Blair added. [Reuters]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: The United States urged Libya Thursday to bolster diplomatic ties and lay the groundwork for eventually normalizing relations by establishing an interests section in Washington. White House spokesman Scott McClellan announced the move in a statement laying out a series of rewards to Tripoli for quitting its quest for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). "The United States invites Libya to establish an interests section in Washington, to facilitate our cooperation in the elimination of WMD and to lay the foundation for more extensive diplomatic relations in the future," he said. "We will continue to augment our US-staffed interests section in Tripoli, to reflect the increasing depth of our bilateral relationship," McClellan said. [MEOL]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: Energy experts said an infusion of American capital and expertise would likely slow the decline of Libya's oil production and could help restore output to its historical peak. Libya now produces less than half its 1970 high of 3.3 million barrels a day. "I believe they could produce on the scale of the past," said Jim Placke, senior analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Washington and a petroleum officer with the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli from 1969 to 1971. Still, Placke said any increased output would mean more to the companies and their shareholders than to consumers. [AP]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: United States Vice President Dick Cheney expressed his country's support to the six Bulgarian medics accused of deliberately infecting some 400 Libyan children with HIV. Cheney met with Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy that acquainted the US Vice President with the latest development of the case. [Novinite]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: Foreign ministers from across Africa meeting in Libya were to advise their presidents to shelve Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's proposal for a single African army, a senior African Union (AU) official said. "They felt that at this level of Africa's development and integration, it is not the time, that the Libyan proposal was a bit premature," AU Director of Peace and Security Sam Ibok said. Ibok was speaking during a break in ministerial discussions ahead of Friday and Saturday's extraordinary AU summit which was convened by Qadhafi. [MEOL]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: The problems surrounding the men's world chess championship, which is to be held in Libya from May 8-June 2, 2004, have almost been resolved, President of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told Interfax on Thursday. "The question of holding a world championship in Libya this year has been 99% resolved. We still have some technical issues to coordinate," he said. "Libyan entry visas for three chess players, who are citizens of Israel, are some of the unresolved technical problems," Ilyumzhinov added. [Interfax]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: Libya will start destroying its chemical weapons on Friday as the small Arab state tries to win back the confidence of the U.S. and Europe after agreeing to pay damages over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that Libya would start destroying 3300 unfilled bombs on Feb. 27. OPCW inspectors will monitor the destruction which is planned to last until March 5. [Reuters]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: A top Libyan official said that when the controversy over Prime Minister Ghanem's remarks arose, Foreign Minister Shalgam immediately contacted British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to seek his advice on how Libya could resolve the spat with Washington quickly, so as to keep its opening to the West on track ... Shalgam told reporters in Sirte, where he is attending an African Union foreign ministers' meeting, that the Lockerbie file is now closed. "Everything is normalized now. Everything is OK," he said. [VOA]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: American oil firms banned from pumping their Libyan wells since 1986 by US sanctions are to hold talks with Libyan officials on possible future business. The Oasis group of firms with stakes in Libya's Waha field is to send a team to Tripoli in the next few days. The lifting of the US ban on travel to Libya has raised the oil companies' hopes of resuming business there. But they stressed they would not breach US trade sanctions. "Our return to active participation in the Oasis group's Waha concession area remains dependent upon further authorisation from the US government," said ConocoPhillips in a statement. [BBC]
Friday, 27 February, 2004: Reviving American diplomatic and economic ties with this oil-rich nation is key to regional stability, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Thursday shortly before Washington lifted a 23-year-old ban on American travel to Libya. Jackson, who said his visit to Libya was approved by the U.S. State Department, described Libyan leader Qadhafi as a "very influential force" in the Middle East and Africa. "In many ways Libya is pivotal," Jackson told The Associated Press in the lobby of Tripoli hotel. Jackson said he would meet Qadhafi and other African heads of state Friday at the African Union summit in Sirte, 250 miles east of Tripoli. [AP]
Thursday, 26 February, 2004: Libya has said it regrets comments made by its Prime Minister which implied the country was not responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. The Libyan government restated that it accepted its involvement in the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in which 270 people were killed. It said the comments made by Shokri Ghanem in a BBC interview on Tuesday were inaccurate and regrettable. The development is expected to clear the way for U.S. President Bush to lift US travel restrictions to Libya and expand diplomatic relations. [RTE]
Thursday, 26 February, 2004: The Bush administration says it is examining a Libyan government statement that aims to end a dispute that erupted Tuesday when Libyan prime minister appeared to deny Libyan responsibility for the 1988 Pan Am jetliner bombing over Scotland. A U.S. official says an initial look at the document indicates Libya has made the retraction demanded by Washington. U.S. Officials are still examining the brief statement from Libya's official news agency but a senior U.S. diplomat told reporters it appears that the Libyans "have done what they needed to do" to quell the controversy. [VOA]
Thursday, 26 February, 2004: The British government said yesterday it had been reassured by Tripoli that Libya was not changing its position on the Lockerbie airliner bombing which killed 270 people. Libyan Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem threw London and Washington into confusion on Tuesday by denying his country's guilt in the 1988 bombing and saying Tripoli had only agreed to pay damages to victims in order to "buy peace." But Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman told reporters yesterday: "We have received an assurance from the Libyan foreign minister that Libya stands by its previous commitments." [Reuters]
Thursday, 26 February, 2004: The United States has accused the UN Commission of Human Rights (UNCHR) of delinquency in its mission, citing commission members China, Cuba, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe as having failed "to protect their own citizens' rights". The US State Department's annual human rights report released on Wednesday called for reinforcement of the presence of democratic countries on the UNCHR. "With Libya in the Chair and such countries as Zimbabwe, Cuba, Sudan, China and Syria, which fail to protect their own citizens' rights, as members, the 2003 session of the UNCHR fell short in several respects," said the report. [AFP]
Thursday, 26 February, 2004: Ghana's President John Kufuor left Accra on Wednesday for Sirte, Libya to attend the Second Extraordinary Heads of State Summit of the African Union (AU) slated for February 27 to 28. Briefing Journalist at the Kotoka Airport, Mr Kwabena Agyempong, Spokesperson of the President, said President Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi of Libya mooted the idea of the meeting, which would focus on agriculture and water at the last AU Summit in Maputo. [GNA]
Wednesday, 25 February, 2004: The White House shelved plans to relax travel restrictions to Libya yesterday after its prime minister reportedly denied any guilt for the Lockerbie bombing, casting doubt on progress towards Libya's rehabilitation into the international community. The decision came swiftly after a BBC interview in which Shukri Ghanem said that his country had agreed to pay damages to victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in order to "buy peace". Mr Ghanem said an apology had never been part of the agreement. [The Financial Times]
Wednesday, 25 February, 2004: Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said he expected the Libyan government to retract [prime minister Ghanem's statement on the BBC] and "restate its responsibility". He pointed to a statement made by the Libyan government in a letter to the UN last year in which it accepted responsibility for Lockerbie. "We would expect Libya to make clear that that remains their position," said Mr McClellan. Mr Ghanem told BBC Radio 4 that Libya's decision to pay $2.7bn in compensation to families of the Lockerbie victims was the result of pressure from US and UN sanctions. He agreed with the suggestion that this meant Libya did not see the payments as an admission of guilt. [The Financial Times]
Wednesday, 25 February, 2004: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam said on Tuesday Libya was not responsible for the 1988 Lockerbie crash, according to reports from Tripoli, capital of Libya. "Libya accepts responsibility for the actions and activities of its officials," Shalgam told a press conference. "We did not say we accepted responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am." Earlier in the day, the Libyan government denied any involvement in the crash, saying the compensation it offered is not an admission of guilt, but an attempt to "buy peace" with Western countries. [Xinhua]
Wednesday, 25 February, 2004: The Libyan prime minister left the British government somewhat bemused yesterday after appearing to contradict earlier Libyan statements about the murder of Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher and the Lockerbie bombing. Although the Libyan government accepted responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and for the murder of WPC Fletcher in 1984, Shokri Ghanem yesterday denied any Libyan involvement in either incident. And in a remarkable admission, he said the Libyan government had offered compensation in order "to buy peace". Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Dr Ghanem said: "We thought it was easier for us to buy peace and this is why we agreed to compensation." [The Herald]
Wednesday, 25 February, 2004: A British government source suggested that the Libyan prime minister [who spoke on BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday] "could be speaking out of turn", since only two weeks Libya's foreign minister had visited London to pave the way for a meeting between Tony Blair and Colonel Qadhafi. The prime minister's official spokesman said: "We will need clarification from the Libyan authorities on these remarks. There does appear to be a contradiction. They clearly accepted responsibility for Lockerbie and equally the Libyan foreign minister said they would work in close co-operation on the WPC Fletcher issue." Russell Brown, the Labour MP for the Dumfries constituency which covers Lockerbie, met Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, to discuss the Libyan prime minister's comments. [The Herald]
Wednesday, 25 February, 2004: UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed El-Baradei said in Tripoli on Tuesday his agency was ready to help Libya develop its peaceful uses of nuclear energy. He told a press conference at the end of a two-day visit to Libya that he had discussed with officials "ways and means to expand Libya's program of peaceful" nuclear energy. They had agreed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) El-Baradei heads "will develop a feasibility study into the peaceful use of nuclear energy here in Libya." "We will be assisting Libya not only to eliminate its military program but also to expand its program for civilian use," he said. [AFP]
Wednesday, 25 February, 2004: Libya is helping the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA find out whether other countries besides Libya obtained designs for nuclear warheads on the global black market, the IAEA's head said on Monday. "We are still trying to understand the network, to see if other countries have received the technology, the weapons designs," he said after a meeting with deputy prime minister Matoug M. Matoug, at the start of a two-day visit to Tripoli. Later this week the IAEA will release a report on inspections in Iran, which diplomats say will catalogue numerous failures to declare sensitive nuclear technology. [Reuters]

