News and Views [ January 2004 ]

Click here for today's news

Saturday, 31 January, 2004: Qatar is the wealthiest nation in the [Arab] region, the United Arab Emirates is the second richest and Mauritania is the poorest. "Gulf News" of Dubai said Arab League figures showed the per capita income in Qatar stood at $29,948 in 2002 ... Libya's per capita income plummeted to only $3,292 in 2002 from $6,340 in 1995. [WAM]
Saturday, 31 January, 2004: Lebanon squashed, Egypt and Jordan in America's pocket, Libya neutralized and Syria and Iran wriggling at the end of the line. [But] Israel is excluded when US President Bush announces that "leaders who abandon the pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons ... will find an open path to better relations with the US". Of course, the question of "better" relations does not arise when relations are the closest in the world ... Oman warned the IAEA that the time had come to get tough with Israel. [The Telegraph of India]
Saturday, 31 January, 2004: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has decided on Friday to appoint a special rapporteur on the Bulgarian medics sued in Libya for deliberate mass infection with AIDS. The Legal Affairs Committee and the Human Rights Committee are set to appoint a delegation for attending the trial in Benghazi. All leaders of the political groups represented in PACE signed a resolution, urging the Libyan authorities to set the six Bulgarians free. The next date for hearing the case was set February 9, with the judge insisting for that to be the last session before passing sentences. [Novinite]
Saturday, 31 January, 2004: Ten days after UN weapons experts hit the ground in Libya and began working to dismantle programs to create WMDs, Tripoli on Friday confirmed the presence of the team. Speaking on television, a foreign ministry official said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors had "undertaken the tasks of verifying equipment, (nuclear) components and programs, and (had) tagged them and put them under seal". But Libyan officials questioned by AFP have declined to confirm the presence of the [UN] delegations. [AFP]
Saturday, 31 January, 2004: A former Pakistani Army chief today denied accusations that he had approved the alleged sale of nuclear weapons expertise and technology to Iran and Libya by Pakistan's top scientists. "That is all fabricated, a lie and allegation," Retired General Aslam Beg, who was Army Chief of Staff from 1988 to 1991, told the BBC in an interview. He said the scientists may have told "Libyan and Iranian friends 'go to so-and-so shop, go to so-and-so person, there he is selling what you want, go and collect it'." [Indian Express]
Saturday, 31 January, 2004: Trinidad and Tobago's senior footballers will face off with Libya's senior national team in late April. This stemmed from a meeting between FIFA Vice President Jack Warner and Libyan Head of State Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Warner was invited by Qadhafi to visit Libya to get a better insight on the country's capabilities of hosting a World Cup as they bid for the 2010 World Cup. [SW]
Saturday, 31 January, 2004: Thousands of travellers were crossing the Egyptian-Libyan border at Salloum this week, after "restrictive measures" that had been put into place on both sides were lifted. Libyan officials said the measures were only designed to "check" traffic as part of Tripoli's efforts to stop illegal emigration to Europe. "Libya is suffering [as a result of] illegal immigration," said Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul-Rahman Shalgam. [Al-Ahram Weekly]
Saturday, 31 January, 2004: Libya expects to increase its oil production capacity to two million barrels a day in four or five years, after the United States removes the ban on U.S. investment, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said. Ghanem said attracting foreign and domestic private investment is a priority as the country emerges from international isolation and decades of economic mismanagement. [Reuters]

Friday, 30 January, 2004: Reporters Without Borders (RWB) today reiterated its call for press freedom in Libya after the government daily Al-Zahf al-Akhdar (The Green March) was suspended for week on 27 January for suggesting that Col. Qadhafi should stop being the "guide of the revolution" and start acting as a president instead. "Despite Col. Qadhafi's concessions in the international arena aimed at giving his regime a more favourable and open image, he has still not made the least gesture as regards press freedom, which is totally non-existent in his country," RWB secretary-general Robert Ménard stressed. [Reporters Without Borders]
Friday, 30 January, 2004: Our new pal Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who has now renounced WMDs, just treated visiting Rep. Curt Weldon to a tour of a Libyan nuclear reactor. In response, Mr. Weldon effused that if Libya continues to cooperate, diplomatic normalization may be just ahead, and then--he was addressing the Libyan dictator who for the past 35 years has ruled Libya as a virtual prison camp, and still does--"there is no limit to what we can accomplish together." [WSJ]
Friday, 30 January, 2004: Contrary to recent US claims that its war on Iraq forced Libya to give up its nuclear weapons program, former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said that diplomacy should be given most of the credit. "I think the dialogue in Libya started before (the war)," Blix said, speaking in Stockholm at the first meeting of a new international commission on weapons of mass destruction, of which he is chairman. [AFP]

Libya Watch: A Letter To British Foreign Minister Jack Straw

Thursday, 29 January, 2004: One of the traits of [Iraq's] fascist regime is that it lacked decency and was always in need to use others in order to feel superior ... The regime was versed only in the politics of the 'open wallet,' and therefore surrounded itself with people that it could co-opt and people who would panhandle for it ... The Iraqi daily Al-Mada obtained lists of 270 companies, organizations, and individuals awarded allocations (vouchers) of crude oil by Saddam Hussein's regime. The following is a partial list and description of individuals and organizations that MEMRI has been able to identify: ... Libya: [Prime Minister] Shukri Ghanem (photo) received 1 million barrels. [Al-Mada/Memri]
Thursday, 29 January, 2004: Libyan cooperation in eliminating weapons of mass destruction has been "excellent," the State Department said Wednesday. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said senior Libyan officials have been working with a small team of experts from the United States and Britain. "Destruction of chemical munitions in Libya has already begun on the ground," he noted. [UPI]
Thursday, 29 January, 2004: Bush administration officials indicated Qadhafi could expect some easing of economic pressure in return if he continued on a cooperative track. But one official said that Libya had not proved that it no longer supported terrorism. As a result, the State Department is not ready to cancel Libya's designation as a terror sponsor. Therefore, at least some economic sanctions will remain in place. [AP]
Thursday, 29 January, 2004: The Washington Post on Wednesday, quoting unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials, named Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan and Mohammad Farooq as the two men who acted as middlemen to supply nuclear weapons technology to Iran and Libya. One of the officials involved in the current investigation said that while the "money trail" provided some of the evidence against Dr Khan and Mr Farooq, the most damaging information was given by Iran and Libya to the IAEA, which then passed it along to Pakistani authorities. [Daily Times]
Amnesty International; Re : 2nd EP-Libya Interparliamentary Meeting

The home of "Libyan Relief Fund" :

Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: A senior German official has traveled to Libya as part of the government's effort to secure compensation for a 1986 bombing in West Berlin that killed two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman and injured 229 others, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. A Berlin court convicted four people in 2001 of carrying out the bombing, saying the attack was organized by the Libyan secret service and aided by the Libyan Embassy in East Berlin. But the court failed to prove a U.S. claim that Libyan leader Qadhafi ordered the attack. [Dow Jones Newswire]
Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: An American plane carrying components of Libya's nuclear weapons and missile programs arrived Tuesday in the US as Qadhafi follows through on a pledge to dismantle the program. The plane landed at McGhee Tyson airport, Tennessee, carrying about 55,000 pounds of equipment, including stock to enrich uranium, centrifuge parts and guidance sets for long-range missiles, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. The "most sensitive documentation" associated with Libya's nuclear program arrived by plane last week, he said. [AP]
Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: The US will consider a request from Libya to pay for dismantling its chemical and nuclear weapons programme, Congressman Curt Weldon said yesterday during a visit to Tripoli. Citing the example of US funding for "threat reduction" in Russia, he told Matoug Matoug, Libya's deputy prime minister in charge of scientific research: "We would be interested in a similar programme in Libya, with American dollars to help you dismantle your weapons programme." Financial help with the dismantling was one demand pressed by Qadhai's son, Saif, in an interview with the Guardian and another British newspaper on Sunday. [The Guardian]
Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: Bulgaria's delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) urged Libya Tuesday to end a trial against six Bulgarian medics it has charged with infecting 426 children with the virus that causes AIDS. PACE is scheduled to discuss the draft next Friday, lawmaker Evgeni Kirilov, a member of the Bulgarian delegation told state radio. He said the document gave an account of the five-year case against the Bulgarians- five nurses and a doctor, which have pleaded not guilty and have complained from severe tortures during the preliminary investigations. The EU has recently urged Libya to scrap the trial. [BNN]
Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says his office is ready to help Libya combat illegal drug trafficking. The U.N. official has just returned from Tripoli, where he met with Libyan leaders. U.N. anti-drug chief, Antonio Maria Costa, met with Libya's senior leaders and visited detention facilities and drug treatment centers in Tripoli. The spokesman for the U.N. official, Kemal Kurspahic, says the mission was to explore ways to get Libya involved in combating international crime in Northern Africa and in the Arab world. The U.N. drug office is currently carrying out an assessment of the drug abuse and HIV/AIDS situation in Libya aimed at developing a national drug demand reduction strategy. [VOA]
Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: The head of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's WMD program emerged from the shadows yesterday to assure the West that Libya was sincere in its offer to disarm and promised to reveal how it acquired deadly technology on the black market. Matoug Matoug, an urbane, Western-educated engineer who has the innocuous title of Minister Responsible for Services Affairs, told a US congressional delegation that he had ordered all his staff to offer "full transparency and co-operation" to American and British experts in Libya to dismantle the weapons. "We want to remove any suspicions that the US and the UK have," he said. [AP]
Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: Pakistan's probe into the sale of nuclear secrets to Iran and Libya has narrowed to seven scientists and military officers, as speculation mounted on Tuesday that "national heroes" could be charged. President Musharraf, Interior Minister Faisal Hayat and Information Minister Sheikh Rashid have all declared this week that those found guilty of selling nuclear technology and expertise to foreign countries will be "severely" punished. [AFP]
Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema has held talks with visiting Secretary General of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), Mohammed al-Madani al-Azhari, who brought him an invitation from Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi to the African Union extra-ordinary summit slated for 27 February in Sirte, Libya. [PANA]
Wednesday, 28 January, 2004: Malaysia's deputy leader has denied reports his country was among several sources of equipment and material destined for Libya's recently renounced nuclear weapons programs. Najib Razak, who is also the defense minister, said a recent visit by top US nonproliferation official John R. Bolton was to ask for help stopping the spread of WMDs, and the issue of Malaysia allegedly being a supplier was not raised. [Khaleej Times]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: Col. Qadhafi has indicated that secret services of Tripoli and Washington were already working jointly against Islamists as he lashed out at Israel's weapons of mass destruction program. "Cooperation between Libya and the U.S. is good," Qadhafi told the Italian La Repubblica Monday. "There are groups that are working against all of us ... it's possible that there has been cooperation between secret services, especially regarding Libyan citizens who fought in Afghanistan," the Libyan ruler said. [Al-Bawaba]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: Indonesian Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Bernard Sondakh turned down on Monday a donation of a number of warships from Libya, saying that most of them were already very old. Libyan President Qadhafi is due to arrive in Jakarta next month. He is expected to deliver unspecified donations, reportedly including warships, to Indonesia. [Jakarta post]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: Bursting with excitement after spending two hours with the mercurial Col Qadhafi, the bipartisan Congressional delegation leader, Curt Weldon on Monday described the talks as "unbelievable" and "extremely positive". The meeting was held in a tent-like concrete block near a Qadhafi house that was bombed by the US in 1986. [FT]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: In what could lead to the thawing of long-icy relations between Washington and Tripoli, a US congressional mission has held talks in Tripoli with top Libyan officials. In the first of its kind since Col. Qadhafi seized power in 1969, the US delegation also met the Libyan leader's son, Saif Al-Islam, seen as a possible successor to his father. They also visited sites related to Libya's WMDs, which US and British experts are preparing to dismantle. [AP]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: Rep. Tom Lantos, the senior Democrat on the US House International Relations Committee, met for 90 minutes with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Monday and emerged saying the Bush administration should show "good faith" to the North African leader. Lantos, in a telephone interview from the Netherlands on his way home, said he would recommend to the committee chairman, Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., that they join in urging the White House to lift a ban on travel to Libya as a first step to a new relationship. [AP]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: The small community of American women married to Libyans said Monday they had one great hope from a possible rapprochement between their country of birth and the adopted homeland where they have brought up families. If only, they said, the State Department would lift the ban on Americans traveling to Libya. The State Department says the ban is in force because Americans in Libya could be in danger. The women say that through years of conflict and hostility, Libyans never picked on them nor were hostile. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: A senior Libyan official overseeing the country's disarmament on Monday told visiting US politicians that Tripoli would help uncover the black market procurement networks on which its programmes relied. The delegation leader Curt Weldon pledged in turn that Libya's decision to dismantle its weapons and shed valuable light on an extensive procurement network would be rewarded. Weldon said Congress would listen to any request for financial assistance in disarmament once Libyan-US diplomatic relations resumed and he underlined that the US would be keen "to unleash scientific co-operation as soon as normalisation occurs". [FT]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: After almost 30 years as a maverick opposed to capitalism and dedicated to world revolution, Libya has decided its future lies in joining the mainstream, the reformist premier said on Monday. Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem told Reuters in an interview that the Libyan government had come to realise that tolerating a little social injustice might be the price of economic development. The new direction, which includes privatisation of state companies and fewer restrictions on foreign investment, is a radical change from the economic policies Libyan leader Qadhafi advocated from the 1970s onwards after coming to power in a coup. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: During Monday's hearing of the Libyan HIV trial in Benghazi, Libya, solicitor of the six Bulgarian defendants Osman Bizanti introduced jurors to several foreign experts' opinion in support of the Bulgarians. The next date for hearing the case was set Feb. 9, with the judge insisting for that to be the last session before passing sentences. A local expert was also set for testifying in favor of the Bulgarians. He will be presenting his testimony to the jurymen in written. The medics are accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV, but plead not guilty and insist being tortured into making false confessions. [Novintie]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: The trial in Libya of five nurses and a doctor from Bulgaria charged with deliberately giving the Aids virus to 400 children may soon be over. The medics are accused by Libyan leader Qadhafi of taking orders from the CIA and the Israeli secret service, Mossad. The trial has been going on in the city of Benghazi for almost five years. Hopes are high that the medics may be released as early as next month, after Libya's attempts to end its isolation. [BBC]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: The Council of Europe has not yet been informed officially on the Bulgarian case in Libya, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Chairman Peter Schider stated at a press conference on Monday, prior to the start of this year's winter session of PACE. He pointed out that all the information on the course of the trial has come to his awareness from media, not from Bulgarian official authorities. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: Libyan leader Qadhafi strongly slammed Israel, blaming it of possessing WMDs and flooding several Arab countries with drugs. "I would say that there is a terrorism of individuals and a state terrorism ... If someone destroys an inhabited building with an air-launched missile you cannot say that it is not terrorism," Qadhafi told the Italian La Repubblica Monday. "The Israelis are throwing hashish along the Egyptian coast, in Syria and in North Africa. Maybe even the hashish that arrives in Libya comes from Israel. In fact, we're certain," Qadhafi said. [Al-Bawaba]
Tuesday, 27 January, 2004: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passi, who is leaving Friday on a two-day visit to Cairo, will lobby to the Arab League, with the assistance of Egypt, on the positive outcome of the Bulgarian medics case in Libya, Dnevnik Daily wrote on its Friday edition, citing official sources from the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Solomon Passi is leaving for the Egyptian capital upon invitation from his counterpart Ahmed Maher. [Novinite]

Libya Watch: A Letter To Member Of The US Congressional Delegation

Monday, 26 January, 2004: Acting swiftly to ensure Libya's pledge to give up nuclear weapons is implemented, the Bush administration may bring to the US as early as next week centrifuges and nuclear material at the heart of Tripoli's program, senior US officials say. Documents and drawings from the Libyan program arrived in Washington on Friday. Centrifuges, uranium hexafluoride and other nuclear-related equipment "are in the next round, probably next week," one official said. Another official said: "We're going to take the stuff out (of Libya). We're going to have it in the US. We're going to own it, the nuclear stuff." [Reuters]
Monday, 26 January, 2004: The sight of the white jet taxiing down the tarmac Sunday--the first U.S. military plane to touch down in Tripoli since 1969--left no doubt that a pariah state was coming in from the cold after renouncing its nuclear weapons program. In a landmark visit, seven U.S. Congress members emerged from the U.S. Navy jet and heaped praise on the recent reforms of Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who former President Ronald Reagan once called a barbarian. "We're very excited about opening this new chapter in our relations," said Rep. Curt Weldon who stepped off the plane wearing a pin with the American and Libyan flags. [AP]
Monday, 26 January, 2004: Another Pakistani nuclear scientist was released after he was cleared in the ongoing investigation into alleged leaks of nuclear secrets to Iran and Libya, said Information Minister Sheikh Rashid. Saeed Mansoor Ahmad has been cleared and he has returned home, the minister said. He is the fourth scientist to be released this week, leaving eight scientists and administrators of the key uranium enrichment facility the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) still detained in connection with the probe. [Daily Times]
Monday, 26 January, 2004: Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri will discuss the Aceh [rebels] question and military cooperation with Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi when the latter pays a state visit to Indonesia in late February. On the sidelines of his visit, Qadhafi is expected to attend the International Conference of Islamic Scholars organized by the country's largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama between Feb. 23 and Feb. 26. [The Jakarta Post]

Sunday, 25 January, 2004: A US congressional delegation has arrived in Libya. The bipartisan group is set for talks with political and business leaders and possibly the president himself. The visit follows Libya's diplomatic overtures to the West, including a pledge to halt banned arms development. The group joined Representative Tom Lantos who became the first elected US official to set foot in Libya for 38 years when he arrived on Saturday. [BBC]
Sunday, 25 January, 2004: A top American lawmaker arrived in Libya on Saturday on the first visit by a Congressional delegation since before the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar el-Qadhafi, seized power in 1969. The visit reflects a shift in American policy toward Mr. Qadhafi's once militant administration since he renounced efforts to develop illicit weapons after nine months of secret talks with British and American intelligence last year. "I hope that this visit will bring our two countries closer together and improve relations," Representative Tom Lantos of California, the senior Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, said on his arrival. [AFP]
Sunday, 25 January, 2004: Yesterday the Libyan news agency, JANA, said it had not heard from the "Leader of the Revolution" about the possibility of an appearance or an interview. If Qadhafi is not seen in public it will further fuel speculation that he is in the advanced stages of throat cancer. Qadhafi has had treatment in an Egyptian civilian hospital, and might attend a Russian military hospital. If Qadhafi were to die before the lifting of US sanctions a smooth take-over by his son Seif could be in jeopardy. Seif told a French journalist: "Obviously, I would be lying if I told you there was no chance I might become leader one day." There is said to be much hostility to Seif even within the Qadhafi family and in the armed forces. [Scotland On Sunday]
Sunday, 25 January, 2004: Free nations, working together, must not shy from using force if diplomacy cannot deter terrorism and check the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech to the World Economic Forum yesterday. He acknowledged the work that European nations have done in Iraq and Afghanistan and in enticing Libya to its decision to rid itself voluntarily of WMDs. "The days of looking the other way while despotic regimes trample human rights, rob their nations' wealth, and then excuse their failings by feeding their people a steady diet of anti-Western hatred are over," Cheney said. [AP]
Sunday, 25 January, 2004: Israel will free more than 400 Arab prisoners in a swap with Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group, an important breakthrough that will return a kidnapped Israeli businessman and the remains of three Israeli soldiers, officials said Saturday. Israel will free mostly Palestinian prisoners, but it will also release 23 from Lebanon, 5 from Syria, 5 from Morocco, 3 from Sudan and one from Libya, an Israeli official said. [The New York Times]

