News and Views [ November 2004 ]

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Tuesday, 30 November, 2004: Luxembourg, which is assuming the EU presidency as of next Jan. 1, has pledged to work for the release of five Bulgarian nurses Libya has sentenced to death for allegedly causing an AIDS outbreak, an official said Monday. "Luxembourg promised to pursue an active and consistent EU policy to resolve the question with the Bulgarian medics," Deputy Foreign Minister Gergana Grancharova [said]. She said Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn assured his Bulgarian colleague Solomon Passy that "the Bulgarian medics' case in Libya is no longer just a Bulgarian issue, it's has turned into an European cause." [BNN]
Tuesday, 30 November, 2004: The United Planters' Association of Southern India (UPASI) has requested Union commerce minister to stop an ongoing shipment of tea to Libya if the quality is found to be sub-standard and not of Indian origin. UPASI president has written to Union commerce minister, pointing out that "if reports in the press and investigations of the Tea Board are to be accepted, virtually sub-standard Vietnamese tea, below PFA (Prevention of Food Adulteration Act) standards, has been dispatched to Libya, packaged as pure Indian tea. [The Economic Times]
Tuesday, 30 November, 2004: The Philippines Vice President Noli de Castro said yesterday that the Libyan government has committed to hire more skilled Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The RP-Libya Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) will resume along with the RP-Libya Oil Talks in January. In their one-on-one meeting, De Castro was promptly informed by Libya Secretary of General Services (Labor) Matuq Mohammed Matuq of the needs of Libyan government for additional Filipino doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and para-medical workers who will be employed in five large public hospitals which will be constructed next year. [Manila Bulletin]


Monday, 29 November, 2004: Investigators looking into illicit transfers of nuclear weapons technology have recently uncovered a South African-based scheme to deliver a complete uranium enrichment plant to Libya, The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday. The dimensions of the plot began to emerge in September, when police raided a factory outside Johannesburg. They found the elements of a two-storey steel processing system for the enrichment plant, packed in 11 freight containers for shipment to Libya. South African officials have disclosed only that they discovered nuclear components, the paper said. But The Times has learned that the massive system was designed to operate an array of 1000 centrifuges for enriching uranium. [AFP]
Monday, 29 November, 2004: Malta has assumed the presidency of the Western Mediterranean Forum and will be hosting the 5+5 meeting in 2005. The Western Mediterranean Forum is an informal meeting held yearly between the five EU Western Mediterranean countries and the five countries of the Maghreb. The other countries in the forum are Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania. [The Times Of India]

Sunday, 28 November, 2004: Muslim and Christian religious leaders Saturday called for tolerance between peoples and dialogue of cultures to boost international peace and security. The plea was made during a conference of the World's Islamic Daawa, or call, being held in the Libyan capital Tripoli and involving clerics, scientists, politicians and delegations from Muslim, Christian, regional and international organizations. Senior Muslim cleric Lhabib Belkhoja said Muslims should work to confront challenges to prove Islam is a religion of love and tolerance. [UPI]
Sunday, 28 November, 2004: With the lifting of economic sanctions, business for [Libyans] has improved in recent months and the country has begun opening up to foreign investment. But few people dare to talk openly about the man known simply as "the Leader", 62-year-old Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who has held a tight grip on power since 1969. Libyans in the street are nervous and uncomfortable if asked to comment on political issues. But they are hopeful that Libya is undergoing a change. One elderly man who has a store in the souk or market, says business is looking up. It was very difficult before, he says, but now things are easier. [VOA]
Sunday, 28 November, 2004: Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir is scheduled to visit Libya after the closing session of the two-day Francophone Summit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Saturday, the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported. The report quoted Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismaiel as saying the President's visit, at the invitation of Libyan Leader Qadhafi would discuss Tripoli's efforts towards ending the conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur. [PANA]
Sunday, 28 November, 2004: During his visit in Tripoli this week, French President Chirac has put forward a plea for the five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor, sentenced to death in Libya, AFP reports, citing an announcement made by France embassy in Sofia. "Deeply concerned with the fate of the nurses, President Chirac has summoned Col Qadhafi to solve this so painful question justly and fast.", the announcement says. The announcement was made in a reply to statement in column section of the Bulgarian "Trud" daily, which says that French President Jacques Chirac hasn't mentioned the Lybian AIDS case while on his visit in Libya. [FIA]