Tuesday, 24 February, 2004: A travel ban to Libya dating back to the Reagan administration is about to be lifted. Officials say the White House will announce [today] it's easing the ban on Americans traveling to Libya. The move comes in response to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's promise last year to end Libya's nuclear weapons program. Among other things, lifting the sanctions will allow U-S corporations to resume business with Libya's lucrative oil industry. [AP]
Tuesday, 24 February, 2004: Libya's decision to allow Western human rights campaigners into the country is being seen as another step in the North African nation's efforts to clean up its image and enhance its influence in the continent. In the first such visit since 1988, Libya on Saturday allowed a delegation from Amnesty International (AI) to visit and hold talks with officials. Abdul Salam Hassan, head of the five-person delegation, told reporters the aim of the trip was to inform Libyan leaders about AI's concerns regarding Libya's human rights record. [CNS]
Tuesday, 24 February, 2004: Libya's Prime Minister will spark outrage today by refusing to take blame for the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. Shokri Ghanem also insisted Libya had not admitted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing — but had paid compensation to "buy peace". WPC Fletcher was killed during the Libyan embassy siege in London in 1984. But in a BBC Radio 4 Today programme interview Mr Ghanem will back a lawyer who claims there was no evidence WPC Fletcher was killed by a Libyan — or even that the fatal shot was fired from the embassy. The Met Police Federation's Glen Smyth described his comments as "absolute garbage" and insisted the identity of the gunman was well known. [The Sun]
Tuesday, 24 February, 2004: The head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency said that meetings with Libyan officials were producing more names and companies involved in supplying renegade nations with the technology for their nuclear programs. Mohamed El-Baradei arrived in Tripoli on Monday where about a dozen U.S. and British experts are overseeing what needs to be removed to strip Libya's nuclear program of all weapons applciations. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 24 February, 2004: The United Nations nuclear watchdog said it expects Libya's nuclear weapons program will be completely dismantled by June. Mohamed El-Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on Monday urged countries suspected to have similar projects, such as Iran and North Korea, to follow in Libya's footsteps. "What I preach everywhere I go is full transparency, full cooperation," El-Baradei told reporters, adding senior Libyan officials had reaffirmed their commitment to disarming. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 24 February, 2004: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First had sought to send representatives to observe the trials of foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but the Pentagon responded that it planned to provide courtroom seating only for certain journalists and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Amnesty International spokesman Alistair Hodgett noted that the State Department annually criticizes other countries for closing trials to international monitors. "It seems like that medicine can't be taken at home despite us prescribing it abroad," said Hodgett, noting that his organization has been permitted to observe trials in such nations as Libya and Egypt. [Reuters]

Monday, 23 February, 2004: Libya has told the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency that it wants to retain several nuclear facilities, including a uranium conversion plant the U. S. wants to dismantle and transfer out of Libya, according to Western diplomats. "Two of the facilities are quite innocent but the conversion plant is a sensitive one," a Western diplomat told Reuters. "Some countries don't want Libya to keep the plant - the US wants to take it out of Libya." Diplomats said the conversion plant would likely be one of the issues IAEA chief El-Baradei plans to discuss with senior Libyan officials during his visit to Tripoli on Monday. [Reuters]
Monday, 23 February, 2004: The chief U.N. nuclear inspector took his search for key players in the international atomic black market to Libya, searching for more details about who supplied what to Tripoli and other governments trying to building WMDs. Mohamed El-Baradei was scheduled to arrive in Libya early Monday for a two-day visit officially focused on monitoring the progress of work to inventory and dismantle the country's illicit nuclear program. [AP]
Monday, 23 February, 2004: Defence and Security Ministers of African Union (AU) member countries Sunday began proceedings at the second such meeting on continental defence and security in the Libyan town of Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli. The Libyan Al-Jamahiriya newspaper has likened the meeting to a "trip to the future" began by the continent in a bid to leave behind a past marked by internal conflicts and animosity. [PANA]
Monday, 23 February, 2004: A businessman who has confessed to helping a top Pakistani scientist sell nuclear secrets and supplies to Iran and Libya has been cleared of wrongdoing in Malaysia. Buhary Abu Tahir is free to leave the country as authorities abroad widened investigations into his role in selling atomic secrets, AP reported. A three-month police investigation found no evidence that Tahir -- or a local company he contracted to make parts for Libya's nuclear program -- broke Malaysian law, police chief Mohamed Omar said. [CNN]
Monday, 23 February, 2004: Indonesia expects at least 300 participants to attend a three-day int'l conference of religious scholars discussing Islam's role in preserving world peace to be held in Jakarta starting tomorrow. Hasyim Muzadi, chairman of Indonesia's Nahdlatul Ulama, in an interview with Antara news agency, denied press reports that Libyan President Qadhafi would attend the conference, although he acknowledged that, "members of Libya's board of propagation and a number of Libyan intellectuals will come to the conference." [The Navhind Times]
Monday, 23 February, 2004: In common with every academic institution, the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst [UK] is keen to make better use of its old boys. Indeed, the army's staff college is sending letters inviting them to join a foundation. It could be fascinating. Alumni include City top brass such as Patrick Snowball, chief executive of Norwich Union insurance, and Roger Davis of Barclays, as well as world leaders such as King Abdullah of Jordan. What is more the Great Leader himself, Libya's Mu'ammer al-Qadhafi, studied there. So did autocratic King Mswati of Swaziland and a brigade of African military dictators. [The Financial Times]
Monday, 23 February, 2004: In his first public address since arriving in the Kingdom [Saudi Arabia], US Ambassador James C. Oberwetter last night said those who tried to disrupt the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia would "not succeed". Although new to the diplomatic service, Oberwetter is not new to the Arab world, he said last night. He had been introduced to Arab culture as a student when his parents lived in Libya. [Arab News]


Sunday, 22 February, 2004: Parents of Libyan AIDS infected children dispose of new evidences in support of the charges that the infection of their children had taken place in 1998, when Bulgarian medics were already working in the Benghazi Al-Fatah hospital, Bulgarian news agency BTA reported. BTA's correspondent in Libya was given copies of the documents, which represent HIV-infection certificates issued by hospital authorities to nine children. The latest hearing on Monday set March 15 as next date of court session. Observers have commented that the Libyan leader Qadhafi might pardon the medics in an effort to make peace with the West. [Novinite]
Sunday, 22 February, 2004: Libya has extradited to Italy a woman accused of trafficking boatloads of illegal immigrants from N. Africa, the Italian authorities say. The Eritrean woman - known as "Madame Gennet" - was flown to Rome on Saturday and taken into police custody. Italian police say the 24-year old helped 500 people to get to Sicily and nearby islands. The suspect - whose real name is Ganat Tewelde Barhe - is alleged to have charged immigrants up to $800 each for passage to Lampedusa which lies closer to N. Africa than to mainland Italy. [BBC]
Sunday, 22 February, 2004: The Swiss government has denied that lax controls allowed Swiss firms to illegally export material for use in the nuclear programmes of Iran and Libya. Two companies and 15 individuals are under investigation for their alleged role in the trade. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently handed over a list naming Swiss-based firms and individuals who allegedly supplied parts to Iran and Libya for their nuclear programmes. The names came to light following recent visits to both countries by the IAEA. [Swissinfo]
Sunday, 22 February, 2004: A British businessman and his son suspected of procuring black market equipment to make nuclear weapons were instrumental in setting up Libya's weapons program, Malaysian police have alleged. Peter Griffin, 68, and his son Paul, 40, from Swansea, south Wales - but based in Dubai and France - supplied equipment and technology and helped arrange the training of technicians "to set up a workshop in Libya to make centrifuge components which could not be obtained from outside Libya", a 17-page police report says. [The Sun Herald]
Sunday, 22 February, 2004: The Uddingston-based maker of caramel wafers, Tunnock's is following Tony Blair's lead in boosting links with Libya by renewing sales contacts in the country which was once one of the company's top-selling export markets. The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi soon following a recent visit to London by the Libyan foreign minister AbdelRahman Shalgam. Tunnock's, one of Scotland's most famous brands, also recently made its first caramel wafer shipments to Iraq. [Sunday Herald]
Sunday, 22 February, 2004: A week ahead of the African Union summit in Libya, Egypt is increasingly worried about proposals for renegotiating arrangements for sharing the waters of the River Nile, which provides the country with 95 per cent of its water resources. A number of other African Union members that border on the Nile want a revision of a 1929 international accord that established the current arrangements. They will raise the highly strategic issue at the meeting, to be held in the Libyan coastal city of Syrte. [ABC]