Saturday, 24 January, 2004: A Libyan delegation led by Mohamed Ibrahim will be at the European Parliament (EP) on Jan. 27-28. The delegation will have a working session with the EP delegation for the Maghreb and bilateral meetings with the parliamentary groups, and will be received by the Vice-President Renzo Imbeni and, subject to confirmation, by the EP President Pat Cox and the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee Elmar Brok. [EP-Radical Party]
Omar DaboubSaturday, 24 January, 2004: The information provided by the European Parliament services on the visit of the Libyan delegation [led by Mohamed Ibrahim] contains a small mystery. Who is this Mr Mohamed Ibrahim? According to well-informed sources, it is simply Mohamed Ibrahim al-Qhadafi, the cousin of Mu'ammar al-Qhadafi. It is perhaps useful to know that Mohamed Ibrahim al-Qhadafi is a former leader of the ‘Revolutionary Avant-garde Committees’, an organisation which was responsible in the years 1976-1977 for purging the University of Benghazi of all non-revolutionary elements, in other words of all the supporters of democracy, including Mr Omar Daboub (photo) and Mr Mohammed Ben-Sauoud, who were executed [in April 1977] without trial. [EP-Radical Party]
Saturday, 24 January, 2004: Libya has handed U.N. inspectors drawings of a nuclear weapon, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Friday, in the most concrete sign that Libya was serious about building such arms. "We have been shown nuclear weapons drawings that the Libyans have in their possession," Mark Gwozdecky, chief spokesman for the IAEA , said in Vienna. "We have put those drawings under our seal, and they are secure." A diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said members of the joint U.S.-British team would be taking the drawings out of Libya within the next few days to evaluate them. [AP]
Saturday, 24 January, 2004: U.S. oil companies and other corporations eager to do business in Libya have urged the Bush administration to remove sanctions on Libya by an April 23 deadline set by Tripoli and families of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing victims, senior industry officials said Friday. Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, whose board includes Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco and many other large U.S. corporations, said his group was also pressing for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Libya where the administration would be asked to spell out its policy toward the country. [Reuters]
Saturday, 24 January, 2004: At a public debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos, senior figures from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran accused the Bush administration of ignoring Israeli weapons of mass destruction and human rights abuses towards Palestinians while pressuring Arab and Muslim states to disarm and democratise. While Washington had put pressure on Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq over their alleged WMD programmes, it never mentioned Israel, which had not only nuclear but also biological and chemical weapons, said Prince Turki Al Faisal, a senior member of the Saudi ruling family who is his country's ambassador to London. [Gulf Daily News]
Saturday, 24 January, 2004: The top U.N. nuclear weapons inspector told a Swiss meeting the global black market for nuclear-related material and equipment reminds him of Wal-Mart. Mohamed el-Baradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was taken aback during a recent trip to Libya by the scale and complexity of the illicit trafficking through which it obtained material and blueprints for nuclear weapons designs. [UPI]
Saturday, 24 January, 2004: Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf says it is possible Pakistani scientists sold nuclear secrets to countries such as Libya and Iran. But President Musharraf says the government had nothing to do with it. He says the scientists have been accused of selling secrets for personal financial gain, but that same allegation has also been levelled at scientists from other countries. Musharraf says an investigation is underway. [ABC]
Saturday, 24 January, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will pay a state visit to Indonesia next month and hold talks with President Megawati Sukarnoputri. A foreign ministry official in Jakarta said Qadhafi's visit is "tentatively" scheduled for February 10th. [ABC]

ALFA: An Open Letter To Members Of The U.S. Congress

ALFA: An Open Letter To U.S. President George W. Bush

Friday, 23 January, 2004: Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo) will make the first official visit to London by a Libyan foreign minister for 20 years when he arrives on a two-day trip on Tuesday, said an official in Tripoli. The visit, at the invitation of Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, comes after Libya announced on Dec 19 that it was abandoning its WMD programme. Shalgam will meet Straw and Tony Blair and "might be received" by the Queen, said the foreign ministry official, Hassuna al-Shawesh. [The Telegraph]
Friday, 23 January, 2004: An Arabic newspaper reported Thursday that Libyan leader Qadhafi (photo) is set to arrive in Egypt to hold talks with Egyptian President Mubarak. The London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily said Qadhafi accepted an official invitation from Mubarak to visit in Cairo. Sources said the summit will take place in the upcoming weeks, before Mubarak leaves for a tour in the USA. [Al-Bawaba]
Friday, 23 January, 2004: A Libyan source told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily that Tripoli promised to Cairo that there are no plans to allow US or British forces to deploy on Libyan soil. Egypt expressed its concern about comments by Qadhafi's son in this regard. [Al-Bawaba]
Friday, 23 January, 2004: Occidental has had positive discussions with Libya in anticipation of the U.S. government lifting 18-year-old sanctions against the country, Dale Lawrence, president of the company's oil and gas business said Thursday. "We have interesting, big projects in mind to do ... and the Libyan government seems to be interested," he said. "I'm confident we can get a new contract ... and get our teams in there and get production up very quickly." [Dow Jones]
Friday, 23 January, 2004: The [state run] Libyan daily, Al-Shams took issue with Egyptian intelligence Wednesday, alleging they were masterminding a media campaign against Libya and Colonel Qadhafi. [PANA]
Friday, 23 January, 2004: Libya's foreign minister characterized as a positive step US President George W. Bush's remarks on his country giving up its program to develop weapons of mass destruction. "This was a positive step," Abdelrahman Shalgam told a press conference in Tripoli, adding that "we are waiting for concrete measures that will lead to an end to the US boycott of Libya." The United States and Libya broke off diplomatic ties in 1981. [AFP]
Friday, 23 January, 2004: The new spiritual leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called on Arabs and others in the Muslim world to oppose the United States, which he said was threatening Syria and Iran after having occupied Iraq. Mohammed Mehdi Akef, 76, was appointed last week following the death of Maamoun al-Hodeibi, who died a week earlier at the age of 83. Akef said: "They are threatening to strike Syria and Iran now that Libya has surrendered," a reference to Tripoli's renunciation last month of its program of weapons of mass destruction. [AFP]
Friday, 23 January, 2004: International Football Federation President Sepp Blatter says that he wants individual nations to bid for the right to host the 2010 World Cup tournament, which is a setback for Tunisia and Libya. The two north African neighbors were hoping to submit a joint bid in the same way that Japan and South Korea successfully hosted the 2002 World Cup. FIFA will select the host country at a meeting in Zurich May 15 of this year. [VOA]
Friday, 23 January, 2004: Egypt and Libya lifted restrictions Thursday on travelers crossing their common desert border imposed two weeks ago during a diplomatic row, the border authorities said. A border official said "all restrictive measures" affecting Egyptian and Libyan travelers that were imposed January 9 were "lifted from midnight on Wednesday". The official said Egyptian workers were now crossing with just their identity papers, as they had done for years, after the Libyans dropped demands for visas, work permits or proof of possession of 350 dollars. The Egyptians dropped all similar measures imposed in retaliation, he said. [MEOL]
Thursday, 22 January, 2004: Pakistani investigators traveled to Iran and Libya late last year to investigate allegations that Pakistani scientists sold nuclear secrets to the so-called "rogue states," a minister said on Thursday. The inquiry trip was prompted by a letter in November from the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). [PTI]
Thursday, 22 January, 2004: Libya is cooperating fully with a team of visiting US and British officials who are studying how to dismantle and destroy its WMD programmes, a senior US official said on Wednesday. The official raised the possibility that Washington could within months begin easing US economic sanctions on Tripoli if it continues to cooperate on the weapons and addresses US allegations of support for "terrorism" and meddling in Africa. [SunNt]
Thursday, 22 January, 2004: Libya wants European nations and Japan to be more actively involved in its disarmament, which it sees as dominated by the U.S. and Britain, the Libyan foreign minister said Wednesday. Abdelrahman Shalgam said Libya is asking Japan and the countries of the E.U. to help implement the process, the Associated Press reported. [Kyodo News]
Thursday, 22 January, 2004: An Egyptian minister met Wednesday with the Libyan leader Qadhafi to defuse a diplomatic dispute and then characterized relations as "solid." "Relations between Egypt and Libya are strong and solid and there is no way they can be harmed," said the information minister, Safwat al-Sherif. Libya imposed travel restrictions on Egyptians on Jan. 9 because of Egyptian media criticism of Libya's decision last month to renounce unconventional weapons. Egypt retaliated with its own restrictions. [The New York Times]

The home of "Libyan Relief Fund" :

Wednesday, 21 January, 2004: Six U.S. lawmakers are traveling to Tripoli this weekend to meet Libya's leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, and probably visit facilities where Qadhafi's government had begun programs to make WMDs. The trip, announced Tuesday, will be the first by elected U.S. officials to Libya in almost four decades. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., who is leading the bipartisan congressional delegation said the Libya trip was born out of a recent dinner meeting in London with Qadhafi's son, Seif el-Islam, whom he met through a contact from Ukraine. [AP]
Wednesday, 21 January, 2004: The White House gave a tepid endorsement of the trip of six U.S. lawmakers to Libya on Sunday, noting that it would not prevent lawmakers from visiting Libya but would not provide military aircraft to fly them into Tripoli, Libya's capital. "They do not go on behalf of the administration," a senior administration official said. [AP]
Wednesday, 21 January, 2004: US Secretary of State Colin Powell has confirmed that a team of US experts is now on the ground in Libya working to verify Tripoli's vow to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction, a foreign news agency reported on Wednesday. "We do have people on the ground now working with the Libyans," Powell told reporters at a State Department news conference with visiting Indian Foreign Minister Yaswant Sinha. [HiPakistan]
Wednesday, 21 January, 2004: In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Bush made no apologies for his touch approach to the war on terrorism, dismissing what he said were those who question whether America is really in a war and view terrorism more as a crime. "After ... the chaos of Sept. 11, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers," he said. Bush suggested the Iraq war was a factor in Libya's decision to give up WMDs. [The Washington Post]

Tuesday, 20 January, 2004: A team of British and U.S. weapons experts has arrived in Libya and within weeks could be dismantling, destroying and removing technology and materials related to Libya's once-secret programs to develop nuclear and other illicit weapons. [New York Times]
Tuesday, 20 January, 2004: The Bush administration agreed yesterday to work with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to dismantle Libya's nuclear weapons program. At a three-hour meeting in Vienna, the IAEA's director, Mohamed el-Baradei, and emissaries from the United States and Britain concluded that the Americans and the British will remove and destroy the components of the fledgling nuclear development program, while the IAEA will verify Libya's compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. [The Washington Post]
Tuesday, 20 January, 2004: Malaysia has told Washington it is willing to work with the US to prevent material for nuclear weapons programmes being shipped through its territory, Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday. US officials say Libya, which last month declared it would abandon its nuclear weapons plans, had obtained centrifuge design technology from Pakistan and experts suggested that many of the parts had been manufactured in Malaysia. Centrifuges can be used for enriching uranium used in nuclear reactors or bombs. [Daily Times]
Tuesday, 20 January, 2004: Australia today was chosen to chair the UN's top human rights body, replacing Libya, which took the rotating post last year despite fierce opposition from the United States. The 53-member UN Human Rights Commission agreed by consensus to make Australian Ambassador Mike Smith chairman on behalf of Western nations, whose turn it was to take the seat. The chairman of the commission serves for one year. [The Sunday Times]
Tuesday, 20 January, 2004: U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed el-Baradei said on Monday he had agreed with senior U.S. and British officials his agency would oversee the dismantling of Libya's atomic arms program by U.S. and British experts. Diplomats said ElBaradei had received assurances that the U.N. agency, squeezed out of Iraq by the U.S. and out of N. Korea when Pyongyang expelled its inspectors in 2002, would play a leading role in Libya. [Reuters]