Saturday, 27 November, 2004: Libya's "Auschwitz in the sand" once produced tons of deadly chemical weapons. Now, Qadhafi [photo] wants to use the same factory to produce AIDS medicine. He's got one cheerleader: US President Bush ... It's a story that sounds like a Hollywood screenplay: The president of the USA, struggling to establish peace in the world, leads one of the world's most notorious villains back to the path of virtue. In fact, this is not a Hollywood fairy tale. The missionary is US president Bush, and the repentant sinner is Libyan leader Qadhafi. Since Qadhafi abandoned his WMD programs and shipped his blueprints and high-tech equipment to the US, the US president is more convinced of his mission than ever before. [Spiegel Online]
Saturday, 27 November, 2004: Zimbabwe is set to emerge with one of lowest standards of living in the world next year, according to the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). In an index released last week known as the Quality of Life Index 2005, Zimbabwe is ranked last among 111 countries surveyed. The countries were judged according to their gross domestic product, health delivery systems, unemployment rate and political stability. Ireland has the highest quality of life with a gleaming score of 833 ... Libya is ranked at 70 with 5,849 points. [The Independent]
Saturday, 27 November, 2004: During a fleeting trip of less than 24 hours, French President Jacques Chirac met Libyan leader Qadhafi three times and pressed business leaders to do the "maximum" to rejuvenate the Libyan economy. Qadhafi said their talks had consolidated an alliance between two countries who wanted to distance Africa and Europe from the problems of the Middle East and America. "We are trying to distance Africa and Europe from the problems of the Middle East and the problems of the American continent," Qadhafi said. [Dawn]
Saturday, 27 November, 2004: Developments in Iraq and changes in U.S. policy lifting trade sanctions in Libya will bring "business travel that hasn't been happening in the past," said Curt Dombeck, international trade expert and partner at Bryan Cave LLP in Los Angeles "... Libya offers opportunities in oil and gas as well as technology, telecoms and computers. "A range of business equipment is needed for an economy that is now expected to develop more significantly," said Dombeck. Libya is still subject to anti-terrorism controls, however, and therefore not in the same general category as other developing countries, he cautioned. [Reuters]
Saturday, 27 November, 2004: "Sit near the emergency-stop button in public transport, don't use your mobile phone on the street ... and the skinheads won't get you". That is the general thrust of guidelines for foreign students compiled by the city's prosecutor's office in cooperation with the bosses of a student campus in the [Russian] Moskovsky district. Over the past two years, about a dozen non-Russians have been murdered by skinheads or people believed to be extremists. The victims include citizens of Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Mauritius, Syria, Libya and Vietnam, with half of them being students of local universities. [The St. Petersburg Times]
Saturday, 27 November, 2004: US-led forces has rounded up scores of suspected rebels in Iraq's "triangle of death", as officials said more than 2,000 people were killed in the anti-insurgent operation in Fallujah. Iraqi soldiers combing the remains of Fallujah also found a suspected chemical bomb factory and pamphlets on making toxic substances such as anthrax, a top Iraqi official said. Separately, police in Basra said they had arrested five foreign fighters -- two Saudis, two Tunisians and a Libyan -- who had escaped the fighting in Fallujah. [AFP]

Members Of Congress Letter Regarding Human Rights In Libya

Amnesty International USA Letter Regarding Human Rights In Libya

Friday, 26 November, 2004: French President Jacques Chirac set aside years of acrimony over the bombing of a French passenger jet in the 1980s and on Thursday declared a "new chapter" in relations with Libya. Chirac's two-day visit, which wrapped up Thursday, came amid a rush by Western countries to patch up relations with this oil-rich nation. At a news conference at the end of his visit, Chirac lauded Libya's efforts to rid itself of the image of a rogue state. "All the conditions are in place to open a new chapter" in French-Libyan relations, he said. Tripoli, he said, had "made the necessary gestures to turn the page on a past that left painful memories." Roughly two dozen French business leaders were on hand for the visit. [Star Tribune]
Friday, 26 November, 2004: The Philippines Vice-President Noli de Castro is leaving for Libya on Wednesday to ask its government to open up its employment market for Filipinos. De Castro said with the US trade embargo lifted on Libya, European and US businessmen have taken renewed interest in doing business there, especially in the infrastructure sector. The sector alone is estimated to churn in some $50 billion in receipts for foreign investors, according to the Vice-President. He said he will ask the Libyan government led by its leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, to take in Filipino workers when infrastructure work goes in full swing very soon. [ABS-CBN]
Friday, 26 November, 2004: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez launched a stinging attack on US "imperialism" in Tripoli Wednesday after being awarded the Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi prize for human rights. After former Algerian president and past winner Ahmed ben Bella handed him the prize, Chavez launched an attack on America's "return to imperialism", an idea dear to Qadhafi before he was accepted once more into the international community after he renounced weapons of mass destruction earlier this year. [MEOL]
Friday, 26 November, 2004: A group of Libyan-born Italians who were among thousands expelled from Libya carried out their first emotional visit to Libya in over 30 years. Most were convinced they were never to return to the country where they were born and grew up. But last month Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi allowed former Italian residents back into Libya. Seven Italians born in Libya attended mass at the Church of Saint Francis in Tripoli during their first visit back after more than 30 years. The seven were granted visas to return to the country and spend five days visiting the places were they used to live. [VOA]

Thursday, 25 November, 2004: President Jacques Chirac of France arrived Wednesday in Tripoli in an attempt to formally end years of difficult relations between the two countries and open a new frontier for French business. But the visit was clouded by Qadhafi's remark that it had been a mistake for Paris to send soldiers to Ivory Coast, where tensions rose after nine French peacekeepers were killed on Nov. 6. In response, a French government spokesman said Libya had not expressed any reservations about UN and African resolutions that support France's peacekeeping mission in its former West African colony. [AP]
Thursday, 25 November, 2004: The efforts to build closer relations between the European Union and Libya depend on the fate of the death-sentenced five Bulgarian nurses, according to the European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso. He stressed that the response of the Libyan authorities on this is important for the overall relations with Libya. Speaking at his first official press conference after stepping into office, Barosso said he had approached European leaders to raise the issue in their contacts with Libya. Barroso's statement coincided with the visit of French President Jacques Chirac to Libya. [Novinite]
Thursday, 25 November, 2004: The two dozen French business leaders accompanying French President Jacques Chirac in his visit to Libya include executives from the French oil giant Total, the gas firm Gaz de France, the combat aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation and the defense group Thales. Total Group was among many European oil companies that remained in Libya despite U.S. and UN sanctions imposed on the country in the 1980s. French trade with Libya stands at a yearly $2.5 billion , including an annual $2 billion in Libyan oil exports to France. [AP]