Saturday, 21 February, 2004: The Bush administration is expected to lift travel restrictions to Libya next week as a reward for the nation's compliance with a pledge to end its WMD program, a senior State Department official said Friday. "It's widely expected," the official said, but added "all of the t's aren't crossed and all of the i's are not dotted." Secretary of State Colin Powell extended the travel ban in November, but for 90 days rather than the usual one year. The measure is up for review Tuesday. [CNN]
Saturday, 21 February, 2004: A Pakistani-led black-market network airlifted radioactive material to Libya in 2001 aboard a Pakistani airliner, a Malaysian police report said yesterday. In the Malaysian report, the Inspector General of Police said the airlifting to Libya of uranium hexafluoride, used as a feedstock for centrifuges that enrich uranium, took place in 2001. The investigation into Malaysian involvement in the network, drawn from interviews with Bukhari Sayed Abu Tahir, a Sri Lankan-born businessmen at its heart, says centrifuge units were sent direct by air to Libya from Pakistan in 2001-02. [The Financial Times]
Saturday, 21 February, 2004: Nicaragua is trying to win forgiveness of a $260 million debt to Libya, and President Enrique Bolanos may travel to Libya to sign a deal, his spokesman said Friday. In January, Nicaragua won forgiveness of 87% of its $6.3 billion foreign debt after negotiations with the World Bank and IMF. Foreign Minister Normal Caldera told local reporters that negotiations with Libya were taking place and would lead to an agreement on the debt, which was amassed by the Sandinista government of the 1980s. [Dow Jones]
Saturday, 21 February, 2004: Supplied by the worldwide black market, Libya processed a small amount of plutonium in a nuclear weapons program that remained undetected for 20 years until Tripoli went public with its efforts, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Friday. Citing a confidential report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, diplomats said Libya separated grams of the substance, much less than the nearly 7 pounds required to make a nuclear bomb. Still, the revelation appeared to reflect a nuclear arms program that was substantially more advanced than the agency initially estimated. [AP]

Friday, 20 February, 2004: US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that the Bush administration is "anxious to move" on lifting a travel ban for U.S. citizens and easing economic sanctions. The government of Col. Qadhafi is "doing everything they said they would do" to turn over Libya's WMD programs, he said. While there have been intense debates over Libya's reversal on its weapons programs, Powell said: "Maybe (it was) just Col. Qadhafi sitting around his tent one day, and saying, 'What has all this stuff gotten me? Spent a lot of money. It's hidden. Everybody's looking for it. Can't eat it. I can't sell it. ... Nobody will see me. But I can't go anywhere. ... What has it done for me? And nobody seems to be scared'. " [Knight Rider]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: The Libyan narcotic agency has seized some 1,700-kg of hashish and arrested an unspecified number of a drug gang in Tripoli, an official said Tuesday. [PANA]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: A delegation from Amnesty International (AI), Sunday began a two-week visit to Libya to assess human rights condition in the North African country. [PANA]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: French deputy foreign trade minister François Loos is scheduled to arrive in Tripoli on 6 March at the head of a high-powered business delegation. [PANA]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: An Israeli businessman accused of being a middleman in the nuclear black market worked to supply Pakistan and India, court records indicate. South Africa-based Asher Karni faces felony charges of exporting nuclear bomb triggers to Pakistan. The U.S. is putting pressure on Pakistan to shut down the black-market network it used to supply its nuclear weapons program and in turn to supply Iran, N. Korea and Libya with nuclear technology. [AP]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: France's foreign ministry and intelligence services are probing a leak of confidential embassy communications that showed Paris was aware of the US-British negotiations with Libya on WMDs despite its assertions to the contrary. The ministry and one agency, "probably" the domestic counter-espionage directorate, the DST, were looking into how an investigative and satirical newspaper, the Canard Enchaine, came into possession of the cables, extracts of which it published in its Dec. 31 edition, the site,, said. [AFP]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: Morocco surprised Switzerland with a 2-1 win in a friendly match in Rabat. Meanwhile, Libya also secured themselves a good result, drawing 1-1 with the Ukraine in the Libyan capital Tripoli. 20,000 fans saw a long-range strike from Nader Kara in the 56th minute cancel out a 14th-minute goal by the visiting Adrian Pukanych. [BBC]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: The middleman in an alleged deal to supply Libya with nuclear components has reportedly left his home in the Malaysian capital. Sri Lankan businessman Buhary Syed Abu-Tahir had been named by US President George W Bush as the "chief financial officer and money launderer" of the network led by Abdul Qadeer Khan, who confessed to leaking nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and N. Korea. An Associated Press report quoted security guards at the Tahir residence as saying that the family left their apartment on Wednesday. [CNA]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: The Arabs never experienced a medieval period (the dark ages) in the European sense, and perhaps the current period would best fit to be described as the Arab medieval period ... As for unity, the only experiment between Egypt and Syria did not even take off. Much of the rhetoric of unity has been proven to be hollow. Nasser, Hafiz Al-Assad, Saddam, and including the schizophrenic clown of Libya epitomises failure of the rhetoric of Arab Nationalism. On the contrary, the Arabs have excelled in disunity, demonstrated by the circus of their leaders during the eleventh-hour meeting before the recent war on Iraq. [The New Nation]
Friday, 20 February, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi says he has been criticized by some Arab countries for promising to dismantle weapons programs without seeking concessions from the U.S., such as on Israel, U.S. lawmakers who met him said on Thursday. Qadhafi told members of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee that he was interested in U.S. investment in his country, technology exchange, and having Libyans study at American universities, lawmakers said. "And we countered by saying, 'Look, you become an ally with us as it relates to fighting terrorism and WMDs and it will benefit your country". The stop in Libya on last Friday was part of a trip mainly aimed at assessing the needs of U.S. intelligence operatives in Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan and Turkey. They returned to the U.S. on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Thursday, 19 February, 2004: Libyan oil officials want U.S. companies to bid in its first auction of energy contracts. The invitation raises the stakes for the U.S. as the Bush administration considers whether to end economic sanctions against Libya. Libya's state-run National Oil Co. (NOC) plans this summer to offer foreign firms the right to bid on five newly designated areas for exploration. Though a U.S. economic embargo still bars Americans from investing in Libya, NOC's planning director, Tarek Hassan-Beck, said the two countries have resolved most of their remaining differences and could re-establish normal diplomatic relations within weeks. [AP]
Thursday, 19 February, 2004: Libya's pledge to end development of doomsday weapons shows that the U.S.-led war on terrorism is working, Rep. Jim Gibbons said Wednesday. Gibbons, Republican-Nevada, also said he still believes evidence of WMDs would be found in Iraq. "What we're finding out in Libya, we're learning how they do this. ... deny and hide," Gibbons said after returning from a congressional fact-finding mission to the Middle East. [AP]
Thursday, 19 February, 2004: On the second day of a Serbia-Montenegro state and business delegation's visit to Libya, Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic and Libyan Defence Minister Abdelrahman al-Sayed confirmed the two countries' commitment to promoting cooperation, especially in the field of special-purpose industry. Svilanovic also met with Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shelgam. [Tanjug]
Thursday, 19 February, 2004: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Egyptian President Husni Mubarak may hold a summit in July or August, Sudanese Minister of Agriculture Majzub al-Khalifah said on Tuesday. The Sudanese-Egyptian summit is scheduled to be held before meetings of the higher joint committee. An experts committee to convene in Cairo in March will work out a long-term strategy, al-Khalifah said, stressing that discussions were under way to expand the integration effort between the two countries into a regional drive including Libya. [MENA]
Thursday, 19 February, 2004: The middleman in an alleged deal to supply Libya with nuclear components has disappeared from his Kuala Lumpur residence, while U.S. officials said Thursday that Washington wants Malaysia to stiffen export controls to prevent such proliferation. Malaysia summoned the U.S. Embassy charge d'affaires to protest what the government regards as this Southeast Asian country being unfairly singled out by U.S. President George W. Bush in calling for a global crackdown on the international nuclear black market. [AP]
Thursday, 19 February, 2004: U.S. President Bush and Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali discussed regional issues related to the Middle East, including Iraq, cooperation in the war on terror, Middle East peace and positive developments with regard to Libya during a meeting in Washington February 18, according to a White House statement. President Bush also urged the Tunisian leader to broaden press freedom, to strengthen the rights of Tunisians to organize and work peacefully for reform, to implement free and competitive elections, and to ensure equal justice under the law. Bush said the United States is committed to working with Tunisia and all the countries of the Greater Middle East to achieve progress in these areas. [US Info]