Monday, 19 January, 2004: The exiled heir of the Libyan monarchy, Prince Mohammed al-Hassan al-Sanoussi (photo), called on Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to step down. Al-Sanoussi said in a message published Saturday in Beirut's daily al-Nahar, the Libyan regime "has reached unprecedented levels of erosion, weakness and isolation" and it would be better for Qadhafi to step down instead of being ousted by force by the Libyan people. "After paying compensation to the victims of the bombed planes, what about paying for the Libyan victims whom you have assassinated and executed," the prince asked Qadhafi who ousted his grandfather King Idriss al-Sanoussi in a military coup in 1969. [The Washington Times]
Monday, 19 January, 2004: In "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" newspaper Saturday, British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, wrote: "We are well placed to have a strong relationship in business, education and many other fields. Last year Britain and Libya concluded agreements on culture and on transport ... More students from Libya study in the UK than from any other Arab country. I am sure many more Britons than ever before will now want to visit Libya to explore its outstanding cultural heritage, including some of the most spectacular Roman sites in the world". [FCO]
Monday, 19 January, 2004: Libyan Foreign Minister, Abdelrahman Shalgam, held talks Sunday in Tripoli with the secretary general of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), Habib Boulares. [PANA]
Monday, 19 January, 2004: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and the chairman of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konare, held talks in Tripoli regarding the extraordinary summit of the African Union in Libya at the end of February. [PANA]
Monday, 19 January, 2004: Five scientists associated with Pakistan's premier nuclear facility Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), including its director general, Mansoor Ahmad, have been arrested for allegedly leaking nuclear secrets to foreign countries. Among those held were Major Muhammad Islam (retd.), a close aide of KRL founder Abdul Qadeer Khan, considered the architect of Pakistan's nuclear programme. There have been reports that Abdul Qadeer Khan might himself be questioned or arrested by investigators probing the leakage of Pakistan's nuclear secrets to countries like Iran and Libya. [IAN]
Monday, 19 January, 2004: The US and Britain are to open their first direct negotiations today with UN nuclear inspectors over how to scrap Libya's secret nuclear bomb project, amid a row over who should be in charge. John Bolton, the combative US undersecretary of state, who makes no secret of his contempt for UN agencies, is to lead the talks in Vienna with the IAEA chief, Mohamed El-Baradei. While the US accepts that the IAEA should have a role in the Libyan mission, it appears determined to keep the UN inspectors subordinate. [The Guardian]
Monday, 19 January, 2004: Libya has sought since 1992 to reach a deal with the United States that would lead to normalization of diplomatic ties, former senator Gary Hart wrote Sunday in a column for The Washington Post. The former presidential candidate said that he had held several in-depth meetings with Libyan officials between February 24, 1992 -- when a Libyan naval attache first contacted him at a hotel in Athens -- and late March 1992. At the time, former president George Bush refused to consider normalizing relations until Libya handed over two men accused in the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. Hart said he held talks with the Libyans in Geneva and in a secret trip to Tripoli, where the logistical and legal issues of the handover of the two PamAm bombing suspects were discussed. [AFP]
Monday, 19 January, 2004: Tunisia are counting on their successful organisation of the African Nations Cup to reinforce their bid for the 2010 World Cup, chief tournament organiser Slim Chiboub said yesterday. Chiboub said that their hopes of organising the World Cup depended on the success of the tournament being staged in Tunisia from Jan. 24 to Feb. 14. "It would add weight to the joint Tunisia-Libya bid for the 2010 World Cup. S. Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are all bidding to become the first African country to host the World Cup. [The Star]

Sunday, 18 January, 2004: Amidst the numerous talks about compensations and the changes within Libya's foreign policies, it is necessary wonder about the evaluation of the political, economical and cultural Libyan life in the period between 1969 and 2004: Who will compensate the Libyan people for the wasted opportunities during this period and how? Who will compensate this nation for wasted chances in receiving better education, medical care and habitation? [Al-Hayat]
Sunday, 18 January, 2004: U. S. President Bush's speech before Congress on Tuesday night will begin with a tour of the world, including a claim by Bush that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq made the nation safer. Advisers said Bush plans to make a big point, in the speech, of Libya's decision last month to surrender its chemical and biological weapons. Many in Bush's circle contend that the decision was spurred by the confrontation with Saddam Hussein, and see the agreement as a prize to compensate for the absence of WMDs in Iraq. [The Washington Post]
Sunday, 18 January, 2004: Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, was last night accused of a diplomatic cover-up over Col. Qadhafi after refusing to answer questions about the seizure of uranium-enrichment equipment bound for Libya last October. The capture by the U.S. of thousands of centrifuges on board a German-owned vessel en route to Libya has raised suspicions that Qadhafi offered to abandon his weapons programme after threats from America, rather than the lengthy British and American diplomacy vaunted by Tony Blair. [The Telegraph]
Sunday, 18 January, 2004: Syria's state media dismissed on Saturday U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's call for Damascus to follow in Libya's footsteps and abandon weapons programmes, saying the onus should be on Israel instead. "They should follow the example of other nations in the region, especially Libya," Powell told Britain's Sky News. But Syrian state radio in its daily commentary questioned why Washington did not demand that Israel abandon its weapons programmes, submit to inspections and sign international arms treaties. [Reuters]
Sunday, 18 January, 2004: Three of the finalists at the African Cup of Nations have had their preparations disrupted after two warm-up matches were cancelled at the last minute. A hastily-arranged match between hosts Tunisia and Kenya, together with a game between Kenya and Libya - who have not qualified - were both called off after Benin failed to travel. [BBC]
Mansour El-Kikhia: Gadhafi's Deals Tempting To Bush

ALFA: An Open Letter To European Commission President Romano Prodi

Saturday, 17 January, 2004: An Arab newspaper says five top Libyan officials visited Jerusalem last week for diplomatic talks with Israeli leaders, Ha'aretz reported Friday. The Libyan delegation met with government representatives to discuss diplomatic relations and establishing "bridges of confidence and trade," according to Kul el-Arab, an Arab newspaper in Nazareth. Participants also discussed visits to Libya by the Israeli Libyan community, and visits to Israel by Libya's Jewish community. Kul el-Arab said "Likud-linked sources" provided the information, adding that Israeli officials are planning a similar trip to Libya. [UPI]
Saturday, 17 January, 2004: A team of experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has met with Libyan officials on developing the country's financial institutions, Libyan newspapers reported Friday. It was the first visit by IMF officials since Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi came to power in 1969. Al-Fajr Al-Jadid said the five-member team met Thursday with Customs Department officials with the aim of improving the department's role in collecting taxes and revenues. Libya's minister of finance, al-Ujeily al-Brini asked for the IMF visit last September at the joint annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in the United Arab Emirates. [AP]
Saturday, 17 January, 2004: The U.S. has dispatched a diplomat to Tripoli to prepare for visits by US and British inspectors who will assist Libya in meeting its pledge to dismantle its WMD programs, diplomatic sources said Friday. The diplomat, a mid-level State Department official who specializes in the Middle East, arrived in Libya earlier this week to begin the groundwork needed for the inspection teams, the sources told AFP. The U.S. State Department would neither confirm nor deny that the diplomat was on the ground, but spokesman Richard Boucher said US officials would travel to Libya occasionally as the disarmament process continues. [AFP]
Saturday, 17 January, 2004: In April, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanim will visit Ukraine, followed by Libyan leader Qadhafi later in the year. Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych reported this during a meeting with the head of Qadhafi's administration, S. Bashir. [Interfax]
Saturday, 17 January, 2004: Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafy of Libya has been buying complete sets of uranium enrichment centrifuges on the international black market as the central element in his secret nuclear bomb programme, according to UN nuclear inspectors. The ease with which the complex bomb-making equipment was acquired has stunned experienced international inspectors. The scale and the sophistication of the networks supplying so-called rogue states seeking nuclear weapons are considerably more extensive than previously believed. [The Guardian]
Saturday, 17 January, 2004: United States Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday to follow in Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi footsteps and abandon banned weapons programmes to forge better ties with the West. [Sky News]
Saturday, 17 January, 2004: US and British officials are to meet in Vienna on Monday with the UN nuclear watchdog to discuss monitoring Libya's promise to dismantle its WMD programs, diplomats said. They did not provide details but said there were unconfirmed reports that the US administration's point man for non-proliferation, undersecretary of state for arms control John Bolton, would be coming. Officials of the UN watchdog, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), refused to comment Friday on any specifics. [Daily Times]

Friday, 16 January, 2004: "Col. Qadhafi faces a complex puzzle, because the [Bulgarian medics] trial must come out with somebody to blame, but that cannot be the Libyan state. An acquittal of the accused Bulgarians would mean a public riot in Benghazi, something unthinkable to happen. However, should a verdict be pronounced on the medics, Qadhafi risks to stir indignation in Europe and around the world that would certainly mar his image," the Arab expert and former Arab states ambassador Kiriak Tzonev told a local [Bulgarian] radio broadcast. [Novinite]
Friday, 16 January, 2004: A terrorist victim's family awarded $1m compensation from Libya are angry that six men responsible for the bombing have not been brought to justice. Oilfield engineer Peter Sumner [British], died when a French airliner was blown up by Libyan agents in 1989. It claimed 170 lives, including four British passengers. In 1999 six Libyans were found guilty of the bombing in a Paris court, in their absence, but Libya still refuses to deport them. [Evening Mail]
Friday, 16 January, 2004: Preliminary results of inspections of nuclear sites in Libya have confirmed the view of the U.N. nuclear watchdog that Tripoli was nowhere near building a bomb, diplomats said. The view of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) contrasts sharply with that of some officials in Washington and London who say Libya's atomic weapons programme was far more advanced than the U.N. inspectors believe. "It would be an exaggeration to call it a programme," one Western diplomat said. [Reuters]
Friday, 16 January, 2004: The Libyan regime exemplified the dominance of the truce theory; especially after it changed its policies 180 degrees and voluntarily gave up its unconventional weapons, which cost the Libyan people many chances of development and prosperity. What took place in Libya does not reflect a policy of self-criticism, openness, adaptation and democratization. In fact, it reflects a selfish desire to escape behind pacifist solutions and save oneself. [Al-Hayat]
Friday, 16 January, 2004: Deutsche Bank Securities analyst Jay Saunders is recommending Marathon, in part because of its potential in Libya, where local despot Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi swears he has turned over a new leaf and is working to lift U.S. sanctions. Marathon has a 16% interest in Oasis Group, a billion-barrel Libyan field it was forced to leave in 1986. Winning reentry to the country could give Marathon's stock price a big boost. [Business Week]

