News and Views [ May 2004 ]

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Monday, 31 May, 2004: Detectives from Norwich [UK] are set to visit a suspected Al Qaeda mastermind in a French jail to try to persuade him to appear as a witness in a case at Norwich Crown Court. Djamel Beghal had been linked to abduction of five Norfolk children taken to Libya four years ago. The five disappeared after being collected by their Libyan father [Ezzedin Elgirnazi] at their home at Saxlingham Thorpe, near Norwich. Rumaysa, 15, Safiya, 12, Ali, 10, Hamza, 8, and Aisha, 5, had lived there with their mother Anita Elgirnazi, but were traced to Libya where they are still thought to be. A man and a woman from Manchester are due to stand trial at Norwich Crown Court on July 5 accused of being involved in the kidnapping. [EDP]
Monday, 31 May, 2004: A few days after Libya's historic pledge on Dec. 19 to abandon the quest for nuclear weapons, Libyan intelligence officials met with visiting U.S. diplomats to deliver some unsettling news: A sizable quantity of nuclear equipment purchased by Libya appeared to be missing. Despite a search that has spanned the globe, U.S. and international investigators are still struggling to account for a number of sensitive parts Libya ordered for construction of its uranium enrichment plant -- parts that potentially could be used by other countries or groups seeking nuclear weapons. "We haven't gotten to the bottom of the story," acknowledged one senior Bush administration official involved in the investigation. "We continue to look for, and expect to make, new discoveries. We don't think the story is fully revealed yet." [The Washington Post]
Monday, 31 May, 2004: Malaysia revealed on Saturday that Libyans involved in that country's nuclear weapons programme had been secretly trained in Malaysia under an arrangement by a top agent in the international nuclear black market scandal. Deputy Internal Security Minister Noh Omar made the disclosure to reporters at Kamunting detention camp where the agent, Sri Lankan businessman B.S.A. Tahir, on Friday began serving a two-year detention order for involvement in the illicit nuclear network run by Pakistani scientist Dr A. Q. Khan. [AFP]

Sunday, 30 May, 2004: North Korea firmly denied on Saturday a report it provided Libya with weapons-grade uranium in early 2001, saying the allegations were "sheer fabrication." The New York Times reported last Saturday Pyongyang secretly supplied Libya with nearly two tonnes of uranium, citing unnamed U.S. officials and European diplomats. "There has been, in fact, no deal in enriched uranium between the DPRK and Libya," the country's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. DPRK stands for Democratic People's Republic of Korea. [Reuters]
Sunday, 30 May, 2004: The Libyan envoy Ali al-Treiki (photo) said Friday when meeting with the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, that Libya's African policy remain unchanged after its shift to reconcile with some western countries. "I do not think that agreement with the western countries has something to do with Africa. We will never forget what Africa did for us and there will be no change in the African policy," he said. [Xinhua]
Sunday, 30 May, 2004: Turkey is now seen as a source of centrifuge parts shipped to Libya's nuclear weapons programme, diplomats said on Saturday, after revelations that Tripoli had received new shipments of equipment in March. The container had "escaped the attention" of the US-led teams which had seized five containers of centrifuge parts from "the cargo ship BBC China in October 2003," the IAEA said, according to a copy of the report obtained by AFP. A senior diplomat close to the IAEA said the agency was investigating parts that had been manufactured in Turkey and that this might be the shipment that had arrived in March. [AFP]
Sunday, 30 May, 2004: Three of Bulgaria's most prestigious lawyers will take part in the defence of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya on May 6. The Chairman of Supreme Lawyers' Council Trayan Markovski recommended lawyers Marin Markovski, Daniela Dokovska and Georgi Gatev to the special committee dealing with the HIV case. The three experts will not go in court but will offer their help to the defence strategy. [Novinite]

Saturday, 29 May, 2004: Three months after Libya declared it had abandoned its nuclear weapons programme, a container of parts for uranium enrichment arrived in the country, a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday. The previously unreported arrival in March of the shipment of sophisticated steel gas centrifuges may provide further clues about the network led by the Pakistani scientist, A. Q. Khan. Libya notified the agency and the contents have already been shipped out of the country. Most elements of Libya's nuclear weapons programme have been sent to the high security Oak Ridge Laboratory in the US. [FT]
Saturday, 29 May, 2004: Suppliers for Libya's nuclear weapons program stretched over three continents, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said in an internal report Friday. The report did not name the countries involved in supplying Libya. However, diplomats close to the agency said that the report indicated the former Soviet Union, South Africa, Pakistan, the UAE and Malaysia supported or served as bases for individuals selling nuclear components or know-how to Libya. Other diplomats had earlier named N. Korea, as well as individuals from Pakistan, Dubai and Malaysia as part of the black market chain selling nuclear secrets to rogue nations. [AP]
Saturday, 29 May, 2004: A key figure in a Pakistan-based nuclear trafficking network was arrested yesterday in Malaysia, government officials said. Buhary Abu Tahir, a Sri Lankan businessman who allegedly worked with disgraced Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan to sell nuclear secrets to rogue states, was detained for threatening Malaysia's security, officials told The Associated Press. A police investigation three months ago confirmed that Tahir had brokered a deal for a Malaysian company to supply centrifuge parts for Libya's nuclear programme. [AP]
Saturday, 29 May, 2004: Radio Free Europe will join the international efforts for the release of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. Thomas Dine, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty President met on Friday with Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy. Right after the meeting, Minister Passy said that Radio Free Europe enjoys great popularity all around the world, which could be of great use for the Bulgarian convicts. [Novinite]
Saturday, 29 May, 2004: Libyan Ambassador in Manilla, Salem Mohammed Adem yesterday reiterated his government's support and endorsement for the Philippines' bid for an observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). "My commitment is Libya would fully support and even endorse that, and sponsor the Philippines' bid," he said during a media briefing in Malacanang. Salem said he is leaving Sunday for Tripoli to accompany Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Delia Albert on her visit to Libya. [Manila Bulletin]
Saturday, 29 May, 2004: The UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has said questions remain about Libya's nuclear weapons programme, despite its promise to scrap it. In a confidential report, the IAEA said it was happy with Libya's co-operation but that investigations must continue. It said some of Libya's nuclear equipment had been contaminated with highly enriched uranium. But it said there was no evidence Libya had begun building a nuclear warhead. [BBC]
Saturday, 29 May, 2004: Swarms of locusts in north Africa could be on the verge of threatening crops further south, the UN has warned. Winds could sweep breeding locusts in Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia southwards to countries in the Sahel. Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal would then risk losing some of their harvests, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). "If there are good rains we could be in a plague condition by the end of the year," FAO's Clive Elliott said.
Saturday, 29 May, 2004: Zimbabwe's President has made an all out attack on Tony Blair, accusing him of arrogance and stifling talks between the nations. In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Robert Mugabe scoffed at suggestions that millions in Zimbabwe are starving. In his first interview with a British broadcaster in four years, the 80-year-old attacked Mr Blair for treating Zimbabwe as though it were still a colony. Mugabe claimed that Blair had made peace with Libya "not just to get Libyan oil but to get Libya to desist from assisting us". [Sky News]