Tibra Spotlight : February 2004

Wednesday, 18 February, 2004: The Bush administration is expected to lift travel restrictions on Libya next week and is considering providing humanitarian and eventually other types of aid as a reward for dismantling its weapons programs, people involved in the deliberations said. The administration has told key lawmakers that it intends to take the first tangible step toward easing its sanctions on Libya by lifting restrictions on the use of U.S. passports for travel to Libya. An announcement is expected by Feb. 24, when the measures come up for review. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 18 February, 2004: The Libyan Embassy in Malawi has said information to the effect that the Libyan government promised to give Malawi 100 tractors and build about 2,900 houses is incorrect, saying such pledges have never been made. Ambassador Muftah El-Faituri said in an interview on Tuesday his government never promised to give 100 tractors to Malawi, saying "the issue was no more than one of the jokes a deputy agriculture minister from Malawi cracked with officials of a firm assembling tractors in Libya ... What is on record is that during a recent meeting with Malawi, Libya promised to give 10 tractors, not 100". [Nation Malawi]
Wednesday, 18 February, 2004: China has refused to confirm or deny reports that US officials have discovered nuclear weapons designs in Libya believed to have come from China via a Pakistani-led trading network. "At present, we have learned of the relevant situation from some reports ... We are paying attention to such reports," foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on Tuesday. She added: "We are trying to learn more about the situation." Zhang, however, insisted China was against proliferation of nuclear weapons. [AFP]
Wednesday, 18 February, 2004: Libya and Belarus intend to increase mutual commodity turnover, said Mohamed Raiyd, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Agriculture of Misurata, Libya. Raiyd is a member of a delegation of Libyan businessmen that recently arrived in Minsk. Belarus has enormous potential and Libya will be "a serious sales market" for its products, Rayid said. "Because Libya is now an open country, Belarussian products can also gain access to the markets of other African countries," he said. [Interfax]
Wednesday, 18 February, 2004: The mercurial leader of Libya, Col. Qadhafi, has seen the "light" finally. He now wants to mend the fence with the Americans. To improve his country's relationship with the U.S., he has changed his long-held policy to abet terrorist organisations. ... Col. Qadhafi is also dismantling the weapons development plan in Libya. All indications are that a sea change in attitude has taken place in Qadhafi. Had Saddam has this foresight perhaps there won't be any Iraq War in March 2003. [The Daily Star]
Wednesday, 18 February, 2004: The Libyan court should take into consideration all evidence provided; declaring the six Bulgarians not guilty is the only possible verdict, Bulgaria's Justice Minister Anton Stankov told Sofia-based bTV channel on Tuesday. The six medics, accused of deliberately affecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV, plead not guilty on all charges. During the February 16 sitting, which lasted eight hours, all parties in the the case - including the two prosecutors, the two Bulgarians' solicitors, the Palestinian's defense, the defense of Al-Fatah's medics, and four defenders of the prosecution - made their final speeches. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 18 February, 2004: The Libyan Court on Monday demanded that by February 23 all parties of the Bulgarian medics trial must submit their pleadings in written form. The Bulgarians' solicitors Osman Bizanti and Plamen Yalnuzov presented to the court as evidence an interview of Seif al-Islam, the son of Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Two representatives of Amnesty International - Sara Hamud and Jerom Belion Jordan - were present at the hearing. It is the first visit of members of Amnesty International to Libya since 1988. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 18 February, 2004: A Libyan trader who tried to breach UN sanctions and import military equipment was handed a suspended jail sentence of 18 months by a German court Tuesday. The 61-year-old, who had travelled from his home in Tripoli for the trial, was also ordered by the court in Berlin to pay a fine of 10,000 euros. The court was told that between 1996 and 1998, he tried through contacts to arrange the importation to Libya of 660 tonnes of rocket fuel and spare parts for military aircraft, to a total estimated value of 270 million dollars. Three German go-betweens in the case were given suspended sentences after a trial in October 2002. Prosecutors say the plot never got off the ground. [AFP]

Tuesday, 17 February, 2004: Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has invited Libyan leader Qadhafi to visit Belgium. Verhofstadt issued the invitation through his Foreign Minister Louis Michel, who arrived in Libya on Sunday on the first leg of a trip to North Africa and the Middle East. During talks with Qadhafi on Sunday, Michel passed on Verhofstadt's message that a visit by the Libyan leader to Belgium would, "reinforce Libya's relations with Belgium and the European Union." Qadhafi plans to take up the invitation in the coming months. [Expatica]
Tuesday, 17 February, 2004: A Libyan court on Monday postponed issuing a verdict in the five-year-old trial of six Bulgarian medics charged with intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus, Bulgarian state radio reported. The criminal court in Benghazi scheduled a new session for March 15, said a state radio correspondent in Libya. The court had earlier said Monday's session would be its last before issuing verdicts. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 17 February, 2004: Libya will send diplomats to Belgium for training, a Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday. "Time is not fixed yet but the core agreement to invite a number of diplomats to our capital is there," spokesman Patrick Herman told Kyodo News. The spokesman made the remarks a day after Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel met with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in Serte, Libya. [Kyodo News]
Tuesday, 17 February, 2004: The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will go to Libya next week to check the progress of inspection about the African country's nuclear program, a spokesman said on Monday. Mohamed El-Baradei, director-general of the IAEA, will arrive at Tripoli on Feb. 23 at the invitation of the Libyan government to "review progress in our work," IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said. [Xinhua]
Tuesday, 17 February, 2004: Any European firms which illicitly transferred technology to countries seeking to develop nuclear weapons should be brought to justice, the European Union's Exernal Relations Commissioner said Monday. EU Commissioner Christopher Patten's comments followed media reports quoting Pakistan's foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, as saying many European nations passed nuclear technology to nations like Iran, Libya and N. Korea. [AFP]
Tuesday, 17 February, 2004: The trial in Libya of seven foreign medical workers, including six Bulgarians and one Palestinian, charged with knowingly spreading HIV at a children's hospital in Benghazi, is a barometer of how far the Libyan President is prepared to progress on human rights, the Guardian wrote on Monday. The case against the medical workers rests largely on a rejection of evidence from Professor Luc Montagnier, the French AIDS expert who first identified HIV, the Guardian stressed. Prof Montagnier told the trial that poor hygiene and the reuse of infected medical materials such as needles was the most likely cause of the infection. [Novinite]

Monday, 16 February, 2004: The mercurial Col Qadhafi, whose agents brought down Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, whose military supplied arms to the Provisonal IRA, and one of whose diplomats shot dead a British policewoman, has not met the fate of Saddam Hussein. Instead, thanks to his willingness to show extreme flexibiilty - handing over his agents for the Lockerbie trial, paying compensation to the relatives, ending his WMD work - he will receive Mr Blair, probably in his desert tent, sometime this year if all goes well. And "going well" means, according to British sources, continued progress on dismantling the Libyan WMD programme. [BBC]
Monday, 16 February, 2004: The U.S. said on Wednesday it wanted to give medical aid to Libya to further reward its rush to dismantle banned weapons programs. Secretary of State Colin Powell told lawmakers that Washington, which last week re-established its diplomatic presence in Tripoli after almost 25 years, planned to continue responding gradually to Libya's moves to make good on a December pledge to scrap its WMD programs. "We want to help them with their most urgent needs. Hospitalization and medical care is one of their most immediate needs. We can help them with that and we can do that quickly," Powell told the House Int'l Relations Committee. [Reuters]
Monday, 16 February, 2004: The United Arab Emirates Central Bank says reports that a Dubai-based businessman helped Libya and Iran develop nuclear programmes are speculation. Central Bank Governor Sultan Nasir al-Suweidi said on Sunday the United Arab Emirates would only launch a probe into the affairs of B.S.A Tahir - head of Dubai's Gulf Technical Industries (GTI) - if proof of wrongdoing came to light. [Reuters]