Wednesday, 24 November, 2004: French President Jacques Chirac is to go to Libya on Wednesday, in the first visit by a French leader since 1951. Mr Chirac wants to deepen ties with the oil-rich state and continue the process of normalising relations with Tripoli. The visit also confirms the gradual return of Libyan leader Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to international acceptance. It follows a similar trip earlier in the year by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and then the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder. [BBC]
Wednesday, 24 November, 2004: Libyan leader Qadhafi says his country has been poorly recompensed for pledging to renounce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and this offers little incentive to other countries to follow suit. Qadhafi told French newspaper Le Figaro he was disappointed that the United States, Europe and Japan had not given Libya more security guarantees in return. "If we are not recompensed, other countries will not follow our example and dismantle their programmes," Qadhafi said on Tuesday on the eve of a two-day visit to Libya by French President Chirac. The interview is to be published in Le Figaro on Wednesday. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 24 November, 2004: The trial began on Monday of a man who is charged with being an accomplice to the murder of hairstylist Alfie Rizzo in his saloon in Gzira [Malta]. Ramadan Ghamber Shnishah, 27, from Tripoli [Libya] is charged of being an accomplice in the fatal multiple stabbing of Alfie Rizzo on February 04, 1998. Shnishah's involvement in the stabbing according to the prosecution included being the mandate of the murder, providing the knife used in the stabbing and burgling the victim's property. [Di-Ve]
Tuesday, 23 November, 2004: The UN World Food Program is sending 350 trucks with 6,500 tonnes of food across Libya's deserts to refugee camps in eastern Chad. The almost 200,000 residents of the camps come from Sudan's Darfur conflict. Insecurity, rains, and limited infrastructure have made it difficult to get food to the camps, but the Libyan government has guaranteed safe passage of food and other humanitarian supplies through its territory. [CBC]
Tuesday, 23 November, 2004: Bulgarian journalists announced plans to initiate court proceedings against the Libyan torturers of Bulgarian medics sentenced to death in Libya. The Novinar daily deposited Monday a request for initiation of penal trial against the Libyan men who had allegedly forced out concessions of deliberate AIDS infection of Libyan children from the five nurses. Libyan court sentenced the five nurses to death by firing squad on May 6. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 23 November, 2004: The US ambassador to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Tony Hall, has commended Libya for its decision to allow the passage of American assistance to displaced persons in Sudan. Hall said this in Tripoli Sunday during an audience with Libyan deputy foreign minister Mohammed Tahar Siala. [PANA]
Tuesday, 23 November, 2004: During a press conference by Malta's Parliamentary Committee for Foreign and European Affairs, the Chairman Jason Azzopardi said that an agreement was reached between Malta and Libya to facilitate the visa system between the two countries ... Pressure was also made on the Libyan government to accept back illegal immigrants that would have left from Libyan shores. The Libyan government declared that it is very difficult to control all the country's shore. There are approximately 2 million illegal immigrants in Libya. [Di-Ve]
Tuesday, 23 November, 2004: The Philippine ambassador to Libya, Mali Gubat Marandang, died in his post Nov. 19, barely a year of his assignment, learned Tuesday. Marandang's passing was announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs website without mentioning the cause of his death. He was 53. Ambassador Marandang assumed his post as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Tripoli, Libya on January 29,2004. [ABS-CBN]
Tuesday, 23 November, 2004: Repsol YPF SA is targeting production of 85,000 barrels of oil per day from the NC 186 block in Libya's Murzuq Basin, up from 10,000 in 2004. Repsol YPF's unit Repsol Exploracion Murzuq SA is a partner with a 12.8 pct stake and in charge of exploration operations at the NC 186, NC 187 and NC 190 blocks in the Murzuq basin. Libya's National Oil Company (NOC) owns 60 pct of the project. In a presentation to coincide with an analysts' field trip to the oil and gas group's operations in Libya, Repsol YPF highlighted the high oil quality there and the "efficiency" of the lifting operation, with a cost below 1 $US/bbl. [AFX]

LHRS : The Prolonged Appeal Case Of Prisoners Of Conscience

LHRS : Names Of Prisoners Of Conscience Convicted By Peoples's Court

FIDH & LLHR : Letter To French President Jacques Chirac

Monday, 22 November, 2004: United States Congress approved a measure Saturday lifting a ban on US Export-Import Bank loans to Libya, which may help U.S. companies invest in the oil-rich country. The country is believed to have 36 billion barrels of proven oil reserves with 12 fields holding at least 1 billion barrels each. The measure was approved as part of a $388 billion spending bill. "Direct loans, credits, insurance and guarantees of the Export-Import Bank or its agents may be made available for or in Libya ... if the president determines that to do so is important to the national security interest of the United States," the bill said. [Reuters]
Monday, 22 November, 2004: The ninth session of the Libyan-Indian Joint Commission opened in Tripoli Saturday with government officials and representatives of the private and public sectors in the two countries gracing the talks. Co-operation deputy secretary at the Libyan foreign ministry, Mohamed Tahar Siala, and Indian trade and industry minister Shri Elangovan are leading their respective delegations to the meeting. [Angop]