Friday, 28 May, 2004: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder is prepared to visit Mu'ammar el-Qadhafi, the Libyan dictator being welcomed back by the world community after swearing off terrorism, an associate said. Schroder will make the visit once Libya agrees to compensate the victims of a 1986 terror attack on a West Berlin disco, said Hans Wischnewski. Wischnewski said he informed Qadhafi of Schroder's intentions during an April visit to Tripoli. [FAZ]
Friday, 28 May, 2004: The U.S. and Libya are discussing possible use of Libya as a transit point for delivering humanitarian aid to western Sudan, where fighting has left hundreds of thousands of people at risk of starvation or disease. The administration has been undertaking costly airlifts of assistance to Darfur province and is seeking land routes as an alternative. If an agreement with Libya can be worked out, U.S. food would be sent to a Libyan port and then transferred to the custody of the World Food Program for delivery to Darfur. [AP]
Friday, 28 May, 2004: Germany and Libya are "very close" to reaching a compensation deal over a 1986 disco bombing, say senior European Commission sources. "They are very close to agreement. Talks are fairly well advanced and we are all confident it can be solved quite soon," a senior official told A settlement on the La Belle bombing would remove one of the obstacles to accepting Libya as a fully-fledged member of the EU's "Barcelona" partnership with Mediterranean rim nations. But even if the issue is resolved next month as expected, Tripoli's entry into the EU-Mediterranean trade bloc could still be scuppered if it refuses to release five Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor recently sentenced to death in Libya. [EUPolitix]
Friday, 28 May, 2004: The U.S. Government's recent lifting of certain Libyan sanctions has opened a potential watershed of new business opportunities for the oil and gas industry in this North African country. On Tuesday, June 8, 2004, Gulf Publishing Company will host the "Energy Execs Op Insights Forum: The Return to Libya" breakfast for senior energy executives to gain insights into this rapidly emerging energy market. The forum is co-hosted by leading trade journals Hydrocarbon Processing, World Oil and Petroleum Economist. [Business Wire]
Friday, 28 May, 2004: The U.S. has found an extensive Iranian military presence in Libya. Western intelligence sources said a British-U.S. team that inspected Libyan facilities found evidence of nearly 100 military-related Iranian contracts in Libya. The sources said they include the development of missiles as well as conventional and nonconventional weapons. "Iran has used Libya as a laboratory for Teheran's defense industry," an intelligence source said. "The U.S. found evidence of Iranian involvement in virtually every major Libyan weapons program." Many of the projects focused on medium- and intermediate-range missile development. [MENL]
Thursday, 27 May, 2004: Arab Financial Services (AFS), of Bahrain, plans to introduce its pre-paid MasterCard x-change card in Libya, Bahrain News Digest reports. AFS and Libya will likely sign an agreement in the next few days, said Mahmoud al-Koufi, chief executive of AFS. The pre-paid card requires no bank account, can be pre-paid up to $10,000, and can be used for cash withdrawals and payments worldwide. AFS may also open a branch in Libya, al-Koufi said. [UPI]
Thursday, 27 May, 2004: If Americans expect Libyans to be sorry for what the West considers Libya's proven involvement in the 1988 bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland -- an event that turned Libya into a pariah state for 15 years -- they will be disappointed. Judging by dozens of recent informal conversations, Libyans do not believe their country was involved in the bombing, which killed 270 people, despite their government's agreement to pay $2.7 billion in compensation. Nor do they believe there was any moral reason for Colonel Qadhafi, their leader for the past 34 years, to voluntarily give up efforts to develop WMDs. [The Boston Globe]
Thursday, 27 May, 2004: Gerald Hines, the chairman of the Houston-based company that bears his name has discovered a coastal site in Tripoli where he wants to build an office and hotel project. Hines mentioned the plan Tuesday to real estate journalists at the Hilton Americas-Houston, a 1,200-room hotel his firm developed downtown. "There are 2,000 kilometers of beachfront in Tripoli," he said. "It's a beautiful sea that looks like Cannes or Nice 100 years ago." The developer is unclear about plans for the Libyan project, which could include a 300-room hotel and up to 700,000 square feet of office space. [Houston Chronicle]
Thursday, 27 May, 2004: Libya has refused to present the verdict and the motives for the death sentences, which Benghazi Court passed on five Bulgarian nurses on May 6. Bulgaria's Embassy in Tripoli has handed a note to the subsidiary of Libya's Foreign Ministry in Benghazi with a demand that Libya submits immediately the verdict and its motives, Deputy Foreign Minister Gergana Gruncharova said. Under local legislation, the motives must be made public within 30 days after the delivery of the verdicts. Bulgaria's consul has been assured that the documents will be presented not later than in 20 days, a period which expired on Wednesday. [Novinite]
Thursday, 27 May, 2004: The International Atomic Energy Agency learned from Pakistan that N. Korea was the source of 1.7 metric tons of uranium hexafluoride recently removed from Libya by the U.S. as part of Libya's dismantling of its nuclear program. The diplomat said Pakistani officials told the IAEA of N. Korea's uranium transfer to Libya in the course of discussions concerning the proliferation network of A. Q. Khan, the so-called father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb. A diplomat familiar with the transfer believes that the shipment occurred after 1999. [ABC]

Wednesday, 26 May, 2004: British judges will hear an appeal next month to increase the 27-year jail sentence imposed on a Libyan national convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. The appeal will take place on June 28 in Glasgow, the public prosecution service in Scotland said in a statement Monday. Scotland's top legal officer Colin Boyd will use the appeal to argue that the 27-year minimum term placed on Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo) last November was unduly lenient. [AFP]
Wednesday, 26 May, 2004: American oil companies whose facilities were nationalized by Libya in the mid-1970s have been secretly negotiating with senior oil officials there for months to work out a compensation package, according to Persian Gulf regional diplomats in contact with these firms and a European cabinet minister who was in Washington recently. "The agreement for nationalization originally speculated there would be a sort of compensation package. Even at that time, it indicated that assets will not be totally lost," said John Dalli, Malta's minister of foreign affairs, who has handled Libyan affairs for his government for 16 years. [The Washington Post]
Wednesday, 26 May, 2004: Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said he wanted Libya to remain in the league. Qadhafi walked out of the Arab summit on Saturday. [Khaleej Times]
Wednesday, 26 May, 2004: Libya will not execute the death verdicts of five Bulgarian nurses, according to London based Palestinian-expatriate daily Al-Quds al-Arabi. The publication released on Tuesday says it is not due to humane reasons, but instead in the interest of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to set the Bulgarians free and probably compensate them by the Qadhafi Foundation headed by his son, Seif al-Islam. Libyan leader, the daily suggests, is likely to repeal the verdicts of the Bulgarians and thus show off Libya as a country of justice and clemency. [Novinite]

Tuesday, 25 May, 2004: British Prime Minister Tony Blair told families of Lockerbie victims yesterday that he would use his renewed links with Colonel Qadhafi to press for further information about the 1988 Pan Am tragedy. The families emerged from a meeting with the Prime Minister at Downing Street to say they were "encouraged" by Col Qadhafi's reaction to their demands for further action to uncover the truth about the bombing. They requested the meeting after becoming concerned that, despite the renewal of Britain's relations with Libya, little progress has been made to identify those responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. [The Scotsman]
Tuesday, 25 May, 2004: Libya's leader has called on coalition troops to leave Iraq. In a telephone conversation with Belgium's premier, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi insisted that the pullout was necessary to stop violence in Iraq. Qadhafi wanted international forces under UN command to be deployed in Iraq, according to the AFP. Last Saturday, he attacked the way the US-led coalition is dealing with Iraq. "If Saddam lived for another 10 years, would he be able to kill as many Iraqis and destroy as much of Iraq as the Americans have done in one year?" Qadhafi said. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 25 May, 2004: In a statement issued before yesterday's meeting with Prime Minister Blair, the families of Lockerbie victims said: "Recent letters from [Foreign Minister] Baroness Symons and the Lord Advocate make it plain that the criminal investigation is effectively inactive and that no further initiatives are planned by government to take advantage of the renewed relationship with Libya. "Libya is not being asked to abide by its written commitment to the UN ... to co-operate 'in good faith' with any further inquiries into Lockerbie. "We will therefore be asking Mr Blair to find a means to address the outstanding and unresolved questions about the circumstances of the biggest mass murder of the 20th century in the UK. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 24 May, 2004: More shipments of nuclear material from Libya have arrived at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee, USA, but officials are offering few details. "We've had some things arrive since that first flurry," said Dennis Ruddy, general manager at Y-12. He declined to describe the contents or say if more of Libya's nuclear material is on the way. [AP]
Monday, 24 May, 2004: U.S. oil companies' return to Libya could be delayed by their request for more favourable contract terms, Libya's oil minister said on Sunday. "We want them to come back under the old contracts that were operating when we initiated the standstill agreement but they want new contracts and different terms," Fathi bin Shatwan said on Sunday. [Reuters]

Sunday, 23 May, 2004: International inspectors have discovered evidence that North Korea secretly provided Libya with nearly two tons of uranium in early 2001. A giant cask of uranium hexafluoride was turned over to the U.S. by the Libyans earlier this year the Americans identified Pakistan as the likely source. But in recent weeks the International Atomic Energy Agency has found strong evidence that the uranium came from North Korea. [The New York Times]
Sunday, 23 May, 2004: The annual summit of the League of Arab States began Saturday with a protest from Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Diplomats say Qadhafi walked out during a speech by Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa because he was annoyed by perceived criticism of Libya's decision to renounce its WMD programs. "I regret that Libya is obliged to boycott the summit. The reasons are : non-agreement of the agenda," Qadhafi later told reporters. [CBC]
Sunday, 23 May, 2004: Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries has started work on opening a subsidiary in Libya and expects demand for construction services there to increase dramatically. Orascom said recent events including the lifting of US sanctions would allow new investment in petrochemical, infrastructure and tourism related projects in Libya. [Reuters]