Thursday, 15 January, 2004: In an interview with Qatar's Al-Jazeera network, Israel's president Moshe Katsav praised Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's (photo) decision to abandon the pursuit of WMDs, saying he "deserves appreciation." Asked about reports of secret talks between Israel and Libya, Katsav said: "What happens in secret should remain a secret." He would not elaborate. [AP]
Thursday, 15 January, 2004: Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. on Wednesday dismissed allegations that Pakistani scientists had provided Libya and possibly Iran and North Korea with advanced nuclear technology. Asked whether technology was shipped to any of the three countries before or during President Pervez Musharraf's tenure, Ambassador Ashraf Qazi said that "as far as we know, none was shipped out - ever. Nobody has presented us with evidence that this happened at such and such a time." "We have investigated and we haven't come across any evidence," he said after a speech at the Middle East Institute, a private think tank. [TribNet]
Thursday, 15 January, 2004: Saudi Arabia and Libya exchanged the ratification documents of the treaty of economic, commercial, investment, technical, cultural and sport cooperation between the two countries. Saudi Ambassador to Libya Mohammed Tasiji exchanged the documents with a representative of the Libyan government. Herewith the treaty comes into force. [SPA]
Thursday, 15 January, 2004: European Union (EU) members' recommendation for Libya to drop charges against the six Bulgarian medics will not cause for relations between Libya and Bulgaria to worsen, Bulgaria's governmental spokesman Dimitar Tsonev said Wednesday. Bulgaria sees its relations with Libya significantly improved over the last few years. [Novinite]
Thursday, 15 January, 2004: Kenya and Benin are camping in Libya for final preparations ahead of next week's African Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia. Both sides arrived in Tripoli on Monday but there are no immediate plans to have the sides play each other. Kenya is lined up to play Libya on January 19, two days before they leave for Tunis. [The East African Standard]
Wednesday, 14 January, 2004: The European Union has called on Libya to end a trial against six Bulgarian medics, whom it has accused of infecting more than 400 children with the virus that causes AIDS, Bulgarian state radio reported Tuesday. Bulgarian Ambassador in Libya Zdravko Velev told the radio that the ambassadors of Britain and The Netherlands handed to Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanim a note that suggested that Libya withdraw the charges and release the medics. The court in Benghazi has scheduled the next hearing in the case for Jan. 26. [BNN]
Wednesday, 14 January, 2004: The widow of the pilot of a 1989 French passenger jet bombing said Tuesday she will refuse a $1m indemnity from Libya because the compensation accord does not mention that the plane was downed in an attack. An agreement signed on Friday in Paris provides $1m to each of the families of the 170 victims of the UTA airliner bombing over Niger. Six Libyans, including Qadhafi's brother-in-law, were convicted in absentia by a French court for the bombing of the DC-10. However, the agreement referred only to an "explosion". "An explosion, that means nothing," said Maryvonne Raveneau, wife of pilot Georges Raveneau. [AP]
Wednesday, 14 January, 2004: The founder of the World Economic Forum says this year's gathering will be different, because people are more optimistic. Last year's forum in Davos, Switzerland, was overshadowed by the pending war in Iraq. More than 30 heads of state will attend next week's meeting, along with more than two-thousand participants. Several positive developments will set this gathering apart from last year. For example, Libya is sending its prime minister after it renounced WMD, and India and Pakistan have renewed relations. [AP]

Tuesday, 13 January, 2004: Participants in the seminar held in London on human rights called on the Libyan government to make fundamental changes in political life, and for respecting public freedoms and human rights. The seminar (photo), which was organized by "Libya (Watch) for Human Rights", accused Tripoli of grave practices. The participants called on the Libyan government to open an investigation on the circumstances of the many Libyan prisoners killed in Abu Salim prison. The organization also expressed its concern over "the fate of other political prisoners, jailed for a decade without trial," and called for their release. [Arabic News]
Tuesday, 13 January, 2004: U.S. oil-company representatives recently met with Libyan representatives and plan another meeting next week to lay the groundwork for their possible return to Libya, Abdulhafid Zlitni, chairman of Libya's National Oil Corp., told Wall Street Journal. Dr. Zlitni, the country's top oil official, said that the meetings have allowed the parties to "talk in more detail and exchange information." The oil companies have been hoping for some time for a thaw in the U.S. freeze on Libyan investment. Companies that previously had operations in that country, including ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum Corp. , were banned from doing business in Libya when U.S. sanctions were first imposed in 1986. [Azertac]
Tuesday, 13 January, 2004: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed Monday Libya's decisions to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Annan considered the decisions "positive steps that can help strengthen global efforts to prevent the spread and use of weapons of mass destruction in both these deadly categories," said a statement issued by his spokesman. The statement came after a meeting between Annan and Libyan Ambassador to the UN Ali al-Treki. [Xinhua]
Tuesday, 13 January, 2004: A Libyan court on Monday postponed the trial of six Bulgarian medics accused of intentionally infecting more than 400 children with the AIDS virus, court officials said. The verdicts - and possible sentencing - could come when the trial resumes Jan. 26, said the officials, who declined to be named. International observers are monitoring the trial in the coastal city of Benghazi, where the Bulgarians - five nurses and a doctor - were employed at a hospital when arrested in February 1999. [AP]
Tuesday, 13 January, 2004: Six inspectors from world football's governing body Fifa have wrapped up a week-long visit to Libya to assess the nation's capability to host the 2010 World Cup finals. Jan Peeters, the delegation head, said: "We have visited all the towns that are supposed to host the 2010 World Cup and inspected the sites of the stadiums which will be built for this event". Libya has allocated US$8 billion for the construction of eight new stadiums in six towns and for the renovation of other infrastructure works. [BBC]
Tuesday, 13 January, 2004: The Benghazi HIV trial against the six Bulgarian medics will be brought to an end by the end of January, Libya's Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam has said during a meeting with his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin. According to information of Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry, Shalgam has pledged for the trial to be a fair one, and said that Libya had no use of convicting innocent people. The six Bulgarian medics, who worked at a hospital in Benghazi, were accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. Prosecution insists on death sentences but the six medics plead not guilty. [Novinite]

Monday, 12 January, 2004: By pretending to eliminate WMD he does not possess, Colonel Qadhafi has given a huge political bonus to Bush and Blair, a way for them to evade censure for shamelessly lying their nations into the Iraq war. They will reward Qadhafi by halting efforts to overthrow him, slowly lifting sanctions, and allowing U.S. and British oil firms to resume exploiting Libya's high-grade oil. That's politics. The CIA helped Qadhafi into power in 1969. In the 1980s, the U.S., Britain and France each tried to assassinate him. Now, it seems the flamboyant colonel with nine lives is slated to be re-born as a good Arab and U.S. friend. [The Winnipeg Sun]
Monday, 12 January, 2004: The fate of six Bulgarian medics accused of deliberately infecting 400 Libyan children with AIDS, in what leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi once called a US-Israeli plot to undermine his regime, could be decided as soon as today. The trial in the coastal city of Benghazi is wrapping up as Qadhafi seeks to end decades as an international pariah. He recently renounced WMDs, opened his programmes to inspection and was reported to have made contact with Israel, a long-time enemy. Nine Libyan medics are also on trial for negligence. [AP ]
Monday, 12 January, 2004: In a first comment on the decision of US President Bush last Tuesday on extension of American sanctions on Libya, a spokesman of the Libyan Foreign Ministry said the decision would only be a setback to the American companies. These sanctions would make the American firms lose more than what Libya did. Meanwhile, assistant secretary for media and culture affairs, Hassouna al-Shawesh said that by looking thoroughly into the decision, one finds that there was a comprehensive change in its text and media language. [Khaleej Times]
Monday, 12 January, 2004: Travel between Egypt and Libya has plummeted since the two Arab states imposed tit-for-tat visa restrictions. "Traffic is about one-tenth of its normal level," an Egyptian customs official said at al-Sallum border crossing. Tripoli imposed new visa requirements on Egyptians last week, triggering a similar move by Cairo, Egyptian government newspapers have said, although both governments have denied the new measures. [AFP]
Monday, 12 January, 2004: Israel yesterday announced that a senior diplomat met recently with a Libyan government official in Paris, unleashing a wave of speculation about a breakthrough in relations between the two foes. Talk of a thaw spread after two parliamentarians said they had participated in a round-table discussion in August with Qadhafi's son. The Israeli Foreign Ministry official who confirmed the Paris meeting declined to comment on reports identifying the diplomat as Foreign Minister Shalom's chief political adviser, Ron Prosor. [The Washington Times]
Monday, 12 January, 2004: Egyptian newspaper Al-Alam al-Yum said parliament's committee on labor was to hold an emergency meeting to hear what Labor Minister Ahmed Al-Amawi planned to do to protect Egyptians barred from Libya. It said between 1.5 and two million Egyptians work in Libya. Newspapers have suggested the tiff arose from Libyan "irritation" over Egyptian press criticism of its decision last month to renounce efforts to develop WMDs. [AFP]
Monday, 12 January, 2004: The Libyan embassy in Egypt has filed a complaint with the state prosecutor against 15 journalists from opposition and independent newspapers which criticized Qadhafi over his WMD decision, the Egyptian journalists' union revealed Saturday. [AFP]