The British Foreign Office Letter To ALFA

Sunday, 15 February, 2004: As part of a U.S. congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert met with Libyan officials for several hours Friday prior to a two-hour meeting with Libyan leader Qadhafi. Boehlert said Saturday in a phone call to the Observer-Dispatch that the delegation insisted Libya meet several conditions: It must implement a systematic disarmament of its WMDs, forge a partnership with the U.S. in the war on terrorism, acknowledge its culpability in the Pan Am Flight 103 disaster and begin to improve its human rights record. Improved U.S. relations would be Libya's reward for compliance. [Observer-Dispatch]
Sunday, 15 February, 2004: U.S. President Bush on Saturday called the leaders of Russia and Italy to discuss how to check the spread of dangerous weapons and keep them away from terrorists ... Bush and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi spoke about Libya, whose leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, pledged in December to end development of weapons of mass destruction. Berlusconi last week became the first Western government head to visit Libya since Qadhafi announcement. Bush told Berlusconi that as Libya continues to fulfill its commitments, it can further improve relations with the rest of the world.[AP]
Sunday, 15 February, 2004: Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel is expected to fly to Tripoli Sunday for a one-day working visit during which he would hold talks with Libyan leader, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, an official source said in Brussels Saturday. [PANA]
Sunday, 15 February, 2004: Investigators have identified China as the origin of nuclear weapons designs found in Libya last year. Their discovery exposes another link in a chain of proliferation that passed nuclear secrets through Pakistan to other countries in Asia and the Middle East, say government officials and arms experts. The bomb designs and other papers turned over by Libya have yielded dramatic evidence of China's long-suspected role in transferring nuclear know-how to Pakistan in the early 1980s, they said. The designs were later resold to Libya by Pakistani scientists through a nuclear trading network that is now the focus of an expanding international probe, added the officials and experts in the United States and Europe. [The Washington Post]
Sunday, 15 February, 2004: For years, Indian engineers have been working in Libya as part of the professional NRI Diaspora. Now, Pakistan's embarrassment over the A Q Khan nuclear black-market network has prompted New Delhi to take abundant caution. Last year, the Government asked the Indian Embassy in Tripoli to report on the scientists and engineers working there - some of them ex-staffers of Indian Space Research Organisation and the Defence Research and Development Organisation. A reply received last week from Ambassador Dinkar Srivastava that quite a few Indian scientists are working for Qadhafi's government and possibly involved in "high-technology" programmes. [New India Press]
Sunday, 15 February, 2004: Malaysia will write to the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur to protest allegations by US President George W. Bush that it was involved in black market nuclear proliferation. Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar was quoted by the Sunday Star as saying that Malaysia was being unfairly targeted because it was a Muslim country and lumped together with countries such as Iran, North Korea and Libya. "Malaysia is not even in that league of countries which have nuclear proliferation capabilities. It is totally uncalled for," he said. [AFP]
Sunday, 15 February, 2004: The Conservative spokesman on Northern Ireland says Tony Blair should be "up front" about IRA arms when he meets Colonel Qadhafi. David Lidington told BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme on Saturday Mr Blair should not avoid questions about compensation for IRA victims when he talks to the Libyan president. He should also put pressure on Colonel Qadhafi about a detailed inventory of weapons supplied by Libya. [BBC]

Saturday, 14 February, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi held talks with six U.S. lawmakers Friday, part of an effort to end Libya's status as an international pariah and reconcile with the U.S. The move would contribute to international peace and stability, JANA reported Jane Harman, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, as saying. Apart from Harman, the delegation included Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.; Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.; Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich.; Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.; and John Sweeney, R-N.Y. [AP]
Saturday, 14 February, 2004: Libya seems genuinely to be co-operating with United Nations nuclear inspectors in order to dismantle its weapons programmes. But the reason is not so much a change of heart by the quixotic Qadhafi as a realisation by the Libyans that their economy is a basket case. Colonel Qadhafi needs us more than we need him. Yet there is a suspicion that Britain is selling itself too cheaply in this diplomatic bargaining. If the colonel wants aid then he must deliver democracy. That must be the bottom line in dealing with him, otherwise all Mr Blair is doing is undermining the reforms in Iraq which have cost so much blood. [The Scotsman]
Saturday, 14 February, 2004: Britain has asked the European Union to lift an arms embargo imposed on Libya in 1986 "as soon as possible," an official source said in Brussels. [PANA]
Saturday, 14 February, 2004: Libyan foreign minister Abderrahman Shalgam on Friday handed a written message from Colonel Qadhafi to Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, including an invitation to attend the 27-28 February extraordinary African Union (AU) in Sirte. [PANA]
Saturday, 14 February, 2004: ENI SPA unit Agip Oil Co. Ltd. signaled the start-up of giant Elephant field in the Murzuk basin 800 km south of Tripoli, Libya. Initial flow rate is 10,000 b/d. That is expected to increase to 150,000 b/d by the end of 2006. The field has more than 150 million bbl of recoverable oil. The joint venture for the exploration and exploitation of the area is made up of National Oil Corp., the Libyan state oil company, Korea National Oil Corp., and Agip Oil Co., equally owned by NOC and ENI. [Oil and Gas Journal]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: The U.S. is considering lifting sanctions on Libya but the timing will depend on how fast Tripoli dismantles its weapons programmes, US Undersecretary of State John Bolton said. "The precise way in which the various applicable American restrictions on dealings with Libya will be removed is a subject we've been considering internally. We've discussed it with the Libyans and I think you'll see it unfolding," Bolton said. But he said Washington was not operating to any "deadline or timetable" and the onus was on Libya to move fast. [Daily Star]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: The issue is not one of "rehabilitating" Qadhafi but of continuing to press for change, says Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif. "At appropriate intervals, we provide a carrot." Lantos envisions full diplomatic ties in a year. Others argue that Washington should be wary of restoring relations with a regime that has a record of impulsive policy changes and human rights abuses. "Qadhafi is beyond rehabilitation; he's a criminal and a murderer who mocks representative democracy," says Mohamed Eljahmi (photo) of the American Libyan Freedom Alliance [ALFA], a Virginia-based group pressing for democracy in Libya. Qadhafi cozies up to Western politicians before the English media, then he insults them in Arabic, Eljahmi says. [USA Today]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi (photo), the son and rumored heir apparent to dictator Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, believes Libya has cut a very good deal. In exchange for its recent surprising pledge to give up its banned weapons programs, he says, Libya expects the U.S. and Britain to provide his country with economic advice, foreign investment and even military training and protection. "It's a package deal," he said in a midnight interview over tea and dates at one of his homes in Tripoli. "They have to reward us in order to make us an example" for others that might be tempted to come in from the cold, such as Iran, Syria and North Korea. [WSJ]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: There's no obvious police or military presence [in Tripoli,] but Libyans are nervous about talking. At Al-Fateh University in a suburban part of the capital ... students arrive in late-model cars. But there are no posters or flyers on the cement walls, no one debating or lounging. A group of young women -- three in headscarves, one in tight blue jeans -- talks enthusiastically about the prospect of better ties with the U.S. and the chance to travel abroad. But when asked if there has been any discussion of Col. Qadhafi's decision to give up his weapons, one lowers her voice and says, "Mafee democratia": "There is no democracy here." A translator nervously refuses to repeat the words in English. [WSJ]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: Libya's first lady, Safia Qadhafi (photo/L), took the time yesterday to meet Malta's President de Marco's wife, Violet. De Marco had met with Qadhafi on Sunday and Monday. After the Maltese delegation had left Qadhafi's base at Sirte, and arrived at the Corinthia Bab Africa hotel in Tripoli, it received word that Mrs Qadhafi had travelled the 470 kilometres to Tripoli out of respect to meet Mrs de Marco. Mrs Qadhafi arrived with her daughter Aisha (photo/R) and had a very friendly and cordial meeting with Mrs de Marco and Isabelle Borg, the wife of foreign minister Joe Borg. [Malta Independent]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: Libya is "exceeding my expectations" in opening up its weapons programs to U.S. and international inspectors, U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told a House panel yesterday. While saying U.S. officials will proceed cautiously, Mr. Powell gave the House International Relations Committee an upbeat assessment of the performance by the regime of Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi since his unexpected pledge Dec. 19 to surrender his nuclear and unconventional weapons programs. When asked how Libya has performed to date, Mr. Powell said: "The answer is very, very well." [The Washington Times]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: Human Rights Watchdog (HRW) declared its will to approach the Bulgarian medics imprisoned in Libya, BBC Bulgarian section informed on Thursday. HRW wants to listen to the Bulgarians, even after the court proceedings are over, Joe Stork, HRW's Near East/North Africa Division Director, told BBC. So far, Col Qadhafi has allowed only Amnesty International to enter Libya and do its researches. Torture and human rights violations are still a cute problem to Libyan authorities, Stork stated by commenting the medics' allegations of being tortured into confessing deliberate hospital AIDS infection of more than 400 children. [Novinite]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: British Prime Minister Tony Blair's planned visit to Libya has been attacked by families bereaved in the Lockerbie bombing who said it showed ministers cared more about securing oil than justice. More than two decades of international isolation are set to end for Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi through the historic summit. The planned meeting has sparked an angry response from the Lockerbie relatives. Jim Swire, who lost his 23-year-old daughter Flora in the atrocity, said the move was mainly the result of "purely political" issues such as the need to secure oil supplies. [The Scotsman]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: The International Chess Federation's (FIDE) 17th World Chess Championship will be held in Libya, "Novosti" reports. The information has been spread at the press conference held by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumjinov in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. Prize fund of the championship to be held under patronage of Libyan leader Qadhafi will make up 1.6 million dollars. At the meeting with the leader of Libya, head of FIDE suggested to yearly hold the chess tournament for "Qadhafi's gold cup", in Tripoli. [Azertag]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: The U.S. warned Libya that its climbdown on WMDs must be matched by a commitment to stop "destabilizing" activities throughout Africa. US Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations committee that Libya's agreement to stand down in its quest for banned weapons was a "real breakthrough." But he signalled that Libya could not expect a full relationship with Washington until it moderated its behavior in other areas. "We are not unmindful of the nature of that regime still, and we are not unmindful of some of the unhelpful activities they have participated in over the years, to include unhelpful activities in all parts of Africa." [AP]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: Tripoli feels like a city bypassed by much of the last two decades of globalization. At the airport, one of the few signs in English lectures arriving visitors that Libyans are "partners not wage workers." Scores of one-room shops along Gargaresh Road, the main shopping street, are filled with Western goods. There are satellite dishes and carefully monitored Internet access. But there are almost no commercial billboards or fast-food chains and only one "shopping mall" -- a collection of one-room shops. The city's one new five-star hotel, the Corinthia, is the only place here that accepts credit cards. [WSJ]
Friday, 13 February, 2004: South Korea's Commerce Ministry has filed a complaint against a domestic trading company for selling machinery to Libya that is banned as dual-use technology capable of being used to make weapons of mass destruction. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) said in a statement that a trading firm, identified only by its initial "D", had shipped four South Korean-made balancing machines, used to balance centrifuges, to Libya in June 2002. The machines, discovered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during an inspection of Libya in December, are listed as strategic items requiring government permission for export by the Nuclear Supplier's Group (NSG), the statement said. [SABC]