Sunday, 21 November, 2004: Thousands of Libyans took to the streets Saturday to condemn the U.S. military attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah. The demonstrators gathered in front of the UN building in Tripoli carrying banners that denounced the "aggression on Iraq and the brutal massacres" against the Iraqi people. The protesters distributed a statement calling on the international community and organizations to "stop the bloody massacres against the Iraqis, especially those in Fallujah." The statement said the assaults in Iraq were "forbidden by religion and by international law," and called on "resisting the foreign occupation by all means". [UPI]
Sunday, 21 November, 2004: The Indian minister of commerce and industry, E. V. Elangovan and his accompanying delegation have arrived at Tripoli International Airport on a working visit to Libya. He was received by the under Secretary of the General Peoples Committee for Economy and Trade, and ambassador and members of the Indian embassy in Tripoli. [LJBC]
Sunday, 21 November, 2004: President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, the current president of the African Union [AU] and a member of Cen-Sad presidencial council, paid a working visit to Libya where he met [Libyan leader Qadhafi] over the process of AU and African affairs. [LJBC]
Sunday, 21 November, 2004: The House Standing Committee on Foreign and European Affairs [of Malta] is in Libya on an official visit until tomorrow. The committee, chaired by the Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi and includes Michael Asciak, Evarist Bartolo, Leo Brincat, Mario de Marco, Jose Herrera, Clyde Puli and George Vella is meeting a number of Libyan personalities including Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem. [The Times Of Malta]
Sunday, 21 November, 2004: NASA says it's joining an effort to map the earth in the name of conservation. NASA and World Conservation Union signed an agreement to use NASA's satellite system to monitor global environment change in the hope of preserving the planet. "The mission of NASA is to understand and protect our home planet Earth and also to use its space-based observation to serve humanity," Ghassem Asrar, NASA's deputy associate administrator for Earth science, told reporters. Al-Khufrah Oasis in southeastern Libya [photo] is one of Libya's largest agricultural irrigation projects, and is an easy-to-recognize landmark for astronauts aboard the space station. [MSNBC]
Sunday, 21 November, 2004: China's export to Libya reached US$ 18, 947,000 in September, and the export in January-September [2004] reached US$ 156,833,000. [Xinhua]

Saturday, 20 November, 2004: Reporters Without Borders wrote to French President Jacques Chirac today reminding him of the extremely grave press freedom violations in Libya and asking him to raise them with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi during an official visit to Tripoli on 24 November. "Press freedom is still virtually non-existent in Libya despite the regime's efforts to acquire a new, improved image as regards human rights," the letter said. "Press freedom is an essential condition for political modernization and democratization in Libya. You conditioned your visit on the payment of compensation to the families of the French victims of the UTA bombing and the German victims of the bombing of a bar in Berlin, but Libya's international rehabilitation should also be linked to respect for free expression and human rights." [CategoryNet]
Saturday, 20 November, 2004: The Lockerbie bomber will be allowed to mix with other prisoners when he moves to a new jail by the end of this year. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), who is currently in a solitary unit at Glasgow's notorious Barlinnie prison, will be able to socialise with inmates when he is moved to Greenock prison. The Libyan ľ who is serving life for the murders of the 270 people who lost their lives when a plane was blown up over Lockerbie in 1988 ľ has served three years of a life sentence in near solitary confinement at Barlinnie. Al-Megrahi was recently allowed out of confinement for the first time to play a game of football with fellow inmates. [The Scotsman]
Saturday, 20 November, 2004: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez kicked off a six-country tour Thursday. Chavez will visit Costa Rica, Spain, Libya, Iran, Qatar and Russia. In Libya, the Venezuelan leader will accept Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's award for Human Rights". [Xinhua]