Sunday, 11 January, 2004: Nesma al-Wershefani (photo) looks at visitors warily, with piercing black eyes. Last fall, at age 6, she went to first grade with a backpack and a brightly colored tunic, full of excitement about learning. Now she is back at home because the other children teased her about having the virus that causes AIDS. Across town, Suhaila Awad, 17, struggles to endure her isolation in the second year of high school; the other students know she carries the same virus. These victims of what is known as the Benghazi epidemic, which spread HIV to more than 400 children in Benghazi in 1997-98, are the most visible face of one of the most difficult political problems Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is facing as leader of Libya. Blame has not yet been assigned, although a number of doctors and nurses, foreign and Libyan, have been charged with negligence. [New York Times]
Sunday, 11 January, 2004: The European Union (EU) is keen to rush in and embrace Libya as if all sins of commission and omission are forgotten. More cautious observers claim that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is known to change his mind, and even allegiances, on a whim. While it may keep everyone guessing, his vacillations in policy can catch people out. It may be for this reason the US has decided to hold back awhile before lifting any sanctions. As far as Qadhafi is concerned, the lifting of US sanctions are the ones he really wants; the EU position does not excite him too greatly, but America has much to offer Libya. [Gulf News]
Sunday, 11 January, 2004: Egypt has imposed a visa requirement on Libyans in retaliation for Tripoli levying a similar demand on Egyptians. On Friday, Egyptian border guards said their counterparts on the other side of the frontier had turned back a large number of Egyptians, telling them they would have to obtain entry visas from the Libyan embassy in Cairo. Government daily Al-Ahram said the Libyan measures also included the requirement that Egyptians crossing the border have a work contract and at least 350 dollars. It said the Egyptian authorities had "countered the Libyan decision by imposing, from Friday, entry visa (requirements) on Libyans entering Egypt through the Sallum border crossing." Libya said the claims were "lies". [AFP]
Sunday, 11 January, 2004: Exiled Jews are launching a multi-million pound compensation claim for property seized in Libya after Col Qadhafi signalled that he would consider making payments in his latest effort to end historic enmities. Qadhafi said that he was ready to compensate Libyan Jews for confiscated property while addressing his Popular Committee for Public Security and Justice last week, according to Al-Bawaba, a leading pan-Arab news website. [The Telegraph]
A New Libyan Site: Forum For Libyan Democrats (FLD)

Mansour El-Kikhia: Qadhafi left Libya impovershed, ill

Saturday, 10 January, 2004: The United States is preparing to dispatch up to a dozen diplomats and intelligence officers to Libya to establish a U.S. mission that will help oversee the dismantling of the North African nation's programs for weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials said yesterday. The move would create the first U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya since May 1980. "This will not be an embassy," said one U.S. official. "There's no real planning for that yet. But there is a belief that we have to have a group of people on the ground basically as a special mission to help this [disarmament] process over the long term." [The Washington Post]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: "We had meetings with the Libyans this week to discuss how we would verify that they have eliminated those [weapons] programs," U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told Abu Dhabi television in an interview yesterday. "And once we have verified that those programs have been eliminated, the United States is prepared to enter into a political dialogue with Libya about all of the matters of interest to Libya, whether it has to do with sanctions, investment in Libya, a variety of things that we can do to improve the lives of the Libyan people and to put relations with Libya on a more normal track. [The Washington Post]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: Libya on Friday turned back a large number of Egyptians at their border and imposed new visa restrictions. Libyan border guards told the Egyptians they would have to obtain entry visas from the Libyan embassy in Cairo. Egyptians were previously able to cross with only their identity papers. A Libyan foreign ministry spokesman later denied the allegation and said that we have not imposed any entry visas on Egyptians . Egyptian Information Minister Safuat al-Sherif denied Friday that Libya had closed its border with Egypt. [HiPakistan]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: A US-based Libyan opposition group accused the Libyan government Friday of making secret contacts with Israel, saying the Libyan leader would do anything to remain in power. "Qadhafi is seeking to strengthen his rule and extend it as long as possible to continue his control of the Libyan people and their finances," said Mohammed Ali, a member in the legislative council of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). "He is ready to maintain a grip on power even if it requires him to forge ties with Israel," Ali told The Daily Star in a phone interview from Massachusetts. [Daily Star]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: A Libyan writer for the leading Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram told The Daily Star in a phone interview from Cairo he believed Libyan officials' denial of having secret contacts with Israel. "Libya's position has always been clear regarding relations with Israel ... any rapprochement with the Jewish state would only be appropriate when Israel puts an end to its occupation of Arab land," Ahmed Ibrahim al-Faqih said. [Daily Star]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: The French government signaled Friday it would help Libya reintegrate into the world community, following Tripoli's agreement to compensate the families of victims of a 1989 airliner bombing. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters a separate compensation agreement signed by a private Libyan foundation will help resolve a sad chapter for families of the victims. He added that the two countries would work together for international peace and the development of Africa and that France would help Libya normalize its relations with the European Union, and the rest of the international community. [PakTribune]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: Bulgarian Minister of Justice Anton Stankov said Friday Bulgaria had not used yet all legal means to defend six Bulgarian medics Libya is trying on charges of infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus. "The legal means are not exhausted and I continue to believe that we stand chances to defeat the indictment," Stankov said in an interview for the private bTV channel. Libya is trying five Bulgarian nurses and a doctor on charges of willfully infecting 393 children at the Al Fateh hospital in Benghazi with the HIV virus that causes AIDS through blood transfusions. The next hearing in the trial is due on Monday. [BNN]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: Hong Kong still has the world's freest economy, while those of the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America generally became more tightly controlled in 2003, according to a survey released Friday. It was the 10th consecutive year that Hong Kong, with its few regulations and low taxes, has topped the annual survey by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. Venezuela, Iran, Zimbabwe and Libya were among the most "repressed" economies, according to the survey. [AP]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: Saif al-Islam al-Qathafi, son of the Libyan leader, denied recently rumored news on a meeting held between him and two members of the Israeli Knesset in Athens. He said that Tripoli no longer considers that Israel to constitute a threat to Libya's security, nor is in confrontation with it. He described the news rumored on convening the meeting, as mere rumors launched by Arab states to avenge Libya because of its political successes it recently achieved. He said that no official meeting was held with any member of the Israeli Knesset. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 10 January, 2004: Expected high oil prices will help Libya's economy grow by 2.3 to 2.6 percent this year and consumer inflation will run from 1.9 to 3.5 percent, a U.S. government energy agency forecast on Friday. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said despite Libya's strong economic growth, unemployment remains high as the country's population grows rapidly and new jobs are not created fast enough. Oil export revenues account for over 95 percent of Libya's hard currency earnings and 75 percent of government receipts, according to the EIA. With higher oil prices Libyan oil export revenues have increased sharply to $13.4 billion in 2003 and should total $12.9 billion for this year, EIA said in its annual update on Libya. [Reuters]

ALFA: An Open Letter To Prime Minister Tony Blair

Friday, 9 January, 2004: France and Libya will end their dispute over the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner today with the signing of a $170 million compensation deal for families of the 170 killed in the attack. French officials welcomed the compensation accord, which is to be signed in Paris on Friday. They said the two countries would now seek to repair strained ties with a joint declaration on bilateral relations, also on Friday. [Reuters]
Friday, 9 January, 2004: Leaked reports of secret talks between Israel and Libya may have derailed an initiative to establish a dialogue between the two states, Israeli officials said on Thursday. The Israeli foreign ministry is furious that news of the first contact between the two sides was apparently leaked by sources within the administration of Ariel Sharon, prime minister, in an attempt to torpedo the dialogue. Libya hastened to deny what it described as rumours of diplomatic contacts. "Officials in Libya have investigated this issue and have not found any evidence of it," Hassouna al-Shawesh, deputy Libyan foreign minister, said. [FT]
Friday, 9 January, 2004: The Malaysian police are working with the American and British intelligence services on an investigation into the supply of parts crucial to Libya's secret nuclear weapons programme, a government official today said. Centrifuge parts from Malaysia were found aboard a cargo ship bound for Libya last October, he said. Centrifuges are used for enriching uranium for nuclear reactors or fissile material for bombs. [Reuters]
Friday, 9 January, 2004: The Italian football federation's disciplinary committee delivered a three-month suspension to Perugia midfielder Saadi al-Qadhafi, son of the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Saadi tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolene after Perugia's home game with Reggina in October for which he was on the bench. [The Australian]

Thursday, 8 January, 2004: Libya on Wednesday denied media reports that Libyan and Israeli officials have held meetings. Libyan assistant minister of information Hasouna al-Shawesh told a news conference that the media reports were baseless. Earlier in the day, Israeli Knesset (parliament) member Ephraim Sneh of the Labor party confirmed the media reports that he had made secret contacts with Libya. Sneh told the Israel Radio that he and Shinui legislator Ilan Shalgi met with the son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in August last year. [Xinhua]
Thursday, 8 January, 2004: The European Union has refused to agree with the US policy of keeping Libya under pressure even after its declaration that it would dismantle its weapons of mass destruction and allow UN weapons inspectors into the country. Differences emerge as European leaders showed their reservations about Washington's decision to renew US sanctions imposed on Libya in 1986. Contrary to the US policy, the EU leaders are preparing to receive Qadhafi at their headquarters. The EU hopes Qadhafi will visit Brussels soon so that cooperation between the two sides can be cemented, a union spokesman said. [PakTribune]
Thursday, 8 January, 2004: Tentative moves to establish links between Israel and Libya emerged yesterday, with news of the first meeting between officials for almost 35 years. Aides to Silvan Shalom, Israel's foreign minister, yesterday said one of his senior advisers had met Libyan officials last month. The talks follow an informal meeting between Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, a son of the Libyan leader Qadhafi, and two Israeli politicians, Ephraim Sneh and Ilan Shalgi. Mr Shalgi, of the Shinui Party said yesterday he and Mr Sneh, a member of the opposition Labour Party, met with Col Qadhafi's son in an undisclosed European capital in August. [The Scotsman]
Thursday, 8 January, 2004: The head of Libya's intelligence service, nicknamed by his enemies "the envoy of death", will hold talks in London today with senior MI6 and CIA officers to resolve a dispute over who will dismantle Libya's WMD. One senior western diplomatic source said the meeting with Musa Kusa would be a decisive occasion. "The meeting will show how serious the Libyans are," he said. "The real issue is whether the Libyans are prepared to have the kind of inspection regime that the US and Britain think is needed to ensure the lifting of US sanctions and the resumption of diplomatic relations between Washington and Tripoli." [The Telegraph]
Thursday, 8 January, 2004: An opposition lawmaker in Sao Tome and Principe has called for a wide-ranging parliamentary debate onnational security, after leading talks with the government on the alleged personal weapons cache of President Fradique de Menezes. A leader of the July coup by a group of ex-mercenaries, that temporarily overthrew Menezes, charged in December that Sao Tome's president had a quantity of arms supplied by Libya in his private residence. [Xinhua]

ALFA: A Letter To U.S. President George W Bush

LLHR: The Libyan Government's Pledges To The U.S. And The U.K.

Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: There were unconfirmed reports of a possible thaw between Israel and Libya. Israeli media reported a meeting about two weeks ago in Paris between the head of the Foreign Ministry's diplomatic team and an Arab diplomat, to establish a channel of communication with Tripoli. "European diplomatic sources" were quoted as saying that Libyan and Israeli officials met in Vienna last Friday in the presence of an American diplomat. [The Independent]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: According to Arab media reports, Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said he is ready to compensate Libyan Jews whose properties had been confiscated and that he is prepared to allow Libyans to travel to Israel. [UPI]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: Libya obtained key nuclear weapons technology and assistance from Pakistan, including critical centrifuge technology, U.S. officials have told CNN. The U.S. finding comes less than a month after the Pakistan government admitted some of the country's top nuclear scientists possibly passed nuclear information to Iran. But two Bush administration officials told CNN on Tuesday that so far the U.S. had not seen any evidence that Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf was aware of the Libyan connection. [CNN]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: Libyan analysts are saying U.S. President Bush's decision to maintain sanctions against Tripoli was not unexpected. Milud Mehadki, a professor of law at el-Fatah University in Tripoli, says the warming of U.S.-Libyan relations is just beginning. Mehadki says he was not expecting the U.S. to lift the sanctions because Tripoli only recently announced its decision to get rid of WMD. He adds that both sides still have some political differences that will have to be resolved before full diplomatic relations can be restored. [VOA]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Tuesday reaffirmed the Bush administration's readiness to consider lifting U-S sanctions against Libya once it carries out its pledge to dismantle its WMD programs. At a joint press appearance with Tunisian Foreign Minister Habib Ben Yahia, Mr. Powell said Libyan officials have been "very forthcoming" thus far in disclosing the country's weapons holdings. Powell said the government in Tunis had played a significant role in convincing neighboring Libya to commit to disarmament. [VOA]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: The United States has said that Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf is aggressively moving to probe claims that Pakistan was the source of the centrifuge design technology in Libya's nuclear programme. "I am pleased now that President Musharraf is aggressively moving to investigate it," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters on Tuesday. However, Powell refused to confirm or deny a report that Pakistani designs had helped Libya take major strides in its nuclear programme within the last two years. [PTI]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: In Islamabad, Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed vehemently denied that Pakistan's government helped Libya acquire centrifuge design technology critical for producing nuclear weapons, and said any such allegations were a smear campaign against his country. But a senior official at Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission stopped short Tuesday of dismissing recent reports of nuclear transfers to Iran and Libya. The official said Pakistan should not be blamed for any individual's wrongful act. [AP]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: Bulgaria's foreign ministry on Tuesday warned Libya to ensure a fair trial against six Bulgarian medics accused of infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus. "Bulgaria will not allow compromises with the transparency and the fairness of the trial against the Bulgarian medics," foreign ministry spokesman Lyubomir Todorov told journalists. The trial is being closely monitored by a foundation headed by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of Libya's leader Qadhafi, who has pledged to ensure a fair and transparent trial for the Bulgarians. [BNN]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: Bulgarian joint committee appointed for observing the Benghazi HIV trail will hold a meeting January 8, officials at the Bulgarian Health Ministry announced on Tuesday.Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy will report on his latest meeting with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in Dec. 2003. Participants will also discuss the newly-prepared Libyan report. The 12 Libyan doctors who prepared the report stated that the HIV infection at the Benghazi hospital is a result of deliberate actions. The report was handed to Libyan solicitor of the Bulgarians Osman Bizanti, but is still being translated into English and Bulgarian. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 7 January, 2004: US and British officials will meet Libyan experts over the next week to plan implementation of Colonel Mu'ammer al-Qadhafi's pledge to rid Libya of banned weapons. But the London meetings come amid tensions between the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear monitor, over who should oversee dismantlement of the nuclear programme. According to western diplomats in Vienna, the IAEA will not take part in the meetings but will be briefed later by a US-UK delegation. [FT]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: Explaining Monday's decision to keep U.S. sanctions against Libya in tact, President George Bush said the U.S. has "serious concerns" about ... Libyan policies and actions, including Libya's pursuit of WMD, Libya's role with respect to terrorism, and Libya's poor human rights record. While Bush is keeping the sanctions in place, he has the power to modify or end the declaration of national emergency whenever he believes it appropriate. [AP]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: U.S. President Bush refused to lift U.S. sanctions against Libya on Monday, saying Qadhafi must take concrete steps to fulfil a pledge to scrap his chemical and nuclear weapons programs. Bush, in a written notice, said Libya's promise last month to abandon weapons of mass destruction marked "an important and welcome step toward addressing the concerns of the world community." "As Libya takes tangible steps to address those concerns, the U.S. will in turn take reciprocal tangible steps to recognize Libya's progress," Bush said. [AP]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi on Monday denied reports his country would allow US and British troops to be based on its territory after Tripoli agreed to give up its WMD programmes. Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi told the Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat that Libya welcomed British and American "experts in various fields, but not forces in the military sense". Britain's Sunday Times newspaper had quoted Saif al-Islam as saying there would be "no problem" with British or US troops being stationed in Libya. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: Pakistan said today a British newspaper report that said Pakistani scientists sold plans to make nuclear bombs to Libya appeared unsubstantiated, but any official complaint would be investigated. The London Sunday Times quoted Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of Libyan leader Qadhafi, as saying that Libya had spent $40 million on nuclear components from various black-market dealers, including Pakistani scientists. [The Telegraph]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: Libya's foreign minister was yesterday invited to Britain by the government in the wake of Libya's decision to dismantle its WMD. Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, disclosing plans for Abdulrahman Shalgam's visit during a House of Commons statement on the changing mood in Libya, hailed the invitation as an important step towards enhancing international peace and stability. He said: "This agreement represents a successful outcome for the engagement by the US and the UK with Libya over a long period." [The Herald]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: In Britain, Michael Ancram, the shadow foreign minister suggested the lifting of all sanctions against Libya should await the actual dismantling of weapons programmes. Ancram asked: "Do you really believe that with all the evidence of irrationality, dishonesty and totalitarianism, that on this occasion Qadhafi can genuinely be trusted?" British MPs across the chamber welcomed the announcement by Libya, but the Tories criticised ministers for describing Col Qadhafi as a statesman. [The Herald / The Guardian]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: British Prime Minister Blair is ready to hold a historic meeting with Qadhafi to offer his thanks to the Libyan leader for agreeing to dismantle his country's WMD programme. Government sources indicated that preparations for such a meeting were at an early stage. Out of sensitivity for the relatives of the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and the relatives of PC Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot dead from Libya's "People's Bureau" in London in 1984, the meeting would probably take place in a neutral country. [The Guardian]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: Perugia midfielder Saadi Qadhafi, son of the Libyan leader Mu'ammar, has been called to appear before a disciplinary commission of the Italian football federation after failing a drugs test, his club said. Saadi has been suspended from Serie A after the positive test for the anabolic steroid nandrolone after Perugia's home game with Reggina last October. He did not seek the analysis of a second urine sample and faces a suspension of up to two years, although he is yet to make his debut in Italy's top flight. [AFP]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: The U.S. on Monday sought to calm a dispute with U.N. weapons inspectors by saying it saw no conflict with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over verifying that Libya is ending its nuclear arms program. U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the IAEA should have a role in verifying that Libya has given up such weapons; but he said the U.S., which along with Britain was approached by Tripoli in mid-March about ending its weapons programs, had a political agreement under which it would ensure arms-related aspects of Libya's nuclear program are removed. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: Britain's foreign secretary said Libya hadn't built nuclear arms yet, "but was on the way to doing so" when it pledged to drop such efforts last month. In London Tuesday, Jack Straw told Parliament that Libya also admitted having "significant quantities" of chemical weapons and the means of delivering them. Straw said Britain will help Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi bring his country "fully into the mainstream of the international community" -- if he continues to cooperate. The top U.N. nuclear inspector visited Libya last month and said it had been years, not months, away from building nuclear arms. [AP]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: The deadline for ending U.S. sanctions on Libya agreed by Tripoli and families of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing victims, falls in April but could be extended if both sides wish, a lawyer for the families said today. The lawyer, Jim Kreindler, spoke after The New York Times last week cited Libya's prime minister as putting the deadline at May 12. "If Libya and the U.S. continue to make progress and we're butting up against the deadline, I'm sure it's going to be extended ... The Libyans want U.S. commercial sanctions lifted more than they want back 1.35 billion dollars." President Bush renewed the sanctions today. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 6 January, 2004: Syrian President Bashar Assad has rejected British and American calls to renounce weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he indicated he would not abandon his country's suspected chemical and biological programmes unless Israel gave up its undeclared nuclear arsenal. His comments are a setback for Tony Blair who had hoped the Syrian leader would follow the lead set by Libya's Colonel Qadhafi who has said he is giving up his country's WMD programmes. [IcWales]