Thursday, 12 February, 2004: London police hope Libya's rapprochement with Britain can help them find and jail the killer of a policewoman outside the Libyan embassy in 1984, Britain's most senior policeman has said. His comments on Wednesday come the day after Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the two countries would "enhance" their efforts to resolve the case of Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot outside the embassy in London during a protest. "We would look for a prosecution and conviction of the person who shot down this unarmed officer in the street," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens told reporters. [Reuters]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: A leading member of the Ulster Unionist Party [Ireland], Reg Empey, has demanded that the Libyan government provide compensation to victims of IRA violence. Mr Empey said people injured by Libyan arms and explosives sold to the IRA should be compensated by Libyan president Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. He has written to British Prime Minister Tony Blair asking him to press the Libyans for such compensation. [BNI]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Bradtke on Wednesday urged Libya to drop charges against six Bulgarian medics it is trying on charges of intentionally infecting more than 400 children with the virus that causes AIDS. "The charges against those people are not justified and we hope that the Libyan government will take steps to free them as soon as possible," Bradtke said after talks with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy. The EU has also earlier called on Libya to drop the charges against the Bulgarians. [BNN]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: U.S. President Bush called for a tightening of rules governing the spread of nuclear technology, a proposal that would be the most significant change to nonproliferation efforts in more than three decades. He also proposed an expansion, to countries such as Iraq and Libya, of the Nunn-Lugar legislation, which finds alternative employment for former Soviet scientists, while weapons programs are dismantled. [The Washington Post]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: Libyan virologist Salem Al-Agiri testified Monday in the trial of Bulgarian medics accused of infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV that unsanitary conditions at the hospital caused the outbreak, the Bulgarian state news agency reported. Al-Agiri, of the University of Tripoli, was called as a witness for the defense of six Bulgarian medics charged with deliberately infecting the children as part of a medical experiment. [AN]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: A Middle East-based British businessman has emerged as a key suspect in a secret network supplying Libya, Iran and N. Korea with equipment to build nuclear bombs. Paul Griffin denied that his company played any part in shipping prohibited material from the Far East. He told the Guardian: "We have been framed." [The Guardian]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: OPEC decided Tuesday to cut its excess production of crude immediately and lower output quotas by 1 million barrels a day effective April 1. The surprise move means consumers will continue to face high prices for gasoline and other refined products. "Everybody will know that the organization is serious, and we would like to have a stable market," said Libya's representative, Abdulhafid Zlitni (photo), after a closed-door meeting at which the delegates ratified their decision. [Sun Times]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: Iraq was formally approved Wednesday as an observer to the World Trade Organization – a first step to gaining membership in the body. The WTO's ruling General Council agreed by consensus to accept the Iraqi application. Also Wednesday, Iran's application to become an official candidate for WTO membership was blocked by the United States for the 15th consecutive time. Syria and Libya separately applied to start membership negotiations in late 2001, but their request has not been put to WTO nations. [AP]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: The Arab League will hold its next summit in Tunisia despite significant reluctance from the North African republic. League chief Amr Musa travelled to Tunis on Wednesday to persuade President Bin Ali to host the March meeting. The Sharm al-Shaikh summit last March turned into a complete disaster after Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz and Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi had a televised row. [Al-Jazeera]
Thursday, 12 February, 2004: Spain's crusading Judge Baltazar Garzon has sent a team to London to examine the possible involvement of Spanish companies in a secret network that supplied nuclear equipment to Libya, it was revealed yesterday. Judge Garzon launched his investigation last summer in co-operation with the Spanish intelligence service, CNI, and British security forces, after allegations that Spanish companies exported high-precision equipment that may have helped Libya mount an ambitious nuclear proliferation programme. [The Independent]
Wednesday, 11 February, 2004: A U.S. diplomat has been sent to Tripoli, establishing the first diplomatic presence in Libya in decades, a State Department official said Tuesday. "We presently have one U.S. diplomat in Tripoli to assist the U.S. WMD experts in Libya removing weapons of mass destruction from the country," the official said. The diplomat is working out of the U.S. interests section in the Belgian Embassy, the official said. Libyan diplomats could soon be in the United States, working out of their interest section, officials have said. [CNN]
Wednesday, 11 February, 2004: Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi met Tuesday with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, and the U.S. said it had restored diplomatic contacts with Libya. Prime Minister Tony Blair held talks with the Libyan foreign minister. Tuesday's meetings mark Libya's progress toward re-entering the international fold after years of isolation. [AP]
Wednesday, 11 February, 2004: Libya has denied it shopped Pakistan and its chief nuclear scientist, Dr Abdul Qadir Khan to the US and UK, in a desire to worm its way into Western affections. In fact, Col. Qadhafi's emissary said Tuesday in London that the West "already knew about him (Khan) they never asked and we never gave any information". Tuesday's comments came from Libyan foreign minister Abdul Rahman Shalgam. [The Times Of India]
Wednesday, 11 February, 2004: Britain and Libya today agreed to step up joint efforts to tackle unresolved issues over the murder of Wpc Yvonne Fletcher, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said. Wpc Fletcher was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984. She was killed by a marksman who opened fire on Libyan dissidents protesting at the embassy. The gunman was smuggled out with 21 other embassy staff under diplomatic immunity the next day. Speaking after talks with the Libyan Foreign Minister in London, Mr Straw said: Libya accepted responsibility for the murder in July 1999 and agreed to pay compensation to Wpc Fletcher's family. [PA]
Wednesday, 11 February, 2004: On Sunday, Malta's President and Libyan leader Qadhafi bestowed on each other the highest honour both countries have to offer. The ceremony was held after a banquet held by Col. Qadhafi in Professor Guido de Marco's honour in a traditional tent compound on the outskirts of Sirte, the Libyan leader's home town. In his speech, Qadhafi said Malta was a true friend of Libya. He said: "Through the hard times of the embargo period, Malta offered its support to our country." He told those present for the banquet that it was time Libya recognised the importance of Malta in the international diplomatic arena. [The independent]
Wednesday, 11 February, 2004: British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw today raised the prospect that Prime Minister Tony Blair could visit Libya to meet Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Speaking about the prospect of a visit by Mr Blair to the Libyan capital Tripoli, Mr Straw said: "... We are hoping that a visit can be arranged as soon as is convenient." [This Is London]

Tuesday, 10 February, 2004: The Libyan foreign minister is due to meet Tony Blair on Tuesday during what the UK Government is calling a "milestone" visit to Britain. Abdulrahman Shalgam's two day tour, which began on Monday, is the first such visit in more than 20 years. It follows Libya's announcement that it was abandoning efforts to develop WMDs. Mr Shalgam (photo) will also hold talks with UK counterpart Jack Straw. The visit, which saw Mr Shalgam as guest of honour at a diplomatic dinner in London on Monday night, is the first by a Libyan foreign minister since 1969. [BBC]
Tuesday, 10 February, 2004: The ratification of the African Union protocol on peace and security, which is expected to usher in a historic transition to the Peace and Security Council presents a major litmus test to the commitment of member countries in laying the foundation for a mechanism for preventing, managing and solving conflicts. Thirty-nine African leaders are expected to meet in Sirte, Libya on Feb. 27 to adopt a security and defence policy. [The Herald]

Monday, 9 February, 2004: Investigators have determined that the nuclear weapon blueprints found in Libya from the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan were of his own relatively crude type of bomb — not the more advanced models that Pakistan developed and successfully tested, American and European arms experts have said in interviews.[The New York Times]
Monday, 9 February, 2004: Malta President Guido De Marco visited Libyan leader Qadhafi on Sunday. The President is on a state visit to Libya with Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Borg following the decision taken by Qadhafi to stop Libya's programme on WMDs recently. [Di-Vi]
Monday, 9 February, 2004: Moroccan Premier Idriss Jettou has arrived in Tripoli at the head of a delegation to attend the 6th session of the Libyan-Moroccan joint commission. [PANA]