Saturday, 22 May, 2004: Libya remains steadfast in its position that death sentences are the only just verdict for the Bulgarian medics. "I made it clear to Minister Passy that Libya's legislation envisages death sentences for all who have caused the death of more than one person," Libya's Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo) told Libyan news agency Jana after his meeting with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy in Tripoli. Shalgam stressed that not only the Libyans, but the whole world has witnessed the independence of the Libyan court. [Novinite]
Saturday, 22 May, 2004: Libyan Oil Minister Fathi bin Shatwan (photo) told Reuters he would back a possible OPEC output hike only if it were needed by the market. Current high crude prices were not the result of a shortage, he said, but rather due to a lack of global refining capacity. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has suggested an increase of at least 1.5 million barrel per day. Bin Shatwan was speaking ahead of an energy producers/consumers conference due to start in Amsterdam on Saturday. [Reuters]
Saturday, 22 May, 2004: The Executive Manager of the Al-Qadhafi Foundation for Charitable Societies held a meeting today with the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and his accompanying delegation currently visiting Libya. The meeting concluded that there must be cooperative links between the foundation and Australian charitable organisations. [JANA]
Saturday, 22 May, 2004: The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is lending its support to an international campaign in support of a Palestinian physician and five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. "We are appealing to the Libyan government through diplomatic channels to listen to the voices of health care providers around the world and throw out these sentences," said CMA President, Dr. Sunil Patel. The World Medical Association, of which the CMA is a member, has also issued an appeal on behalf of the international physician community. [CNW]
Saturday, 22 May, 2004: Serbia and Montenegro diplomatic office in Libya has not been informed with intention of Bulgarian authorities to engage former Yugoslav president Zoran Lilic as mediator with Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in release of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. "... Not only that I know nothing about Lilic's mission in Libya, but I know nothing whether he is in Libya or not", Slobodan Milic, Serbia and Montenegro's Acting Ambassador to Libya told 'Blic' daily. Cabinet of Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic said that Lilic had been sent to Libya to invite Colonel Qadhafi to visit Belgrade. [SeeEurope]

Tibra Foundation: Tibra Awards 2004

Friday, 21 May, 2004: Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Australia will reopen its embassy in Libya. According to the official Libyan news agency, JANA, he made the announcement during a brief visit to the capital, Tripoli. While there, Mr Downer had talks with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. JANA said they discussed ways to promote bilateral relations, notably in political, cultural and scientific areas. Australia closed its embassy in Tripoli 17 years ago in protest at the policies pursued by Libyan leader Qadhafi. [AFP]
Friday, 21 May, 2004: The trial against the Bulgarian medics in Libya will not see its conclusion as quickly as we would like to, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Passy said after his return from Tripoli. Passy has informed the Libyan side of the position of European Commission head Romano Prodi that the HIV trial is an issue not only for Bulgaria, but for the EU as well. [Novinite]
Friday, 21 May, 2004: Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer discussed his country's relations with Libya in separate meetings Thursday with his Libyan counterpart and the country's prime minister. After meeting Prime Minister Shukri Ghanim, Downer told reporters that Australia will open a diplomatic office in Tripoli for the first time in 17 years. Libya's foreign minister, Abdelrahman Shalgam, said he urged Downer to work to promptly withdraw the U.S.-led coalition forces from Iraq and hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis. [AP]
Friday, 21 May, 2004: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy has defined his visit in Libya as "depressing". According to Passy the passed death sentences on 5 Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor the Libyan side has become a hostage of the public opinion established by it. Passy announced that he had insisted to Qadhafi Foundation for the transfer of the nurses from Benghazi to Tripoli because the court has no conditions to act independently. [FIA]

Thursday, 20 May, 2004: The Australian Government is following the U.S. and Britain's lead by exploring trade opportunities with Libya. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer will arrive in Libya tonight for talks with senior officials, and possibly a meeting with the country's leader, Colonel Qadhafi. Downer says his visit to Libya will be firmly focussed on trade. He will explore possible commercial opportunities for Australia in Libya's oil, mining and livestock sectors. [ABC]
Thursday, 20 May, 2004: Bulgaria's foreign minister on Wednesday tried to reassure five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor Libya has sentenced to death on charges of deliberately infecting hundreds of children with HIV. Passy met the medics, who are held in a prison in Benghazi. In a two-hour conversation he told them about efforts the government was making for their possible acquittal and release. Earlier in the day Passy called for a quick and fair solution of the case in Libya's Supreme Court, where the medics are appealing the verdict. "The most important element for us is time," the AFP quoted Passy as telling a news conference after meeting his Libyan colleague Abdelrahman Shalgam and Justice Minister Ali Abu-Bakr. [BNN]
Thursday, 20 May, 2004: Libya's Supreme Council of Judicial Authorities is vested with the power to pardon the Bulgarian medics should their death sentences be confirmed by the Supreme Court in Tripoli, a defense lawyer said Wednesday. The rulings of the Supreme Court are not subject to appeal. It is the Council, instead of Libyan leader Qadhafi, that can give full amnesty to the five Bulgarian nurses, Osman Bizanti explained to reporters in Tripoli. Under Libyan legislation a clemency appeal should be tabled to the Supreme Council. Should the Council annul the delivered sentences at first instance the case will be referred to the Appeals Court in Benghazi, to be heard by a different panel of judges. [Novinite]
Thursday, 20 May, 2004: Twenty-Eight Ghanaians, including three women, deported from Libya arrived on Saturday at the Kulungugu border post near Bawku by a chartered bus from Niger. The returnees, who are between 20 and 35 years, looked very frail and dehydrated.Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), their spokesman, Kwabena Boateng, said most of them went to Libya on foot through the desert to seek greener pastures. [GNA]
Wednesday, 19 May, 2004: Libya's government controls the judiciary, citizens do not have the right to a fair trial or to be represented by legal counsel, and the establishment of independent human rights organizations is prohibited, the US State Department report on Supporting Human Rights and Democracy reads. "Libya has a history of summary executions, disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention of persons, many of whom remain incommunicado, widespread use of torture..., restricted freedoms of speech, assembly, press and expression, ... Women and religious and ethnic minorities also continue to face violence and discrimination. These and many other problems contribute to Libya's extremely poor human rights record." [Novinite]
Wednesday, 19 May, 2004: The Bulgarian foreign minister has arrived in Tripoli for talks on the fate of five Bulgarian nurses who have been sentenced to death. The nurses and a Palestinian doctor were convicted of deliberately infecting some 400 children with HIV in Benghazi. Bulgaria has described the verdict as absurd and unfair. Solomon Passy is expected to see the nurses, who maintain their innocence and are appealing against the ruling. Prosecutors claimed the accused gave patients HIV in a bid to find an Aids cure. The six medics say the HIV outbreak at a children's hospital was caused by poor hygiene - and that they confessed under torture. [BBC]
Wednesday, 19 May, 2004: The EU chief executive reiterated Tuesday a call to Libya to release five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor it has sentenced to death for allegedly infecting hundreds of children with the virus that causes AIDS. Bulgarian state TV quoted European Commission President Romano Prodi as saying the EU "has a clear position on the trial and won't back away from it." The TV quoted Prodi as saying the verdict was not backed by any solid evidence. He said he wrote to Qadhafi making it clear that Libya's efforts to restore its relations with the EU would depend on the outcome of the medics' case, the report said. [BNN]
Wednesday, 19 May, 2004: The United States took a small step toward easing an arms embargo against Sudan despite its intense criticism of Khartoum over the crisis in Darfur and growing frustration at repeated delays in signing a peace deal with southern rebels. Secretary of State Colin Powell removed Sudan from a blacklist of countries deemed not to be cooperating fully with US anti-terrorism efforts and, at the same time, hinted strongly that Libya -- which has vastly improved ties with the United States since renouncing weapons of mass destruction programs -- could be next. However, Powell's determinations are only symbolic in nature as both Sudan and Libya remain on the State Department's list of "state sponsors of terrorism". [AFP]
Wednesday, 19 May, 2004: Libya has pledged that Bulgarian officials would have free access to the five convicted nurses, the Bulgarian ambassador has said. That was agreed after Tuesday's meeting between the convicts and the Bulgarian consul, Ambassador Zdravko Velev told Sofia-based Darik radio. The five Bulgarians were sentenced to death by a Benghazi court that found them guilty of infecting some 400 kids with HIV. The verdicts came after a detainment of more than five years. The court's decision triggered a storm of protests in Bulgaria. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 19 May, 2004: Bulgaria wants to develop ties with Libya despite the death sentences it has handed to five Bulgarian nurses on charges of deliberately infecting hundreds of children with the virus that causes AIDS, government officials said Tuesday. Minister of Interior Georgi Petkanov said he was preparing to visit Libya and sign a cooperation accord with his Libyan colleague. "Our position remains unchanged," Minister of Justice Anton Stankov said. "We believe that the intense bilateral contacts between all levels of the Bulgarian and the Libyan administration may influence positively the outcome of the trial." [BNN]