Monday, 5 January, 2004: About Libya's abandoning of its nuclear ambition, Saif al-Isalm al-Qadhafi, son of Col. Qadhafi told the Sunday Times he had worked as a "trouble shooter". "I was able to take messages to my father. By the end we had a good relationship with the CIA, MI6 and all the Americans and British," he said. His father had needed reassurance, though, that they were not secretly pushing for "regime change". "Once they assured us that they did not, everything went forward." Saif said he now expected Libya to open up, with the leading defence manufacturer Bae systems and British petroleum coming to Libya for "big deals". [The Indian Express]
Monday, 5 January, 2004: Saif al-Isalm al-Qadhafi, son of Libyan leader Qadhafi told the Sunday Times that Britain would be involved in training and re-equipping the Libyan army in the framework of a historic deal announced by Tony Blair before Christmas under which Tripoli pledged to give up its nuclear and chemical weapons programs. Saif al-Isalm said there would be "no problem" with British or US troops being positioned in Libya, adding, "We are giving up our weapons so we need an international umbrella for protection." [Al-Bawaba]
Monday, 5 January, 2004: Libyan experts rejected testimony by a French specialist blaming poor hygiene for the outbreak of an AIDS epidemic in a Libyan hospital which foreign medical staff stand accused of spreading, Bulgarian radio reported. Five Bulgarian nurses and two doctors -- one Bulgarian and one Palestinian -- face the death penalty if found guilty of infecting 426 children in a hospital in Benghazi with the virus that causes AIDS. Twenty-three of the children have already died. State prosecutors charge that they infected the children with tainted blood products, but Luc Montagnier -- the French doctor who first isolated the HIV virus -- testified in September that the epidemic had begun before the arrival of the accused. [AFP]
Monday, 5 January, 2004: Libya bought plans to make a nuclear bomb from Pakistani scientists for "millions of pounds", Saif al-Isalm al-Qadhafi, son of Col. Qadhafi, has admitted. In an interview published in the Sunday Times today, 32-year-old Saif said his country had spent 40 million dollars on its quest to acquire nuclear capability. Some of the "five-star Libyan scientists" working on the bomb had trained in Britain, he claimed. He confirmed that Libya had bought nuclear components, including centrifuges, from a variety of black market dealers. Some of the material came from Malaysia and various Asian countries, he said. [The Indian Express]
Monday, 5 January, 2004: Libyan carrier Al-Afriqiyah launched a direct flight Saturday between Tripoli and Geneva, in what company officials said was part of efforts at widening air links between Africa and the world outside at competitive fares. [PANA]
Monday, 5 January, 2004: Two Lebanese men accused of a foiled bomb attack on the US embassy last month were bound over for trial. Military Prosecutor General Georges Rizk issued the order for Mehdi al-Hajj Hassan, accused of planning the attack, and Abdel Karim Mreich, who allegedly attempted to carry sticks of dynamite into the embassy compound on December 10. Hajj Hassan took part in an attempt "to hijack a plane to seek the release of Mussa Sadr," a prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric who went missing on a trip to Libya in 1978. [AFP]
Monday, 5 January, 2004: Ireland decided not to make a formal complaint to Libya in 1973 for supplying the IRA with arms partly because it did not want to jeopardise trade ties, according to newly released government papers. An official note, released this week in Dublin, explained that ministers were worried a complaint might lessen the prospects of the local Industrial Development Authority (IDA) attracting Libyan investment to Ireland. "Irish organisations are interested in contracts with the Libyan authorities," the document said. [Reuters]

Sunday, 4 January, 2004: A top Libyan official told the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily that Qadhafi would endorse the republican system, hoping that notorious human rights laws would be annulled and worsening situations in prisons improved. He said the regime is now willing to turn over a new leaf with Libyan exiles provided that they are not accused of treason or being proxies. The paper said a Libyan "sovereign institution" is drawing up a list of officials who helped develop Libya's weapon programs in order to be discharged later. [Islam On Line]
Sunday, 4 January, 2004: "To the shores of Tripo-leee," sang Libya's prime minister, Shokri Ghanem (photo). With irony, he was reminding a visiting reporter of the long and tumultuous history between the U.S. and Libya and the eagerness with which his country awaits the beginning of a new era. Ghanem fully expects the U.S. to storm the shore soon -- but not with Marines. Rather, he foresaw oil companies wading in to reclaim old petroleum concessions and negotiate new ones. "We have done our part to end old quarrels," he said. "Now it is up to the Americans. We think it is time for the countries to think about permanent interests. The Yankees are coming back." [The Washington Post]
Sunday, 4 January, 2004: Libyan Leader Qadhafi is set to launch sweeping campaign of internal reforms that would see reshuffles in intelligence, security services and state-run institutions, according to a London-based Arab newspaper Saturday. Qadhafi will instruct the country's public institutions to adopt wider political and democratic reforms after settling old scores with the U.S. and Britain, well-placed sources told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily. [Islam On Line]
Sunday, 4 January, 2004: "The oil of the Arab countries has become a curse," the Palestinian writer Sa'eed Ghazali lamented after Libya announced its decision to abandon its unconventional weapons programs. "For 35 years, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi squandered the oil-derived affluence of Libya on developing weapons of mass destruction, sending armies to neighboring countries and getting involved in terrorist activities. His sudden capitulation has had the same damaging effects as the humiliating capture of Saddam in a spider hole," Ghazali said. [The Daily Star]
Sunday, 4 January, 2004: [Qadhafi] saw what happened to Saddam, and he decided he didn't want to end up the same way. So, he promised to give up his weapons of mass destruction and open up Libya to weapons inspection. Nevertheless, a good deal of skepticism is still in order. This is, after all, the person ultimately responsible for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and the 1989 UTA bombing. Those bombings killed 440 people. Qadhafi also was a leader of the 1973 Arab oil embargo against the U.S. and has been an active supporter of terrorism. But he deserves a chance to live up to his claims. And maybe some other low-life leaders can learn the same lesson -- cooperate with the civilized world or run the risk of ending up in a hole. [Chronicle-Tribune]
Sunday, 4 January, 2004: The answer to the riddle of why Libya announced acceptance of the negotiated Weapons of Mass Destruction agreement on Friday, December 19 undoubtedly had more to do with the 15th anniversary of Pan Am 103 on December 22nd than Saddam’s capture on December 14th. Qaddafi’s key negotiator, long-time intelligence operative Musa Kousa, who was deported from London in 1980 and implicated in the French airliner bombing in 1989, arrived in London to begin secret negotiations in October 2001 — not 2003. [Arab News]
FNC: Suspicion Still Surrounds Libyan Leader Al-Qadhafi

WSJ: Deal With The Devil

Saturday, 3 January, 2004: Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanim said in an interview in Tripoli with The New York Times on Thursday that the U.S. should reward Libya for scrapping its nuclear arms program, namely lifting US sanctions against it. Ghanim warned that unless the U.S. lifted sanctions by May 12, Libya would not be bound to pay the remaining six million US dollars promised to each family of victims killed in the Lockerbie bombing, the paper said. "The agreement says that eight months after the signing, if American sanctions are not removed, then the additional 6 million US dollars for each family of victims will not be paid," Ghanim was quoted as saying. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 3 January, 2004: The U.S. on Friday appeared cool to a Libyan request urging quick US action to lift its sanctions against Libya, linking the removal of sanctions to a complete severance with terrorism and dismantling of its nuclear arms program. "As far as the subject of lifting sanctions goes, our focus is on Libyan actions and Libyan performance," U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters. Ereli noted the US government is not a party to the agreement between the Lockerbie families and the Libyan government. "I would caution you to avoid making the connection between what the agreement calls for and what the US government may or may not do," he said. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 3 January, 2004: Following Libya's decision to allow nuclear weapons inspections, European Commission President Romano Prodi said Friday the trading bloc was ready to work more closely with Libya and welcome the country "through the main door." Prodi said that in a New Year's telephone conversation Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi the Libyan leader "expressed his firm intention to mark this new era by contacts with the EU at top official level." In a statement, Prodi said we would now be willing "to receive Colonel Qadhafi in Brussels to seal this process officially as early as possible." No dates were announced. [AP]

Chat room:

Friday, 2 January, 2004: Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo) insisted that Libya decided voluntarily to abandon programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and did not act because of international pressure. "Libya's decision was not a concession or the result of what happened in Iraq but was a decision by the Popular Congress (parliament). It was voluntary," Shalgam told AFP in an interview. Libyan leader Qadhafi surprised the world with his declaration on Dec. 19 that Tripoli was giving up the search for chemical, biological and nuclear arms. [AFP]
Friday, 2 January, 2004: The first deputy for the Qatari prime minister and the foreign minister, Hamad al-Thani, via the "sans frontier" program broadcast by al-Jazeera TV yesterday, disclosed the mediation Qatar made between Libya, USA and Britain, in order that Tripoli will quit its armament program, noting that this role was not central, and had started by the beginning of 2003. The minister described the decision of the Libyan leader as wise. [Arabic News]
Friday, 2 January, 2004: From Iraq to Libya, the world could become a safer place in 2004 but the job has to be seen through to the end, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said in a New Year's message. The capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Libya's pledge to disarm brought Blair some welcome respite after a year when his popularity tumbled over the decision to take Britain to war alongside the United States in Iraq. [Reuters]
January, 2 January, 2004: Libyan [state-run] Al-Zahf Al-Akhdar newspaper Thursday called for reforms within the Libyan security services. [PANA]
Friday, 2 January, 2004: The Voice of the Mediterranean (VOM) went on air for the last time yesterday and its 13 employees have received termination letters. The shortwave radio station, set up 20 years ago by Libya and Malta, has had to close down for financial reasons after the Libyan government failed to pay its share of the funding. [The Times Of malta]
Thursday, 1 January, 2004: Nearly three months after the successful operation, the Bush administration confirmed on Wednesday interception of an illegal shipment of thousands of parts of uranium-enrichment equipment bound for Libya. The seizure in early October sealed Libyan leader Qadhafi's decision to dismantle his nuclear weapons program, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton plans to fly to London on New Year's Day to make plans with Britain for holding Qadhafi to his Dec. 19 pledge to dismantle. [AP]
Thursday, 1 January, 2004: Libya's renunciation of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction was the result of "bold British and American diplomacy," the US Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote in The New York Times. Powell said Iran had also felt "our sustained pressure ... to come clean on its nuclear weapons program, and has begun to do so." [AFP]
Thursday, 1 January, 2004: Score one for President Bush and his overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It especially behooves those of us who have been skeptical of the U.S. venture in Iraq to credit that enterprise with playing a key role in persuading Libyan dictator Qadhafi (photo) to throw in the towel. It was just after the invasion of Iraq that Qadhafi opened the negotiations that have now led to his renunciation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. And it was just days after Saddam was winkled out of his hidey hole that Qadhafi concluded the negotiations in an agreement that also has him giving up long-range missile development. [The Oregonian]
Thursday, 1 January, 2004: Libya's Al-Afriqiyah airline will carry Malian pilgrims on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in January 2004, the airline sources said in Tripoli Tuesday. [PANA]
Thursday, 1 January, 2004: Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) inspectors are slated to arrive in the Libyan capital Tripoli 7 January on a weeklong mission as part of a tour of five African countries bidding to host the World Cup in 2010. [PANA]
The Centre For Libyan Studies: Libya And The West

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