Friday, 19 November, 2004: Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin will head to Libya next month for a two-day visit, it is reported Thursday. According to a Canadian TV report, Martin is planning the trip for mid-December. Martin's office said the trip is aimed at giving Canada's support to the anti-terrorist reforms undertaken by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Canada lifted sanctions against Libya in 1999, and opened an embassy in Tripoli in 2002. [Xinhua]
Friday, 19 November, 2004: Within less than nine months of Libya lifting a two-year ban on shipments of Indian tea, apprehensions are being expressed by sections in the tea trade and by the 111-year-old United Planters' Association of Southern India (UPASI) that the ban could be reimposed. UPASI has gone on record that samples taken from a shipment to Libya of one million kg does not conform to the specifications. Before the ban, Libya used to import between five to six million kg of tea from India, valued at around $10 million. [Economics Times Of India]
Thursday, 18 November, 2004: The extradition hearing of suspected al-Qaeda member Ibrahim Ali Tantoush was postponed yet again in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court today. It was delayed because no presidential permission for his extradition to Libya had been obtained. Because South Africa has no extradition treaty with Libya, permission must be obtained before a person can be sent to that country. S. Africa, where the death penalty is unconstitutional, cannot extradite people to another country if they face being put to death. Tantoush will appear again on May 17 next year. He faces charges in Libya of stealing gold to fund al-Qaeda, but was arrested in Pretoria in February for allegedly being in possession of a fake South African passport. [SAPA]
Thursday, 18 November, 2004: The first group of Italians formerly living in Libya arrived in to Tripoli on Wednesday. The delegation, led by the president of AIRL (association of Italians repatriated from Libya), Giovanna Ortu, consists of association representatives and some reporters. "We are happy, touched, because all the generations that lived in Libya are represented here. They're going back 34 years after, where they were raised as kids, where there parents lived and worked, before being sent back to Italy, to start all over again". The flight taking them was the Libyan Arab Airline one. [AGI]
Thursday, 18 November, 2004: Libya appears to be slowly integrating back into the international community. The Dutch EU presidency has announced that Libya will be asked to attend the Euro-Med meeting as a special guest. The meeting will be held later on this month in The Hague. Malta has been insisting on the need to start integrating Libya into the Barcelona Process for a long time. The Times has learnt that the issue was discussed during recent talks between Prime Minister Gonzi and Libyan Leader Qadhafi. [The Times]
Thursday, 18 November, 2004: Swarms of pink locusts swept through Cairo today, flying high above tall towers and scaring pedestrians who stamped on them or ran for cover. The swarms arrived from neighbouring Libya after devouring the countryside in central and western Africa in past months. But locust experts said the insects were unlikely to wreak havoc in Egypt, where agriculture is a cornerstone of the economy. [The East African Standard]

Wednesday, 17 November, 2004: Bush administration has asked Congress to quickly lift a ban on U.S. Export-Import Bank loans in Libya and said "timing is critical" to help US companies invest in Libya, according to a letter released on Tuesday. "This ban ... is not consistent with the administration's general policy," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said in a Nov. 15 letter to key lawmakers. Critics have accused Bush of rushing to ease economic sanctions on Libya to benefit corporate donors, a charge the White House denies. Libya is still subject to some restrictions and Bush did not drop it from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 17 November, 2004: A German engineer has been arrested in Switzerland on suspicion of being involved in Libya's previous efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Gotthard L., 61, was detained under an international arrest warrant last Saturday. He is believed to have received up to $4 million for his work on developing a uranium-enriching device. He is suspected of being part of a nuclear components network ran by Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan. [BBC]

Tuesday, 16 November, 2004: French President Jacques Chirac is to make a landmark visit to Tripoli on November 24 following trips there by other European leaders, a Libyan official said. Chirac, on a stop-over in Hong Kong last month, said he would travel to Libya "before the end of the year" now that diplomatic relations with Tripoli had been restored. Libya has been returning to international legitimacy since renouncing ambitions to obtain WMDs and reaching agreements with at least three countries, including France, to compensate the victims of past bombings. [AFP]
Tuesday, 16 November, 2004: The US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Monday held the first of several scheduled hearings looking into how Saddam Hussein used the UN Oil for Food Program to thwart sanctions and generate illegal monetary kickbacks. The former Iraqi leader collected roughly $1.7 billion since 1996 by inflating the price of humanitarian contracts and selling oil to neighboring states such as Libya, Syria and Turkey, said Charles Duelfer, advisor to the CIA, who investigated claims that Iraq held WMDs. [AFX]

Monday, 15 November, 2004: Libyan Dinar per: $ US 1.30000 , Euro 1.68649, Pound 2.41267, Japanese Yen 81.26923, Swiss Franc 1.11045, Year High 1.31998, Year Low 1.20550. [Forex]
Monday, 15 November, 2004: How many times did Abu Ammar [Arafat] come close to death and yet death did not open its doors to him? How many times did death come close to Abu Ammar and sat with him on a sofa, then it went away?... Then death finally came, taking him silently... For two and a half years the Arabs could not set Arafat free from his prison. At last, death granted him a visa to get out of his prison and return to his home. [Libya's Al-Jamahiriyah Newspaper]
Monday, 15 November, 2004: African leaders are meeting in Nigeria to discuss the deepening crisis in Ivory Coast. Heads of state from Gabon, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Libya, Nigeria and Senegal are attending the emergency summit. Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is also on the list, but aides have said there is little chance he will be there. [Sky News]

Sunday, 14 November, 2004: Indonesia plans to buy eight warplanes from Libya, the chairman of Indonesia's second biggest Muslim organization Muhammaddiyah said. Syafi'i Ma'arif, who had been involved in the negotiations, made the statement after meeting with Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son Saif al-Islam at Yogyakarta province on Friday. Ma'arif said that the planes were still in good condition. "These are good planes and the government can optimize them," he was quoted as saying by the Indonesian daily Kompas on Saturday. [Xinhuanet]
Sunday, 14 November, 2004: Libya pays tribute to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat who passed away Thursday Morning. The Secretariat of the General Peoples Committee declared three-days of mourning, lowering the Green Flag to mid mast, and cancelling all programmes and celeberation manifestations across Libya including Eid al-Fiter celebrations. [JANA]