The Libyan League For Human Rights: Libya; "No" To The Death Penalty

Tuesday, 18 May, 2004: Bulgaria has invited Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to visit to help resolve the issue of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. The invitation was issued Monday by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov who has taken personal charge of Bulgaria's efforts to secure a retrial. The five nurses, along with a Palestinian doctor, were convicted earlier this month of infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. [UPI]
Tuesday, 18 May, 2004: Australia's Federal Government has announced it will appoint a senior Australian representative to Libya. The officer will act as Trade Commissioner and Consul General and will be the first Australian diplomat stationed in the country since 1987. Libya has moved back onto the international stage following its renouncement of WMDs. The country has also reached a settlement with families of those killed in the Lockerbie air disaster. [ABC]
Tuesday, 18 May, 2004: Bulgaria has sought the mediation of Lebanon to settle the "sensitive" Libyan case over death-sentenced medics. According to the Washington Times, Bulgarian Ambassador to Lebanon Nikolay Andreev had asked for the personal intervention of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri with the Libyan authorities to reconsider the verdicts. Ambassador Andreev announced the news after meeting with the billionaire prime minister. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 18 May, 2004: Bulgarian diplomats are still being refused access to the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death, who are in Benghazi's al-Quefia jail. Despite some earlier reports that the Bulgarian consul will be able to visit them on Tuesday, Ambassador Zdravko Velev denied it. The sixth Bulgarian who was acquitted by the court cannot leave the country because of incomplete documents and delayed exit visa by Libyan authorities. [Novinite]

Monday, 17 May, 2004: Libya, apparently embarrassed by a US statement that Tripoli had pledged not to trade arms with Syria, said it had not named Syria as a country spreading WMDs. The U.S. said on Thursday it welcomed Libya's commitment not to trade arms with countries it considers to be of concern in terms of proliferating WMDs - a group Washington said included Syria, Iran and North Korea. But in a statement carried by Libyan news agency Jana late on Friday, the Libyan Foreign Ministry noted it had not specified the countries involved. [HiPak]
Monday, 17 May, 2004: Libyan leader Qadhafi has warned non-African powers not to intervene in the continent's conflicts. Speaking on Saturday at the start of the Censad summit, he said crises were being exacerbated by outsiders. Referring to the conflicts in Ivory Coast and Sudan, he said African solutions must be found. Both countries are among Censad's 20 member countries - which are meeting in Bamako, Mali. The BBC's Lara Pawson at the summit says those who were hoping that Sudanese and Ivorian leaders might come under pressure will be disappointed. [BBC]
Monday, 17 May, 2004: German and Libyan officials failed to agree on compensation for victims of a Libyan-ordered nightclub bombing in 1986 in weekend talks, but hope to clinch a deal next month, German lawyers said today. Hans-Joachim Ehrig said there was still a "significant gap" over payouts to more than 160 people wounded in the blast at West Berlin's 'La Belle' disco, in which two US soldiers and a Turkish woman were killed. Without a deal, Germany and the EU say Libya cannot join the EU's partnership agreement with Mediterranean nations, which would help cement its international rehabilitation and pave the way for more trade and aid. [BNN]
Monday, 17 May, 2004: Hundreds of health staff have marched through the Bulgarian capital Sofia and other cities to protest against Libya's controversial HIV verdict. Libya has sentenced to death five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor for deliberately infecting around 400 children with HIV. Critics say the Libyans extracted confessions using torture. Leading doctors accuse Libya of trying to cover up unsafe hospital practises. "Libya is looking for a scapegoat for its own malpractice and poor hygiene at the hospitals," said Ivo Raichev, a prominent Bulgarian neurologist who worked for 14 months in a Libyan hospital in the late 1990s. [BBC]

Sunday, 16 May, 2004: South Africa will host the 2010 Worldcup. This was decided yesterday by the FIFA. With 14 votes, the South Africans had four more than Morocco who had 10. Egypt, were left without a chance. The decision comes a day after Tunisia had officially announced their withdrawel as the FIFA disallowed them to organize the cup together with Libya. [SoccerWay]
Sunday, 16 May, 2004: Although Libya's leader Qadhafi congratulated S. Africa for winning the bid to host the 2010 World Cup, local newspapers on Saturday blasted soccer's governing body as elitist even before the voting. "(FIFA is) a myth and a nightmare that the world is living in," al-Zahf al-Akhdar said. "FIFA of the Rich: Go to Hell," was the headline of an editorial in al-Shams. "FIFA lost its credibility because of the hegemony of the rich countries over FIFA decisions, which are only serving their interests. "The poor countries, which form the majority of FIFA's 204 members, should now seriously think of forming their own FIFA," al-Shams said. [AP]
Sunday, 16 May, 2004: Libya were asked to withdraw from the vote to decide the 2010 World Cup host nation after refusing to allow Israel to play there in the event of it winning the right to organise the tournament, a member of the FIFA Committee said on Saturday. In their bid, Libyan officials had stipulated that every nation was welcome except Israel, said the official, one of the 24 members of the committee who made the decision to award S. Africa the finals. [SAPA]
Sunday, 16 May, 2004: Tunisian press Saturday lambasted FIFA chief Joseph Platter for ignoring Tunisia's joint candidature with Libya to host the 2010 world soccer championship. Daily al-Shourouq accused Platter of being a "chameleon" who dealt with Tunisia's application with a lot of incongruity. The Libyan press was also as critical, accusing the international soccer federation of "accepting bribe and exploiting the people's love of soccer turning the event into a business deal." South Africa has won FIFA's vote for hosting the international event in 2010. [UPI]
Sunday, 16 May, 2004: Arabs living in Bulgaria have launched a sign-in in defense of the Bulgarian medics, whom Libya sentenced to death on charges of intentional HIV infection. Ben Amor Fauzi, an entrepreneur from the Danube town of Russe, is the author of a letter to Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi, to which the signatures will be attached. Bulgaria mourns the tragedy of the Libyan children but the arrest of the five Bulgarian medics is a grave mistake, the letter reads. The Arabs in Bulgaria, knowing well the Bulgarian people, believe that the six convicts - five Bulgarians and a Palestinian doctor - have wrongly been found guilty. [Novinite]
Sunday, 16 May, 2004: Sofia dismissed the possibility for exchanging Libya's debt for the release of the five Bulgarian nurses, whom a Benghazi Court sentenced to death. Asked whether the two countries have held talks for concluding such a deal, Minister Velchev said he has never attended such negotiations. Libya's debt is far below $US 270 million, Minister Velchev specified, commenting on media reports. Bulgaria will not pay a ransom for the freedom of the Bulgarian medics in Libya as they are innocent, Velchev told the Bulgarian News Agency. [Novinite]
Sunday, 16 May, 2004: Youth on Saturday burnt a model of a gallow with an inscription "Libyan Court" in a protest in downtown Sofia against death sentences a Libyan court has handed to five Bulgarian nurses on charges of infecting children with the AIDS virus. The European Left Youth Initiative said the demonstration was the beginning of a campaign to collect 100,000 signatures under a petition to free the Bulgarians and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death. Tens of thousands of medics across the countrry on Saturday joined silent vigils in solidarity with their convicted colleagues in Libya. [BNN]