Sunday, 8 February, 2004: The editor of a Moroccan weekly is to face trial after Libya lodged a complaint against it for "defaming the dignity" of Qadhafi. Map news agency quoted a source on Friday who said Mustafa Alaui, the managing editor of al-Usbuai, would be pursued through the courts. The newspaper published a cartoon on Jan. 9 showing a silhouette of a person with his trousers down to illustrate an article on Qadhafi's decision to renounce WMDs. [Aljazeera]
Sunday, 8 February, 2004: The trial against six Bulgarian medics accused of deliberately infecting over 400 Libyan children with HIV might end next week, if the February 9 hearing is considered to be the last one before the final hearing, [Libyan] solicitor Osman Bizanti (photo) told local Darik radio. He said that in his opinion the Libyan judge will not be influenced by political or international influence. [Novinite]
Sunday, 8 February, 2004: US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld asserted that the [Iraq] war showed other "rogue regimes" what could happen if they should refuse to come clean about disarming. Rumsfeld suggested that Libya had an eye on what had happened to Iraq when the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, voluntarily ended his weapons ambitions in December. "We may never know exactly why Saddam Hussein chose the destruction of his regime over peaceful disarmament," Rumsfeld said at the Munich Conference on Security Policy. [AP]
Sunday, 8 February, 2004: Libya had a "significant and substantial" chemical weapons programme, the head of the international chemical weapons watchdog said yesterday. Rogelio Pfirter, director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said experts from his organisation would help Tripoli prepare a complete inventory of the Libyan programmes in readiness for a Libyan declaration of its stocks by March 5. [FT]
Sunday, 8 February, 2004: The Maltese government said in a statement it aligns itself with the EU declaration released on Thursday, which ... recognises the significant steps taken by the [Libyan] government in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of WMDs ... and shares the view that Libya has a pivotal role to play in encouraging other countries to follow its example. The Maltese government hopes that Libya's commendable efforts will serve as a stepping-stone leading to its early and full integration in the international community. [The Independent]
Sunday, 8 February, 2004: Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy on Saturday told the Munich Conference on Security Policy: "In the last three years ... Bulgaria played a pilot role in changing relations with Libya. However, apart from the positive actions on the WMD, visible progress is also needed in another important field, namely human rights ... Organizations such as OSCE and the Council of Europe could render valuable assistance to Tripoli to resolve outstanding issues. A particularly painful case is the one with the six Bulgarian and one Palestinian medics who have been expecting justice in Libyan courts in the past five years". [Novinite]
Sunday, 8 February, 2004: The case of Libya ... illustrates the effectiveness of sanctions. Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's (photo) renunciation of his weapons programs was not simply - perhaps not even principally - a reaction to the American invasion of Iraq. It came in response to years of painful economic pressure through sanctions, along with diplomatic assurances that changed Libyan behavior could bring relief. President Bush emphasized this point after Libya announced its decision, telling other pariah countries that they too could rejoin the world economy and international community if they gave up their unconventional weapons programs. [The New York Times]

Saturday, 7 February, 2004: US and Libyan officials have discussed easing Washington's sanctions against Tripoli. The talks were held in London, where the Libyan team also met UK officials. The US embassy said discussions between Assistant Secretary of State William Burns and the Libyans had been "very positive and thorough". In a statement it said the two sides had discussed ways to boost ties. If Tripoli continues to make progress, it added, the U.S. could "in the near term" end the ban on Americans travelling to Libya. The two delegations also raised the possibility of sending representatives to each other's capitals, the statement went on. [BBC]
Saturday, 7 February, 2004: The verdicts in the trial against the six Bulgarian medics accused of deliberately infecting over 400 Libyan with HIV would not be announced at the Feb. 9 hearing, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said. In his words there could be a delay of another few days until the verdicts are announced. Passy forecasted that the verdicts would be ready in the middle of March. The Criminal Court in Benghazi set its next gathering for Feb. 9. [Novinite]
Saturday, 7 February, 2004: Pakistan is thoroughly disappointed and frustrated with Iran and Libya for naming some of its top scientists in the nuclear technology transfer case. Both happen to be Islamic countries, which stridently champion the cause of Muslims, and had been great opponents of the U.S. for its policies towards the Muslims. As a result, Pakistan's relations with Iran and Libya have unprecedentedly touched their lowest ebb. [HiPakistan]
Saturday, 7 February, 2004: A U.S. federal judge dismissed an indictment against a former CIA operative who was convicted of selling arms to Libya, after prosecutors decided they would not pursue a retrial. A 1983 conviction of Edwin Wilson, now 75, for shipping 20 tons of C-4 explosives to Libya was thrown out late last year. At his trial, Wilson maintained he was only doing what the CIA asked him to do. Wilson is jailed at a federal penitentiary on two other convictions. [AP]
Saturday, 7 February, 2004: U.S. President Bush appointed a conservative former judge and a moderate former Democratic senator Friday to head a special commission to "figure out why" inspectors haven't found the weapons that intelligence experts said Saddam Hussein was hiding in Iraq. In addition, the panel is charged with reviewing spy work on Libya before leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi committed that nation to rid itself of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and on Afghanistan before the Taliban rulers were ousted. [AP]
Saturday, 7 February, 2004: The blue-shirted workers say they thought they were making parts for the oil and gas industry. The CIA says this nondescript factory on the outskirts of Malaysia's largest city was, in fact, churning out components for Libya's nuclear weapons program. Malaysia has become the latest nation caught in a widening probe into the global black market in nuclear know-how and equipment, triggered by Pakistan's admission that its top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, sold technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. [AP]
Saturday, 7 February, 2004: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suspects that a Japanese company may have exported parts to Libya for a centrifuge used to enrich uranium, an IAEA source said Saturday. The company allegedly exported the centrifuge parts, declared to be for civilian use, to Libya via middlemen, but the exports were not conducted on a large scale, the source said. [Kyoto News]

Friday, 6 February, 2004: British officials said there was no plan for Prime Minister Tony Blair to visit Libya this year to meet Colonel Qadhafi, in spite of a recent prediction from the British embassy in Tripoli that such a trip would take place within six months. [The Guardian]
Friday, 6 February, 2004: Officials from the US state department, led by assistant secretary Bill Burns, will join British and Libyan representatives in London today to discuss progress in the dismantling of Libya's Weapons of Mass Destruction. Having made what it regards as serious concessions, Libya is expecting reciprocal moves from the US. [The Guardian]
Friday, 6 February, 2004: A company controlled by the son of Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is being investigated by special branch police following reports it helped supply centrifuge components bound for Libya's nuclear weapons program. [The Australian]
Friday, 6 February, 2004: Libya is to send its foreign minister, Abdelrahman Shalgam, to Britain on Monday for the highest-level meeting between the two countries since relations began to deteriorate in 1969. The Foreign Office confirmed yesterday that Mr Shalgam was to meet Tony Blair and the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, on Tuesday. The visit was described by the Foreign Office as a milestone in the move to end Libya's pariah status. [The Guardian]
Friday, 6 February, 2004: Libyan officials have handed over an initial summary of the country's chemicals weapons stockpiles and programmes to a team of international inspectors. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) gave no details on what Libya reported in a round of initial meetings yesterday. Agency director Rogelio Pfirter met yesterday with Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam, who is heading a newly formed committee that will work with the OPCW to help Libya comply with the convention. [AP]
Friday, 6 February, 2004: Pakistan's president pardoned the country's top nuclear scientist [Abdul Qadeer Khan] Thursday for leaking weapons technology to Iran, Libya and N. Korea - a move designed to ease domestic political pressures. Analysts said Washington was unlikely to seek tougher action against Khan for fear of putting the Pakistani leader in a tight spot. [AP]
Friday, 6 February, 2004: Angolan President José dos Santos, on Thursday received a message from his Libyan counterpart, Mu'ammar al-Qadafhi, in regard to the bilateral relations between both countries, as well as the next Extraordinary Summit of the African Union. The message was handed by the Libyan ambassador Abdalla Al-Zubedi. Al-Zubedi announced that both states intend to start working on the opening of diplomatic missions in the respective capital cities. [APA]