Saturday, 13 November, 2004: Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Korea's largest builder, said it won a $125.5 million contract to expand a power plant in Libya. Hyundai won the contract from Libya's state-run General Electricity Co. to install two heat-recovery steam generators and a 150-megawatt steam turbine at the Zawia Power Plant, 30 miles west of Tripoli. The builder won the initial $283 million contract for the Zawia plant in July 2003. [Korea Herald]
Saturday, 13 November, 2004: The government of Libya will not support Indonesia's separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in establishing an independent country. Sail al-Islam, Qadhafi's son, made the statement after meeting with Vice President Yusuf Kalla. Saif al-Islam said that GAM members had gone to his country, asking support for separation from Indonesia. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 13 November, 2004: Mauritania's speaker of parliament Rachid Ould Saleh has accused Burkina Faso and Libya of encouraging violence in the Maghreb nation. "By providing the sons of Mauritania the material means to destabilise their own country, Burkina Faso and Libya would like to drag our country into a cycle of violence", Ould Saleh said. Addressing the parliament, Ould Saleh reiterated charges against officials of Ouagadougou and Tripoli who have allegedly been planning "a perfidious aggression against the Mauritanian people". [Angop]

Friday, 12 November, 2004: Deputy chairman of the "Foreign Relations Committee" in the US Congress, Tom Lantos, said yesterday upon his meeting with the Libyan leader Qadhafi in Tripoli that American-Libyan diplomatic relations will be resumed either in May or June 2005, noting that he had inspected several places to choose a site for building a headquarters for the American embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Lantos said that "Libya wishes to build a future on peace and cooperation. And we are happy with the Libyan cooperation to fight terrorism," noting that "Libya has a lot to give in the course of its mission in this regard". [Arabic News]
Friday, 12 November, 2004: Indonesian President Susilo Yudhoyono has met with Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the visiting son and likely successor of Libyan leader Qadhafi, to discuss bilateral relations. Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said they talked about possible cooperation in the oil and gas and military technology sectors. Saif al-Islam also met with Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro. After the meeting, Saif al-Islam said the Libyan government is interested in building oil refineries in Indonesia. [Laksamana]
Friday, 12 November, 2004: The Libyan government has expressed interest in purchasing CN-235 aircraft from PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) to replace old Russian aircraft currently used by its army. Son of Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Seif al-Islam, visited the company's workshop in Bandung on Thursday and made inquiries about the technology used in the CN-235. Sales director Iwan Sumekto, who accompanied Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, said that Libya has been using the Russian Antonov An-26 aircraft for more than 20 years. [The Jakarta Post]
Friday, 12 November, 2004: President of Serbia and Montenegro Svetozar Marovic foresaw "good news soon" for the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. Marovic told journalists ahead of planned visit of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to Belgrade: "we are on the threshold of some decisions that could prove a step forward." Serbia and Montenegro President arrived Thursday on a one-day visit to Sofia. [Novinite]

AI: Further Information On MDE 19/015 And MDE 19/017; Fathi al-Jahmi

"How Much 'Reformed' Is Libya's Dictator?" By: Ashur al-Shamis

Othman al-Barrani's Moon Sighting Page

Thursday, 11 November, 2004: The Libyan Assistant Secretary of the Foreign Ministry has met with Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, England, and his accompanying delegation currently visiting Libya. The meeting focused on the progress of the developed relations between Libya and Britain, and the ways and means to promote and consolidate them in all fields. [LJBC]
Thursday, 11 November, 2004: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi said Libya was willing to help end a long-running separatist conflict in Indonesia's Aceh province, a move welcomed by both sides. Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, who holds no official position but is seen as a representative of his father, made the offer during a visit to Indonesia in which he hopes to hold talks with President Susilo Yudhoyono. "We are ready to help the government to reduce the problems and to support the people there," Qadhafi said, during a three-day humanitarian trip to Indonesia. [GDN]
Letters: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004

Wednesday, 10 November, 2004: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday on a rare visit during which he is expected to dole out gifts for the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan and meet with Indonesian leaders. Sayef al-Islam, who holds no official position but is seen as a representative of his father, is the first high-profile Libyan visitor to Indonesia since Libya emerged from the diplomatic cold last year. A spokesman of Libya's Jakarta embassy said the younger Qadhafi was due to meet new Indonesian President Susilo Yudhoyono but would also be making donations to Islamic schools to mark the 'Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday. [AFP]
Wednesday, 10 November, 2004: The Libyan Assistant Secretary of the Foreign Ministry met on Monday with US congressman, Tom Lantos who praised the tangible developments in the bilateral co-operation between his country and Libya and the progress achieved in a short period. He also praised the persistent efforts of Libya in contributing to alleviate the suffering of the displaced from Darfur province who are staying in Eastern Chad. He renewed the desire of the USA to co-operate and engage in joint investment with Libya in the African continent. Tom Lantos and his accompanying delegation arrived on Sunday in Tripoli International Airport. [LJBC]