Saturday, 15 May, 2004: Bulgaria's soft diplomacy in Libya came under heavy criticism in an interview of famous British journalist Adel Darwish for the BBC. According to him, Libyan leader Qadhafi understands only the language of power, while the Bulgarian government has been too cautious in dealing with the trial against the Bulgarians. Darwish has been covering int'l affairs for over thirty years for the Independent and the Telegraph. In the opinion of Darwish, intervention of the U.S. could only bring Qaddafi to his senses. Darwish recalled that the Qaddafi has overhauled his policy only after the launch of the operation against Saddam Hussein. [Novinite]
Saturday, 15 May, 2004: German and Libyan officials began a "decisive" round of talks on Friday on compensation for the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco by Libyan agents, a lawyer close to the negotiations said. Lawyer Andreas Schulz said German lawyers and foreign ministry officials resumed negotiations on Friday with officials of al-Qadhafi Charity Foundation. A German court ruled in 2001 that the Libyan secret service was behind the 1986 bombing at the West Berlin "La Belle" disco, in which a Turkish woman and two U.S. soldiers were killed. [BGNES]
Saturday, 15 May, 2004: FIFA has denied the joint bid of Tunisia and Libya to host the World Cup in 2010. The two countries both petitioned FIFA, the soccer world governing body, to co- host the event. After FIFA informed the countries that there would be no co-hosting, Tunisia withdrew its bid. Libya was expected to follow in its neighbor's footsteps shortly. The favorite to host the event is S. Africa. Morocco and Egypt are also vying for the privilege of holding the tournament. FIFA will make a decision on which country garners the bid on Saturday. [Sports Network]
Saturday, 15 May, 2004: France's foreign minister urged Libya to release five Bulgarians it has sentenced to death on charges of deliberately infecting hundreds of children with HIV. "French authorities will intervene before Libya on bilateral basis and within the EU so that the procedure of appealing the verdict leads to a quick release of your compatriots and the Palestinian doctor," The AFP quoted Barnier as saying in a letter to his Bulgarian colleague Passy. [BNN]
Saturday, 15 May, 2004: The death verdicts of Bulgarian medics will be repealed by the Tripoli Appeal Court, according to Prof Vittorio Colizzi. The AIDS expert, who witnessed at the HIV-trial with a medical report prepared together with Prof Montagnier, told bTV that the death sentences are "unbelievable." He reiterated that evidence at the trial is in no way adequate for proving the HIV-infection charges against the Bulgarian and Palestinian medics. Meanwhile, Bulgaria's Finance Minister refuted the suitability of some recent suggestions that Bulgaria could negotiate for a deal claiming the Bulgarians back in return of writing-off Libya's debt. [Novinite]
Saturday, 15 May, 2004: The legal representative of the Muslim religion in Bulgaria Selim Mehmed sent a letter to the chief mufti of Libya and to the World Islamic Conference asking for support for the Bulgarian medics. In the mosque of Plovdiv Mehmed served a prayer for justice, at which local Muslims gatherd means for translation of the letter into Arabic and English. It will be sent to the spiritual leaders of the Muslim countries, of whom Mehmed is a close friend. "We're grieving for the Libyan children who died of AIDS, we're certain that someone's to blame for their suffering, but these are not the Bulgarian medical workers", the letter reads. [FIA]
Saturday, 15 May, 2004: The Al-Jazeera website has launched a poll on whether Libya's verdicts on Bulgarians should be mitigated. It says: "Do you approve of mitigating death sentences of the Bulgarians who infected Libyan children with HIV?" Some 300,000 have posted their opinions. More than 85 percent said the nurses deserved a milder penalty. [Novinite]
Saturday, 15 May, 2004: NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer pledged support for Bulgaria's efforts to free five nurses Libya has sentenced to death on charges of intentionally infecting hundreds of children with the HIV virus. "Every international personality ... will do one's best for the closure of this dramatic case," the daily 24 Chasa quoted Scheffer as saying late Thursday after arrival for a two-day visit in Sofia. Scheffer said NATO would do what is possible for the favorable outcome of the trial although it could not intervene directly. [BNN]

Friday, 14 May, 2004: Following on its renunciation of unconventional weapons, Libya announced Thursday that it would stop all military trade with countries that spread such weapons, including N. Korea, Syria and Iran. At the U.S. State Department, John R. Bolton, the under secretary of state for arms control, welcomed the declaration, particularly Libya's halt of its decades-old trade in missiles with N. Korea. Mr. Bolton called Libya's action "an important step forward and an indicator of Libya's seriousness in abandoning WMDs." [The New York Times]
Friday, 14 May, 2004: The European Union is using behind-the-scenes diplomacy to help resolve a problem with five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya on charges of injecting the AIDS virus to hundreds of children, an official said Thursday. "We are in very close contacts with the government in regard of the trial in Libya," said Dimitris Kourkoulas, head of the European Delegation in Bulgaria. Last Friday a court in the Libyan coastal city of Benghazi sentenced to death five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor on charges of intentionally injecting blood contaminated with the HIV virus to 426 children at a local hospital. [BNN]
Friday, 14 May, 2004: African leaders will meet Saturday to discuss terrorism and the continent's crises at a summit of the regional bloc formed by Qadhafi. More than a dozen leaders are to attend the one-day meeting in Mali of the 18-nation Group of Sahel and Sahara States. U.S. forces have been training local troops in Mauritania and Mali in recent months -- with plans to extend the program to Niger and Chad. But Libya's foreign minister Abdelrahman Shalgam said the region should find its own solutions to instability. Foreign forces only "complicate" matters, he said. The bloc, known as Censad includes Burkina Faso, CAR, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gambia, Libya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. [AP]

Thursday, 13 May, 2004: A senior Irish lawmaker said Wednesday the fate of five Bulgarian nurses whom Libya has sentenced to death would be a touchstone for the EU's further relations with the Arab country. "EU is seriously concerned of what is going on in Libya now and it will have a very serious impact on the relations between the EU and Libya," said Michael Woods, head of the parliament foreign relations committee during a visit to Bulgaria. [BNN]
Thursday, 13 May, 2004: Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov on Wednesday invited Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to visit Bulgaria in an apparent move to save five Bulgarian nurses Libya has sentenced to death on charges of injecting the AIDS virus to hundreds of children. A statement by Parvanov's office said he was ready to travel to Tripoli to meet Qadhafi too. There was no immediate response from Qadhafi. Parvanov proposed no date for the visit. [BNN]
Thursday, 13 May, 2004: Bulgaria on Wednesday urged the EU ministers of health to pressure Libya revise death sentences it has handed to five Bulgarian nurses on charges of injecting a virus that causes AIDS to hundreds of children. "Bulgaria doesn't accept the charges and the death penalties pronounced against the five Bulgarian nurses," said a declaration, which Bulgarian Deputy Health Minister Petko Salchev handed to Irish health minister Michael Martin. Ireland, which is holding the rotating EU presidency is hosting a meeting of EU health ministers. [BNN]
Thursday, 13 May, 2004: The CEO of Expomed, the major Bulgarian job broker mediating for job placement of doctors and nurses in Libya, is set to leave for the Arab country. Hristo Dimov will join the special delegation of diplomats and social experts due to arrive in Tripoli to assist the Embassy in solving the cases of sanctioned Bulgarian medics. The experts will inspect the contracts of more than 3,000 Bulgarian medics currently working in Libya. [Novinite]
Thursday, 13 May, 2004: A Malta Labour Party delegation is in Libya to improve relations and cooperation with the Libyan Revolutionary Committee. Deputy leader Michael Falzon, secretary general Jason Micallef and MP Noel Farrugia left Malta yesterday morning. The MLP delegation and the Revolutionary Committee are expected to discuss issues of mutual interest to improve relations and cooperation between them. In November last year, the Revolutionary Committee came to Malta to have meetings with the MLP. [The Independent]
Thursday, 13 May, 2004: The International Council of Nurses appealed Tuesday to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain to intervene on behalf of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who have been condemned to death in Libya, the New York Times reported. Last year a court in Benghazi dismissed the case, in which the six medics were accused of deliberately infecting 426 Libyan children with HIV at a hospital, on the basis of insufficient evidence, the report said. But the case was reopened after the prosecution resubmitted charges, and the six were convicted and sentenced Thursday. In a letter faxed to Mr. Blair's office, the head of the nurses' council, Christine Hancock, appealed to Mr. Blair to "bring his influence to bear" on Libya's leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, to seek the medics' release. [BGNES]