Thursday, 5 February, 2004: According to the Jerusalem Post, San Francisco's representative in the U.S. Congress, Tom Lantos, a Hungarian-born Jew, has represented Israel in countries where it has no diplomatic relations, such as Syria and, most recently, Pakistan and Libya. [Bay View]
Thursday, 5 February, 2004: Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi will visit Libya next week, Italian officials said Wednesday, at a time when the country's leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, is seeking to mend relations with the West. Berlusconi will arrive next Tuesday and fly back the same day. It will be his second visit to Libya, having made a previous trip in October 2002. [AP]
Thursday, 5 February, 2004: In a sign that ties with Libya are warming, the U.S. State Department has allowed Libya's U.N. ambassador to visit Washington to attend the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday. Members of Congress invited the envoy, Ali Abdussalam Treky (photo), to the breakfast, a half-century-old tradition that attracts lawmakers, religious leaders and often the president himself. Libya's Dec. 19 announcement that it will give up its WMD programs and its cooperation with U.S. and British arms experts have paved the way for a significant improvement in U.S.-Libyan ties. [Reuters]
Thursday, 5 February, 2004: At least 160 of the 650 detainees acknowledged by the Pentagon being held at the United States military base at Guantanamo, Cuba, are from Saudi Arabia, a special UPI survey can reveal ... Bangladesh, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, Qatar, Spain and Sweden all have a single citizen in Camp Delta. [UPI]
Thursday, 5 February, 2004: The founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme yesterday begged forgiveness from the president and the nation after admitting leaking nuclear secrets. In a televised apology, Abdul Qadeer Khan owned up to sending nuclear technology to Libya and two countries that the U.S. dubbed part of an "axis of evil" – Iran and N. Korea. [The Herald]
Thursday, 5 February, 2004: A company listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange and a Sri Lankan are currently helping the police in their probe into allegations that a Malaysian firm had manufactured components for the making of centrifuges used in the production of nuclear weapons in Libya. Inspector-General of Police said initial investigations into the alleged manufacturing and shipment to Libya so far revealed that Scomi-Precision Engineering Sdn Bhd (Scope) did not posses the technology or the expertise to build a centrifuge. [The Star]
Thursday, 5 February, 2004: The UN nuclear watchdog [IAEA] will almost certainly have to notify the Security Council of Libya's violation of [the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),] even though Washington might prefer to put it all behind. Although the Security Council can impose economic and diplomatic sanctions, diplomatic sources said the IAEA Board of Governors would only notify the council and not request punitive measures. [Reuters]

Wednesday, 4 February, 2004: The Bush administration told Libya on Tuesday it was still branded a supporter of terrorism but said some restrictions on commerce may be lifted if Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's country keeps scrapping its weapons programs. American and British officials will meet jointly on Friday with Libyans in London on "how to move ahead" toward improved relations, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. [AP]
Wednesday, 4 February, 2004: U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, said while touring a reactor in Libya that an official led him to suspect that the country's nuclear capabilities had been overstated. He said he asked the official how long it would take to dismantle Libya's nuclear program and the man did not answer. "We assumed that meant they don't have anything," Ortiz said. [Caller]
Wednesday, 4 February, 2004: Libya is expected to admit international chemical weapons inspectors on Thursday, the day it joins the Chemical Weapons Convention, officials said. The accession to the convention follows the declaration by Libya in December that it was abandoning its WMD programmes following negotiations with the US and Britain. [FT]
Wednesday, 4 February, 2004: U.S.-based Pioneer Natural Resources Co. said Tuesday it would look into oil exploration and production in Libya if the White House eases its ban on investment in the North African country. "We're hopeful that agreements can be arrived at that would allow the sanctions to be lifted," said Pioneer spokeswoman Susan Spratlen. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 4 February, 2004: The disgraced founder of Pakistan's nuclear programme has informed investigators that he supplied rogue states with nuclear technology with the full knowledge of the country's ruling military elite, including President Musharraf, a friend of the scientist was reported as saying yesterday. Abdul Qadeer Khan has confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and N. Korea, senior officials said on Monday. [The Guardian]
Tuesday, 3 February, 2004: The U.S. is scheduled to open a political dialogue with Libya on Friday in London, with the Bush administration also considering sending a State Department envoy to Tripoli to discuss diplomatic issues with senior Libyan officials, U.S. officials said yesterday. But the Bush administration is split over the next steps to take with the government of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, with the Pentagon resisting major reciprocal gestures in response to Tripoli's agreement to surrender its WMDs, the officials added. [The Washington Post]
Tuesday, 3 February, 2004: U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday that Libya's cooperation warranted deepening the level of engagement through "political openings and developments," as promised by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair when they announced Tripoli's agreement to hand over all equipment and data for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. [The Washington Post]
Tuesday, 3 February, 2004: The White House could ease the 18-year-old ban on US oil investment in Libya by spring if Tripoli continues to disarm quickly, administration officials said. Two steps are being discussed that would let American oil companies begin their re-entry within three to four months, according to these officials. In addition, US oil companies that still hold stakes in Libyan oil fields could be permitted to start restoring equipment there and perhaps begin test-pumping. Officials said no final decisions have been made, but they are looking for ways to calibrate rewards to keep the Libyans on track without appearing to embrace Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi too closely or too quickly. [Khaleej Times]
Tuesday, 3 February, 2004: The United States has stressed that it will not compensate Libya for the dismantling of its weapons of mass destruction program. The State Department said Washington would not pay Tripoli for the cost of its nuclear weapons program. The department said Libya has not made this a condition in the dismantling of Libya's nuclear weapons and other WMD programs. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher rejected an assertion by Seif al-Islam, the son of Libyan ruler Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, that the United States would compensate Tripoli for the cost of its nuclear program. [MENL]
Tuesday, 3 February, 2004: U.S. based Corporation (Lyamec), a franchise, merchandising and distribution services company, announced today that it will lead American Health Corp., a U.S. health products and services provider with over 250 million dollars in marketable products and capital securities, into a multi-million dollar agreement to identify and implement business practices with technology to secure a competitive position in Libya. The agreement with American Health Corp. comprises effective investment-related franchises, merchandising agreements, joint ventures and market-entry strategies. [PRN]

Monday, 2 February, 2004: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed el-Baradei says Libya had a "serious" nuclear program in the making. "They were at an early stage but it was a question of time," he says. He tells Newsweek that both the Libyans and Iranians acquired their nuclear technology from a network of black-market suppliers. "I'm not sure we can say it's state-sponsored. I think it's a lot of private-sector individuals". [PRN]
Monday, 2 February, 2004: Pakistan's chief nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has confessed to sharing nuclear technology with Iran, Libya, and N. Korea. "During investigations, Khan said we wanted some other Muslim countries to develop nuclear technology, so pressure on Pakistan could be lessened," says an official close to the investigation. "When it was pointed out that N. Korea is not a Muslim country, Khan could not give a specific answer". [CSM]
Monday, 2 February, 2004: The architect of Pakistan's nuclear programme Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has been sacked as Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, had amassed properties at home and abroad besides building a "fabulous" hotel in [Mali] where he transported furniture by an Air Force plane. An aircraft landed at Tripoli airport in Libya and the cargo was then taken to Timbuktu by road as it could not land in Mali. Dr Khan himself accompanied the furniture. [PTI]

Sunday, 1 February, 2004: While we should respond quickly to Libya's dramatic and historic decision [regarding WMDs,] the U.S. response must be measured and directly linked to continued Libyan progress. In light of the verifiable initiation of WMD dismantling, the US should immediately lift the ban on travel by U.S. citizens to Libya, and move quickly to establish an American diplomatic presence there. But removal of Libya from the terrorist list, elimination of U.S. sanctions, and full normalization of relations with the country should be considered only after Libya has verifiably completed the dismantling of its WMD ... A public apology by the Libyans for the Pan Am 103 bombing and a significant improvement in the human rights situation in Libya would help pave the way for these steps. [The Washington Post]
Sunday, 1 February, 2004: The architect of Pakistan's nuclear programme was sacked as a government adviser yesterday to "facilitate" a probe into the suspected sale of nuclear technology to Iran and Libya, the government said. The decision, which came after a meeting of the country's political and military leaders chaired by President Pervez Musharraf, will shock a nation accustomed to revering Abdul Qadeer Khan as a hero. [Gulf Daily News]
Sunday, 1 February, 2004: A team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has arrived in Pakistan Saturday after their visit to Libya and Iran in connection with ongoing debriefing process on the alleged involvement of nuclear scientists in proliferation of nuclear weapons to both of these countries. Sources siad that the IAEA team has got information on the transfer or sale of nuclear technology to these countries during its recently concluded visit. [PakTribune]
Sunday, 1 February, 2004: "As a lawyer, a juror and Justice Minister, I expect the six Bulgarian defendants in Libya to be acquitted," Bulgaria's Minister of Justice Anton Stankov said Saturday in an interview for local Nova TV. The six medics are accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV at the Benghazi hospital they worked at. During its last session January 26, the Benghazi Criminal Court set February 9 as the date for the final hearing. However, pronouncing the verdicts has been postponed several times already. [Novinite]
Sunday, 1 February, 2004: Saudi Arabia's daily Al-Watan wrote on Friday that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's health was deteriorating in US custody. The paper quoted a senior European security official as saying that an unidentified Arab country has recently offered to grant Saddam political asylum. In return, the country has promised Washington that it will reveal Saddam's finances there and that it will give the money to the US administration, as well as grant oil contracts to US firms. The source said the Arab country would also provide "regular reports on Saddam and his daily contacts to discover more about his secrets and supporters." The source, in what the daily called an "obvious reference to Libya," described the country as one that was "restoring its ties with America by pledging allegiance to Washington." [Daily Star]
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