Tuesday, 9 November, 2004: Qadhafi is committed to introducing direct democracy in Libya, his son Saif al-Islam said in an interview. Speaking on BBC World Service radio, the younger Qadhafi said that in the wake of regional government elections three months ago, nation-wide polls -- under the gaze of US and European observers -- would be "the next step" and that they would be held "soon". "The Libyan people want to modernise their economy, they want to reform their system, they want to deepen direct democracy," he said. "We will do this through a collective action." Asked whether his father -- who rules Libya with no formal title -- would contest the presidency, he replied with a laugh: "I think he is going to be the leader, and not president." [AFP]
Tuesday, 9 November, 2004: Egypt has killed swarms of a type of locust that has infested parts of Africa and Cyprus, the official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Monday. An Agriculture Ministry official said some of the swarms of desert locusts, which entered Egypt's northwest coastal area last week from Libya, had been killed without damaging crops, MENA reported. The locusts were easily destroyed because they were not yet fully grown. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 9 November, 2004: The civil committee for saving the Bulgarian medics, sentenced to death in Libya, has proposed Monday the launching of a counter-trial on the case. A new expert approach is necessary for protecting the medics, Dr. Ljuben Angelov said Monday. This approach must include the initiation of a counter-trail in Sofia, to which representatives of the world medical community would be invited. It is possible for the trial to be launched within months. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 9 November, 2004: Egypt again rejected accusations that it was harbouring a secret nuclear programme, saying that its transparency could not be faulted. "The Egyptian nuclear programme is clear, known and announced," presidential spokesman Magued Abdel Fattah said. The accusations stemmed from a report in the French paper Liberation, citing unnamed Western diplomats, that the now dismantled Libyan nuclear programme "had Egyptian links." [AFP]

Monday, 8 November, 2004: Fines for companies that deal with nations listed by the U.S. government as sponsors of terrorism have plunged since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. An Associated Press analysis of federal records shows the average penalty dropped nearly threefold, despite the Bush administration's pledge to battle terror financing. The analysis found that the average penalty for doing business with Iraq, Iran, N. Korea, Sudan or Libya fell from about $50,000 in the five years before the WTC attacks to less than $19,000 afterward. [AP]

Sunday, 7 November, 2004: Trucks were on Saturday to start conveying a 6,500-tonne US shipment of food and medical supplies from Libya to Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region. A US ship docked in the Libyan port of Benghazi on Friday, the first to do so since the two countries restored diplomatic relations in June and the US lifted economic sanctions on Tripoli. The aid supplies are intended to feed some 200,000 refugees in the western Sudanese region. [AFP]

Saturday, 6 November, 2004: In an interview with AFP, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said that ... in order to prevent ordinary Libyans from suffering too much, the government plans to double the national minimum wage from 150 dinars ($116) a month to 300 dinars, as well as lower taxes and abolish interest rates. Ghanem said the higher wages would also apply to foreign companies operating in Libya. After "a revaluation of salaries, which will allow Libyan citizens to earn as much as citizens of other oil-producing countries," the state was to lift two billion dollars of subsidies on petrol, he said. A liter of petrol currently costs 0.11 dinars (about $0.085). [MEOL]
Saturday, 6 November, 2004: Offshore drilling contractor Abbot Group said it has acquired ten oil rigs in Libya for US$50 million via the acquisition of Gibraltar-registered Int'l Air Drilling Co (IADC). "We are delighted to have concluded this deal as it places our operating companies in the strongest possible position to benefit from the relaxation of sanctions and the gearing up of the Libyan market," said Abbot chairman Alasdair Locke. Abbot said the ten rigs will complement the five that Abbot's subsidiary KCA DEUTAG already owns and operates in Libya. [AFX]
Saturday, 6 November, 2004: The new EU Commission will keep its active work for the solving of the case of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. EU External Relations Commissioner designate Benita Ferrero-Waldner talked to Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy and pledged that she would get personally involved in the case. The two top diplomats also discussed the opportunities for cooperation between the European Commission and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). [SNA]
Saturday, 6 November, 2004: Libyan leader Qadhafi received in Tripoli Thursday a message from Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika related to the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), which groups Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, as well as other regional and international issues of mutual interest. Algeria's foreign minister Abdelaziz Bel-Khadem handed the message to Qadhafi after his arrival in the Libyan capital. According to observers in Tripoli, Colonel Qadhafi, the current chairperson of the UMA, is attempting to give a new lease to the Maghreb region by bridging the gap between Rabat and Algiers. [Angop]

The home of "Libyan Relief Fund" :

Friday, 5 November, 2004: Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Passy asked for speeding up of the trial against the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. Bulgaria expects the Libyan Court of Appeals to announce its decision on the appeal against the death sentence of the five nurses as soon as possible, Passy told the head of the Qadhafi Foundation. Minister Passy and Saleh Abdelsalam Saleh met at the Bulgarian Mission to the EU in Brussels on Thursday. [Novinite]
Friday, 5 November, 2004: Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki late Wednesday left for a two-day official visit in Libya, where he will also hold talks with his counterpart Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, an official statement said. The two leaders will discuss "bilateral and regional" issues, according to a brief statement issued by the Eritrean information ministry. Isaias Afeworki, whose nation is at loggerheads its neighbours, Sudan and Ethiopia, rarely makes international visits. [AFP]