Wednesday, 12 May, 2004: Bulgaria considers the possible return of all of its citizens from Libya but at present that is not necessary. That was announced by Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy upon his return from Croatia. More than 5,000 Bulgarians are working in Libya at present but just 2,000 of them are registered at the Bulgarian embassy. Minister Passy explained that the European Union is closely looking at the situation in Libya and the Bulgarian medics trial. Also today Parliamentary Speaker Ognyan Gerdzhikov said that he sees no tendency in the recent Libyan attitude towards Bulgarian medics, though it could be a "defense effort". [Novinite]
Wednesday, 12 May, 2004: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he plans to contact the Libyan government about the death sentences for five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor convicted of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the AIDS virus. "I am going to talk to them about the situation of the nurses and the people in this situation and to see what can be done to help them," he told AP. Western governments and human rights groups have denounced Thursday's verdicts and sentences, saying they were based on false confessions obtained through torture and designed to draw attention away from unsanitary practices at Libyan hospitals. [AP]
Wednesday, 12 May, 2004: Six Bulgarian medics have been banned to leave Libya under orders of local authorities. Prof. Chervenyakov, a renowned surgeon and father of Bulgarian former justice minister, has been called as a witness in a malpractice trial. No charges have been brought against him. He has been working in Libya for 10 years and is considered to be close to Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Another three Bulgarian doctors and a nurse from the team of the professor have also been banned to leave Libya. All the medics work at the hospital in the Libyan town of Tarhuna, some 70 km south-east from capital. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 12 May, 2004: With the Prime Minister having recently indicated by his visit that Libya is back in good standing with the international community, a small UK firm is leading the way to restoring trade with that country. A shipment of kitchen fittings valued at 200,000 has been delivered to Libya, with the help of the sales leads service of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the government organisation that provides support services for UK companies trading overseas. The company responded to a UKTI sales lead notice, issued on behalf of a Korean company, to source kitchen equipment and canteen furniture. [Small Business]
Wednesday, 12 May, 2004: Russia hopes that the life of Bulgarian medics sentenced to death by the Libyan court will be preserved. Official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko said this answering to the question from the Bulgarian National Radio concerning the death sentence passed in Libya for the Bulgarian doctors. On May 6 the Benghazi court passed a death sentence for five Bulgarian doctors working on contract in the local children's hospital. They are charged with being guilty for infecting 393 Libyan children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). [RIA Novosty]
Tuesday, 11 May, 2004: Hundreds of people have demonstrated in the Libyan city of Benghazi (photo) protesting at American criticism of death sentences for six foreign medics. Some carried pictures of Iraqi prisoners being abused by US soldiers and accused the US of double standards. The five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death on Thursday. They were charged with deliberately infecting 400 children with the HIV virus to try to find an Aids cure. The U.S. government called the sentences unacceptable, saying the rights of the accused had been violated many times. [BBC]
Tuesday, 11 May, 2004: Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov may travel to Libya in a bid to persuade its leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi release Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death on charges of infecting hundreds of children with the AIDS virus. A date was not immediately set for Parvanov's visit but preparations for it were underway, his foreign policy aide Georgi Dimitrov told the Sofia daily 24 Chasa. Parvanov would not immediately comment on the issue. [BNN]
Tuesday, 11 May, 2004: Bulgarian Professor Petar Chervenyakov has been arrested in Libya, media reported on Monday. He is the father of leftist MP and former justice minister Mladen Chervenyakov. Officials also reported about Bulgarian doctor Anton Botev being indicted for malpractice. Botev's trial was instituted by relatives of one of his patients. The elderly woman was clinically dead upon admission, April 26. She had twelve broken ribs and suffered pericardial and pulmonary haemorrhages. She died despite doctor's efforts to revive her. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 11 May, 2004: Libya remains optimistic of winning the right to host the 2010 World Cup, even though Fifa ranked the North African country last among the five candidate nations. Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi, the son of the Libyan leader and the bid's front man, has declared that his country is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. "We have the most competitive bid among all nations," Saadi said in a statement. He issued the statement after being forced to cancel a planned news conference in Monaco for health reasons. Aides said Saadi is recovering in an Italian hospital after an operation on his appendix. On Saturday, Fifa will choose the World Cup host for 2010 - the first time that Africa is to host football's premier event. [BBC]
Tuesday, 11 May, 2004: Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi, the soccer-playing son of the Libyan leader, underwent an appendectomy in a Rome clinic and was in good condition Monday, his Italian team Perugia said. The operation Sunday evening in a Rome clinic went well, said a Perugia spokesman. But it forced Qadhafi to skip an event in Monaco connected to Libya's bid for the 2010 World Cup. The 30-year-old Qadhafi went to Rome's Quisisana clinic Sunday afternoon after feeling ill and was operated on a few hours later. It was not clear when he would be released. [AP]

Monday, 10 May, 2004: Libya seeks for scapegoats to cast off the burden of blame for the nationwide AIDS infection. According to Prof Vitorio Colizzi, who testified on Libya's AIDS trial, the Jamahiriya makes use of the Bulgarians to temper down internal problems, mainly in the restive area of Benghazi. In a BBC interview, the AIDS expert said that the Bulgarians have become part of a big game, bigger than themselves, adding that now the time has come for politicians to play that game, as the legal aspects are of minor significance. [Novinite]
Monday, 10 May, 2004: The Bulgarian President urged that the soft diplomacy efforts for resolving the case of five Bulgarian convicts in Libya persevere. Asked whether the Bulgarian diplomacy is not lagging behind the Bulgarian society in its reactions to the death sentences Libya passed Thursday, President Parvanov said the public stance is part of the necessary efforts for a favourable outcome in the HIV trial against the Bulgarian medics. The President reiterated his calls for broadening the international support for fair verdicts. He cautioned however against Bulgarian officials sending "too strong messages" on the issue. [Novinite]
Monday, 10 May, 2004: Bulgaria is set not to take stance on Libya's "emotional bio-terrorism" allegations related to the AIDS trial, Foreign Minister Solomon Passi stated. In a special declaration read Saturday by Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Hassouna al-Shawesh, the HIV-infection among 400 Libyan children was referred to as "a weapon of mass destruction." Bulgaria's Justice Minister Anton Stankov pointed out that Libya's accusation of bio-terrorism against Bulgaria means that Libyan court disregards the reports of world-renown AIDS experts, such as the professors Montagnier and Colizzi. Libya's indignant voice came after the US urged the Arab state to release the five Bulgarians and one Palestinian doctor. [Novinite]

Sunday, 9 May, 2004: Libya has hit back at US condemnation of death sentences pronounced by a Libyan court on five Bulgarians and a Palestinian for the spread of AIDS in a children's hospital. "The U.S. has no right to speak of human rights," government spokesman Hassuna al-Shawesh told a press conference. Referring to the abuse of prisoners in a US-run jail in Iraq, he said: "Before voicing an opinion on the Benghazi verdict, the U.S. would have done better to apologise for Abu Ghraib". State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said hours after the sentences were passed: "We find the verdict that was pronounced in the court to be unacceptable". [AFP]
Sunday, 9 May, 2004: Libya's Central Bank Governor Ahmed Menesi told Reuters that two big public banks could be privatised in a year and investment offers from some European and Arab banks were being evaluated. Menesi also said Libya was considering pegging Libya's currency to a currency basket that would give the euro, the currency of its main European trading partners, a heavier weighting. He said the Libyan dinar was now pegged to the SDR, the IMF's special drawing rights that are also based on a currency basket. The dinar is officially worth around 1.3 to the dollar, after a multi-tier exchange rate system was scrapped last year. [LiquidAfrica]
Sunday, 9 May, 2004: The EU had hoped the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, would order the case of the Bulgarian medics dropped in order to further his country's links with the west, The Guardian commented on the death sentences Libya delivered on five Bulgarian nurses. The article stressed that the death verdicts for the five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor came have come under sharp criticism from international observers. Meanwhile the Libyan foreign minister, Abdelrahman Shalgam, insisted at a Dublin meeting that his government could not overrule the independent judiciary, but added that national law allowed for an automatic appeal. [Novinite]
Sunday, 9 May, 2004: The Secretary General to the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer has sent letters to Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Mussa, expressing shock and resentment to Thursday's court ruling. Walter Schwimmer doubted that the court decision would contribute to the development of relations between Libya and Europe, still hoping for a positive outcome of the AIDS-case saga. [Novinite]