Thursday, 4 November, 2004: For about six months Libyan leader Qadhafi has made three statements urging for the abolishment of death penalty in Libya, but it has so far been only words, Bulgarian Justice Minister Anton Stankov said. According to Haviland, Qadhafi's appeal had lack sincerity and was in no case showing mercy for the Bulgarian nurses. Haviland, who heads a charity fund for the Bulgarian medics sentenced to death in Libya, suggested that the statement of Libyan leader was simply "a smart manipulation of media and public opinion in Libya". [Novinite]
Thursday, 4 November, 2004: The Lyamec Group solidified its position with the re-election of George W. Bush. In a prepared statement, interim CEO R. Raymond said: "We are well served by the outcome of another term for George Bush." He went on to add, "In our view, the outcome provides the solid platform needed to support the U.S. and the Int'l community in Libya's economic potential." "We are well aware that the U.S. policy, and that of this administration, is to clearly open effective channels for communicating significant issues relating to foreign investment support to Libya's public and private sector with high regards to the cultural background." [PRN]
Thursday, 4 November, 2004: Libya is "the central exploration and production buzz for 2005" among international oil companies looking for access to potentially giant oil and gas fields, said energy analyst Catherine Hunter in a report drafted for the World Markets Research Centre, part of the London-based Global Insight group. "With new acreage on offer and accessible after the lifting of US sanctions, Tripoli airport is teeming with oil and gas executives as the long-awaited vision of Libyan oil and gas investment begins to take shape," Hunter reported. [OGJ]
Wednesday, 3 November, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has called again for the death penalty to be banned in Libya but has stressed the decision should not result from pressure from abroad. Such a decision "is linked to progress ... It is one of the fruits of a civilised mind", he said in a speech to a gathering of judges, lawyers, law university teachers and students on Monday night. The end of the death penalty would spare the lives of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death last May after being found guilty of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the deadly HIV virus. The European Union and the United States have joined Bulgaria in denouncing the sentences as unacceptable. Libya, which has forged closer ties with the West in the past year, had promised a quick solution to the issue. [Reuters]

2005 Tibra Awards

Tuesday, 2 November, 2004: Libya intends to abolish some five billion dollars worth of subsidies on electricity, fuel and basic food items in a major move to liberalize its economy, Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem (photo) said. The move, which Ghanem said would come "soon," is part of an effort to get the north African state back on its feet following more than two decades of isolation and int'l sanctions, imposed because its leader Qadhafi was accused of sponsoring terrorism. In an interview with AFP, Ghanem said the measures -- which in addition to electricity and fuel would include food items such as cooking oil, flour, rice, sugar and tea -- were necessary to "strengthen and liberalize the economy." [AFP]
Tuesday, 2 November, 2004: With "excellent" relations now prevailing ■■with the US, Libya on Monday requested the postponement, for an indefinite ■time, of action in the General Assembly on a decade-long draft resolution that ■■would call on all states "not to recognize or apply unilateral ■■extraterritorial coercive economic measures" imposed by any State in violation ■■of int'l law.■ The Assembly was scheduled to consider the issue Monday.■■ Libya has sponsored the draft yearly after the US imposed unilateral■ ■sanctions on the Qadhafi regime for its involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.■ A Libyan diplomat told KUNA his delegation had to request the postponement because there are no speakers willing to participate in the debate ■and Tripoli still has to clarify points with the US, describing the relations ■with Washington as "excellent".■ [KUNA]
Tuesday, 2 November, 2004: The head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency said Monday he was seeking more cooperation from Iran, Libya and N. Korea. Mohamed ElBaradei, executive director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the goal was to build confidence by suspending activities related to uranium enrichment and reprocessing-related activities. In his annual report to the UN, ElBaradei said he urged Iran to pursue a policy of "maximum transparency." He said recent work in Iran and Libya, marked by "disturbing lessons," found indications of an "extensive illicit market" for the supply of nuclear items. [UPI]
Tuesday, 2 November, 2004: Ghana and Libya are to sign a Protocol on Agricultural Trade on November 20, in Tripoli as a follow- up of decisions the 8th Session of the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation of the two countries reached in Accra in October. [GNA]
Tuesday, 2 November, 2004: Sidi Moro Sanneh, Gambia's secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, has maintained that there has not been any change in The Gambia-Libya relations despite widespread rumours of sour relations. In his first press interview following his appointment on October 14, SoS Sanneh said: "Our relations with Libya have not changed. There is nothing extraordinary in our relations." However, he admitted that the Gambia's mission no longer operates in Libya but could not comment on reasons for the closure. [Daily Observer]

Monday, 1 November, 2004: The five Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in Tripoli are in good condition, Bulgarian Ambassador to Libya Zdravko Velev said after visiting them on Sunday. The women sentenced to death over charges of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV face hearing of their appeal to the Tripoli Supreme Court expected to happen within months. Velev calmed down the families of the nurses who failed to call them on Sunday due to technical problems. He said they asked him instead to deliver their message through media. [Novinite]
Monday, 1 November, 2004: Hardware vendor Acer has appointed Amatech as a distributor in the fast-emerging Libyan market. Amatech, which is headquartered in Malta, will roll out a Libyan service centre for Acer by the year-end. Amatech is rolling out Acer's Point reseller programme nationwide to resellers in several cities including Benghazi, Sebha and Misurata after a successful pilot scheme in Tripoli, the country's capital. [ITP]
Monday, 1 November, 2004: Not a stray human sound escapes the old Somali Embassy in a discreet and elegant neighborhood in northern Rome. But creak open the iron gate, and another world emerges. It is, more precisely, a place where worlds converge: the rich and the poor; the order of Europe and the chaos outside it. For a bed, two men share a spot on the hood of a green Fiat hatchback in the compound. One of them is Barre Muhammad Abdi, just 21: He fled the warlords and bullet-chipped palaces of Mogadishu last year, crossed the Sahara and then paid $800 to sail from Libya in a boat of refugees north to Italy. "I came to Italy because I thought I would find a better life," he said. "I didn't find this good life." [The New York Times]
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