Saturday, 8 May, 2004: The five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya may be accommodated in a house of the Qadhafi Foundation, headed by Qadhafi's son Seif al-Islam. The unofficial information was not confirmed by Bulgarian Ambassador Zdravko Velev, or by Libyan authorities. There is already an order issued for the transfer of the sentenced Bulgarians and the Palestinian doctor to Tripoli, where the appeal procedure will take place. [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: Invitation of the Libyan Olympic Committee (LOC) to all participants still valid. After receiving notice that several Israeli websites are reporting Libya to have cancelled the invitation to certain participants of the upcoming World Chess Championship, FIDE requested a clarification by the (LOC). The LOC informed FIDE that LOC President Eng. Mohammad Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was interviewed on Wednesday May 5. In that interview a journalist asked him about a personal invitation that he sent to Israeli chessplayers. Mohammad al-Qadhafi of course denied that he has sent any personal invitation but he confirmed sending an invitation to FIDE for all the participants of the WCC 2004. Furthermore, the LOC confirmed that the LOC invitation to all WCC 2004 participants, dated 26-4-2004, is still valid. [FIDE]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: The U.S. urged the Government of Libya to take steps to resolve quickly the case of the five Bulgarians, sentenced to death on charges of deliberately infecting with HIV more than 400 Libyan children. "The verdict and death penalty pronounced by the Benghazi Criminal Court ... is wrong and unjust. The U.S. has closely monitored this case since it began, and has been very critical of Libyan violations of the Bulgarian medics' legal and human rights," said a statement of the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, obtained by [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: Confessions from six medics in Libya relating to infecting children with the AIDS virus were extracted by torture, Amnesty International said. The human rights watchdog reacted in shock over the imposition of death sentences for the five Bulgarians and a Palestinian doctor pronounced yesterday. Amnesty called for the Libyan authorities to immediately quash them. Amnesty reminded about Col Qadhafi's appeal for the abolishment of death sentences but scolded the Arab country that "it must begin to turn words into action." [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: The decision of the Libyan court raises questions about Tony Blair's rush to rehabilitate Libyan leader Qadhafi, The Independent wrote a day after five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death on charges of deliberately infecting 400 Libyan children with the AIDS virus. The article calls the trial a litmus test for Libya's progress on human rights and points out that the verdict was deeply embarrassing for the European Union. The EU welcomed Qadhafi to Brussels last week and expressed concern about the case. [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: Five Bulgarian nurses condemned to death by a Libyan court for spreading an HIV epidemic among Libyan children fear they will be murdered in jail as they wait to appeal their verdicts, Bulgarian media reported yesterday. A court in Benghazi sentenced the five women and a Palestinian doctor to death for deliberately infecting 426 children with the virus believed to cause Aids.The nurses said they had been told they would be moved from Benghazi to Tripoli pending their appeal. They expressed fears that they might be murdered by other inmates if moved to one prison in the Libyan capital where they had already served time. [Reuters]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: Bulgarian embassy in Libya has issued a pass-vane to Dr Zdravko Georgiev who was acquitted over HIV infection charges yesterday. The husband of one of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death now has to wait for a permit by the Libyan authorities to leave the country. He stayed his first night at liberty, for five years, in the Bulgarian Consulate as the local Benghazi hotel refused to accommodate him as "a sentenced criminal." [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: Although Fifa would appear not to favour joint-hosting for the 2010 World Cup, Tunisia remains confident it can successfully host the event in tandem with Libya. Fifa President Sepp Blatter said in January that "only one federation supported by its government is going to be capable of organising a World Cup". Despite this, Hamouda Ben Ammar, the president of Tunisia's bid, is in optimistic mood: "There is no official letter from Fifa refusing a joint candidacy," Ben Ammar said in a telephone interview. "The will of Tunisia is to present a joint bid along with Libya. The question is whether this will be accepted". [SAPA/AP]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: The US national security advisor was informed about the latest development of the Libya trial against the six Bulgarians. Condoleezza Rice met with Bulgaria's Foreign Minister after five of the defendants were sentenced to death. US and European top officials have joined Bulgarian statesmen in their protest against the verdicts. [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: Bulgaria will appeal the verdicts against the medics within two months. This was announced by Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, who is currently on a visit to the United States. The Benghazi Criminal Court sentenced on Thursday five Bulgarian nurses in the HIV trial to death by firing squad. The sentence was also passed on a Palestinian doctor. The convicted must pay over 20,5 million Libyan dinars in damages to the relatives of the infected children. Nine Libyans, charged with negligence in the trial, have been acquitted. Zdravko Georgiev, one of the Bulgarian defendants in the HIV trial in Libya, was released from prison. [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: Doctor Zdravko Georgiev, the released Bulgarian defendant in the HIV trial, is currently staying with the Bulgarian Consul after being denied access into a Benghazi hotel. After the Benghazi Criminal Court delivered the verdicts against the Bulgarians in the HIV trial, the Bulgarian diplomats in Libya suggested that the released doctor stay at a hotel while the documents for his return to Bulgaria are arranged. The doctor was sentenced to four years in prison, a sentence, which he has already served. [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: France is shocked by the death verdicts against the Bulgarian medics and the Palestinian doctor. In an official statement the French Foreign Ministry pointed out that the outcome of the AIDS case undermines the observance of human rights and sends an alarm to all European countries. France stressed that death verdicts does not co-sound with the initiated process of warming between the EU and Libya. The statement is hopeful that the upcoming appeal proceedings will be quickly over and see a positive outcome. [Novinite]
Saturday, 8 May, 2004: More than 150 Bulgarians have gathered in front of the Libyan embassy in Sofia to express their protest against the death verdicts of five Bulgarian nurses. We are here to show to Libya our indignation at the unfair outcome of the Bulgarian medics' drama, protestors told reporters adding that Libya should treat our citizens as Bulgaria treats Libyans on its territory - with respect to their human dignity. [Novinite]

Friday, 7 May, 2004: The death sentences of the Bulgarian medics in Libya will not be carried out, Bulgarian Parliamentary Speaker Ognyan Gerdzhikov told private bTV channel. He said that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi would use his power to suspend the sentences and deliver lighter verdicts. A Libyan court sentenced to death six Bulgarian health workers and a Palestinian doctor convicted of spreading AIDS in a children's hospital. The court at Benghazi, in northern Libya, said the seven foreigners would be executed by a firing squad. Nine Libyan doctors who were accused of negligence in the case were pronounced not guilty by the court. [Novinite]
Friday, 7 May, 2004: "We don't need Libya's mercy," Bulgarian Justice Minister Anton Stankov said at a special press conference in Sofia. Stankov commented on the possible suspension of the death sentences from Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Six Bulgarians were sentenced to death by the Benghazi Criminal Court yesterday. Stankov also said that he is shocked by verdicts, explaining that they might have been triggered by the fact that the court didn't take into account that the Bulgarians were tortured to make confessions. [Novinite]
Friday, 7 May, 2004: European Commission President Prodi on the Libya - HIV case: "The Commission is ... deeply disappointed by the court's ruling. While it had expressed its solidarity with the Libyan families and in continues to do so, it also reiterates its total opposition to the death penalty. The Commission remains in contact with the Libyan authorities and will urge them to reconsider the case to reach a satisfactory situation at soonest". [EU Commission]
Friday, 7 May, 2004: I will personally execute some of the Bulgarian officials responsible for the death sentences, Dr. Emil Uzunov, husband of one of the Six Bulgarians sentenced to death by the Benghazi Criminal Court yesterday - Valya Chervenyashka, said. He named Justice Minister Anton Stankov, former foreign minister Nadezhda Mihaylova and ex-President Peter Stoyanov as some of the people responsible for the death sentences against the six medics. I want justice, he said. A cousin of Valya called the medics "hostages of Libya's political games". [Novinite]
Friday, 7 May, 2004: Zdravko Georgiev, one of the Bulgarian defendants in the HIV trial in Libya, has been released from prison. He has not been sentenced to death but to four years in prison, a sentence, which he has already served during the investigation and the hearings of the court. This was announced by Bulgarian Ambassador to Libya Zdravko Velev, who has immediately left for the prison to attend the release of the Bulgarian. The ambassador added that Bulgaria is ready to fly the doctor to his homeland as soon as possible. [Novinite]

IHT: Don't Welcome Qadhafi

Thursday, 6 May, 2004: Official from the US State Department will observe Thursday's hearing of Bulgarians' case in Libya. A Libyan court has pledged to pass verdicts on the six medics May 6. The Bulgarians were detained more than five years ago. They are accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV whilst working at a Benghazi hospital. Dozens of international observers are in Libya to monitor the trial. [Novinite]
Thursday, 6 May, 2004: The United States and United Kingdom have agreed "in principle" to allow Libya to keep at least some of its medium-range Scud B missiles, a Department of State official told Arms Control Today [April 21]. However, Libya must modify the missiles to conform with range and payload limitations it agreed to in December 2003, and the United States is "not sure" the plan is feasible, the official added. Along with its December pledge to eliminate its nuclear and chemical weapons programs, Libya agreed to eliminate ballistic missiles that do not conform to guidelines set by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). [ACT]
Thursday, 6 May, 2004: Libya will hold an auction by the middle of the year to draw foreign investment into eight oil and natural gas projects, according to a senior official, the first opportunity for American oil companies to do new business in Libya since President George W. Bush eased sanctions a week and a half ago. Speaking by phone from an industry conference in Houston, Tarek Hassan-Beck, director of planning at the National Oil Company of Libya, said on Tuesday that he was leading a government group that is completing the terms of an open auction for eight projects across the country and off the coast. [The New York Times]
Thursday, 6 May, 2004: American Finance Corp. announced that it has reached a definitive agreement with the Lyamec Group in placing finance support and new cooperative efforts between the two firms. American Finance is now offering opportunities to qualifying individuals and or businesses in accessing more than $US 300 million in financially marketed products and services, such to include project financing, and product purchasing into the Libyan market. [PRN]
Thursday, 6 May, 2004: Libya will create favourable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to invest in Libya, particularly in building power plants, irrigation and transportation projects, and is ready to open its market to Viet Nam's rice and goods, said Assistant Secretary of the Libyan General People's Committee (GPC) Dr. Al-Baghdadi al-Mahnoudi when receiving Vu Mao, head of the Vietnamese National Committee for Foreign Relations, in Tripoli on Monday. [VNA]

Wednesday, 5 May, 2004: Some European leaders seem unduly eager to welcome Libya's bloodstained dictator, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo), into respectable international company. They ought to restrain themselves. Colonel Qadhafi's police state is a prime example of the kind of autocratic, erratic and incompetent government that has led most of the Arab world into a dead end of economic and political stagnation. Last week, Colonel Qadhafi met with the European Commission in Brussels. He made it clear that his views on violence and politics have not fundamentally changed. Colonel Qaddafi remains true to the bloody creed he has professed throughout his career. European leaders should be as steadfast in scorning this enemy of democracy and human dignity. [IHT]
Wednesday, 5 May, 2004: Canadian Talisman Energy Inc., no stranger to tackling risky oil plays, is poised to jump into Libya as the country works to shed its image as a pariah state. The Calgary-based senior producer is close to striking an exploration deal in Libya, giving it access to valuable oil reserves in North Africa, Talisman chief executive officer James Buckee said. Talisman has been monitoring improved relations between Libya and the West, notably the easing of U.S. sanctions against Libya, Mr. Buckee said. "We're trying to get signatures on a number of exploration blocks ... It could be potentially a new exploration area." [The Globe and Mail]
Wednesday, 5 May, 2004: On the sidelines of the Fertiliser Technology, Production, Maintenance and Use Conference recently held by the Arab Fertiliser Association (AFA) in Tripoli, Libya, Dr Mustafa Al Sayed, AFA Chairman, held talks with Abdullah Al Badri, board Chairman of National Oil Corporation, and Mohamed Busita, Secretary-General of the Trade Union Conference for Oil. During the meetings, discussions focused on strengthening means of pan-Arab co-operation in the fertiliser industry, uses, vital and strategic areas and the role of this industry in food supply and achieving Arab and international food security. [Bahrain Tribune]
Tuesday, 4 May, 2004: A Libyan and a Jordanian sentenced to death last month for the assassination of a US diplomat have launched appeals. Their lawyer has argued that Jordan's state security court which handed down the verdicts did not have the jurisdiction to try the case. Libyan Salem bin Sweid (photo) and Jordanian Yasser Freihat were among eight defendants sentenced to death on April 6 in connection with the death of Lawrence Foley of the US aid agency USAID. [AFP]
Tuesday, 4 May, 2004: Libya - Annual Report 2004: "The regime is trying to improve its international reputation but the press freedom situation remains grim. Libya was elected president of the UN Human Rights Commission on 20 January 2003 and Reporters Without Borders (RWB) activists protested at what they considered the absurdity of such a presidency by throwing leaflets in the conference hall as the Libyan chair, Najat Al-Hajjaji, was making her inaugural speech ... Several member-states, including Libya, formally complained and in July the press freedom organisation was banned for a year from attending meetings of the Commission". [RWB]
Tuesday, 4 May, 2004: Four Italian generals were acquitted of hindering an inquiry into a mysterious 1980 plane crash near Sicily which killed 81 people, and in which Libyan and US fighter planes were rumoured to have been implicated. The then air force chief of staff, General Lamberto Bartolucci, and his colleagues Franco Ferri, Corrado Melillo and Zeno Tascio, had been accused of giving false evidence and hiding evidence into the civilian plane crash off the island of Ustica. The cause of the Ustica crash has never been elucidated. One often repeated theory is that US and French fighter jets were chasing one or two Libyan aeroplanes in the area and were following the path of the passenger jet to avoid being detected by radar. [AFP]
Tuesday, 4 May, 2004: Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi, son of the Libyan leader Qadhafi, has made his debut in the Italian league, coming on as a substitute for Perugia in their 1-0 win over Juventus. Al-Saadi, 30, joined Perugia in the close season but had to wait until three games from the end of the season to finally take to the field after fitness problems and a ban after testing positive in a drugs test. The Libyan tested positive for norandrosterone -- a metabolite of nandrolone -- in October and was handed a three month ban by Italian soccer authorities. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 4 May, 2004: Channel 4 takes aim at South Africa's black leader Nelson Mandela in warts-and-all controversial documentary Mandela: Beneath The Halo. To be screened on May 10, it's compiled 10 years after Mandela came to power and criticises his poor record in tackling HIV, crime levels, poverty and unemployment. He's also criticised for selling arms to war-torn Rwanda and the DRC. The ex-president is also accused of not cracking down on government corruption while in power and criticised for praising dictators such as Libya's Colonel Qadhafi. [TeleText]
Tuesday, 4 May, 2004: British Prime Minister Tony Blair described a visit to Libya last month as "constructive and very useful" in a letter to Libyan leader Qadhafi. Blair also vowed in his letter "to keep up contacts with Tripoli" for the sake of improving bilateral relations," the official Libyan News Agency, Jana, said Monday. "Blair also expressed happiness over the improvement of British-Libyan relations and his full backing to Libya's voluntary bid to cancel all programs for developing WMDs, describing the move as a courageous and historic one," Jana said. [UPI]

Monday, 3 May, 2004: Libya authorities announced the arrest Sunday of 52 Egyptians for trying to illegally immigrate to Europe. The Libyan Public Security Ministry said in a statement the immigrants were found on the shores of Tobruq, about 750 miles east of Tripoli. The statement said the "infiltrators were found in a terrible state," adding they told Libyan officials nine Egyptian gunmen had transported them at gunpoint onboard a fishing boat from the Alexandria, Egypt, to the shores of Tobruq. From there, they were to have been taken to Europe. [UPI]
Monday, 3 May, 2004: An Arizonan who was a victim of the April 1986 bombing of the La Belle Discotheque in Berlin hopes to visit with members of the state's congressional delegation this week. He's seeking support in an effort to get compensation from Libya for himself and other survivors of the blast. Jeremy Hall, 38, of Munds Park, who was an Army sergeant at the time, was among 260 people, including 80 American servicemen and -women, injured at the popular troop hangout in the western part of then-divided Berlin. Three people died. Survivors and the families of those killed at the disco have sued the Libyan government for damages. They want the U.S. to exert the same pressure on the Libyan government that led it to accept responsibility for the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Scotland that killed 270 people. [Arizona Republic]

Sunday, 2 May, 2004: The United States plans to meet Libyan officials to gauge their commitment to giving up terrorism before deciding whether to take Libya off its list of "state sponsors of terrorism." The senior U.S. official's comment on Friday suggests it may take some time for Libya to escape the list and its sanctions, which include a ban on U.S. arms exports, limits on items with dual military and civilian uses, and prohibitions on U.S. aid. Removing Libya is also critical to relatives of the 270 people who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, who could see their compensation from Tripoli rise if it gets off the list. [Reuters]
Sunday, 2 May, 2004: Belgium's Foreign Minister Louis Michel has pledged to cooperate for a successful and quick end of the Bulgarian medics trial in Libya. That was announced by Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Plamen Panayotov upon his arrival from Brussels. He explained that one of the conditions for Libya's joining to the Barcelona process would be the quick solving of the case against the Bulgarians. The six Bulgarian health professionals were arrested five years ago and are still on trial, alongside nine Libyan doctors. They are accused of deliberately infecting 426 children with the HIV virus, while working in al-Fateh Children's Hospital in Benghazi. [Novinite]
Sunday, 2 May, 2004: Nigeria's team of locally-based players were unable to retain the LG Cup as they lost 1-0 to Senegal in the final in Lagos on Friday. Meanwhile, Libya defeated Jordan 1-0 in the third-place match, played earlier in the day thanks to a 37th minute strike from Salem Rewane. The Libyans picked up US $20,000 for finishing third. [BBC]

Saturday, 1 May, 2004: Libya will stay on the U.S. blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism despite its pledge to get out of the terrorism business and its cooperation with the U.S., because Washington still has concerns about its links with terrorist organizations. Cofer Black, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, said Libya will remain on the list until Washington confirms that it has "no continued association with terrorist groups." [The Washington Times]
Saturday, 1 May, 2004: A Swiss business delegation has begun a four-day visit to Libya in a bid to boost trade relations between the two countries. The visit comes as Tripoli begins to open its market up to foreign businesses following the lifting of economic sanctions. The delegation is led by the head of bilateral economic relations at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), Jorg Reding. Reding is accompanied by other members of Seco, plus delegates from the Swiss-Arabic chamber of commerce and 20 Swiss business representatives. [Swissinfo]
Saturday, 1 May, 2004: Mohsen Kamalian, the chairman of the Center for Studies on Imam Musa Sadr, said Wednesday that Libya intends to divert Iran from the Musa Sadr issue. "Iran is aware of this and should take serious measures in this regard," he added. Kamalian told the Mehr News Agency that some people are trying to make it appear that Sadr was not Iranian, but according to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran should follow up the case of Sadr's disappearance since he was an Iranian citizen. [MNA]
Saturday, 1 May, 2004: Malta was set to embrace membership of the EU with a massive party late Friday ... Malta's Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi believes one of the key benefits of EU membership is that Malta can act as a diplomatic and economic stepping stone to southern Mediterranean rim countries like Tunisia and emerging pariah state, Libya. "There are signs that Libya may soon request to join some of the institutional processes. This presents significant opportunities for Malta, especially when considering its relationship with Libya which has been traditionally good," said Ronald Gallimore, head of the EU delegation in Valletta. [EUBusiness]
Saturday, 1 May, 2004: Reverend Frederick Logah, Former Sales Manager of Sea West Fishing Company on Thursday told the national Reconciliation Commission that Libya facilitated the December 31 1981 Coup [in Ghana] by supplying arms. Reverend Logah who was testifying at a public hearing of the Commission in Accra, said the arms came across the Sahara Desert and were shipped from Cotonou, Benin to Ghana by a Mankoadze Fisheries Company vessel. [GNA]

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