News and Views [ October 2004 ]

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Sunday, 31 October, 2004: The U.S. lauded this week's extradition from Libya to Algeria of one of north Africa's most wanted Islamic militant leaders who is wanted in multiple states for various attacks and kidnappings. "We welcome the news that Algeria now have custody of the wanted terrorist, Abderrezak El Para," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters. "His capture and return to Algeria to face justice demonstrates the commitment of several countries in the region to work together to fight terrorists," he said, adding that Washington was "pleased that a number of countries, including Libya, cooperated in this matter." [AFP]
Sunday, 31 October, 2004: Libya has donated 25m/- towards the development of the Islamic University which was established by the Islamic Development Institute of Tanzania. The donation was presented on Wednesday evening to President Benjamin Mkapa by the Director of the World Islamic Call Society, Matouk Al-Zubidi, on behalf of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [IPP]
Sunday, 31 October, 2004: President Abdulaziz Boutfleka of Algeria left Metiga Int'l Airport on Friday, following a visit to Libya. President Butflika was seen off at the Airport by Gen. Mustafa al-Khroubi and Gen. Khwuildy al-Hamedi, as well as the ambassador of Algeria. [JANA]
Sunday, 31 October, 2004: Libya has decided to lift its ban on the import of Indian tea. The ban lasted five years, as Libya considered the Indian tea as substandard and of poor quality. [NAJ]

Saturday, 30 October, 2004: Libya's decision to junk its WMD program confirms that sanctions, not pre-emptive war in Iraq as George Bush claims, worked. Diplomatic pressures punctuated by stiff commercial and military sanctions convinced Qadhafi to take stock of Libya's international isolation and brought him to the negotiating table. Europeans are astonished and more than a bit amused at the Bush administration's claim that Libya's renunciation of its nuclear arms program was fear of an Iraq-style invasion. The widespread belief in Europe is that Libya was never in a position to build any serious nuclear program because it lacked the know-how, scientists and facilities to proceed. "Libya played a very skillful hand of poker with the U.S. and the West," affirms Dina Nascetti, foreign correspondent for Italy's leading newsweekly L'Espresso. [PNS]
Saturday, 30 October, 2004: Imam Moussa Sadr's cultural and research institute said on Thursday that hard evidences proved that Imam Sadr had not left Libya and he was kidnapped in Tripoli on August 31, 1978. Issuing a communique, Imam Sadr cultural and research institute responded to the news over re-opening of Imam Sadr's file in Italy. The Rome prosecutor general has reopened Imam Moussa Sadr disappearance file with the assumption that Imam Moussa Sadr had arrived in Rome from Tripoli. "The Lebanese Shia groups documenting on numerous evidences have reached the conclusion that the leader of Lebanese Shia Muslim community Imam Moussa Sadr had been kidnapped in Tripoli in 1987," the communique said. [IRIB]
Saturday, 30 October, 2004: Chairman of the Azerbaijan Milli Majlis Murtuz Alasgarov met with Charge D'Affaires of Libya in Azerbaijan Muhammad al-Jledi Jabir. Alasgarov expressed satisfaction, that despite all the problems, Libya had supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Jabir shared Mr. Alasgarov's opinion stressing the importance of organization of reciprocal visits of the two countries' delegations for development of the relations. [Azertag]

Friday, 29 October, 2004: A last-minute endorsement of President Bush by a hastily formed coalition of Arab-Americans was coordinated in part by a registered lobbyist for the Libyan regime of Col. QadhafiŚa government formally branded by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. Randa Fahmy Hudome, who just this month signed a $1.4 million contract to represent the Libyan government, served as a behind-the-scenes "media consultant" helping to prepare this week's press release praising Bush's record in promoting "human rights, democracy and self-determination" in the Middle East, a chief organizer of the group said. [Newsweek]
Friday, 29 October, 2004: Libya has extradited a wanted Islamic militant linked to last year's kidnapping of 32 European tourists to his native Algeria. Algeria's interior ministry said Libya transferred Amar Saifi Wednesday. He is believed to be a top leader of the al Qaeda linked Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which has battled the Algerian government to establish an Islamic state. He also accused of organizing the kidnapping of 32 mainly German tourists in the Algerian Sahara in 2003. One of the tourists died during the ordeal and German authorities reportedly paid more than $6 million to secure the hostages' release. [VOA]
Friday, 29 October, 2004: Labour MP Leo Brincat asked the foreign minister whether a Maltese diplomat not recognised by the Libyan authorities would be recalled. The minister, Michael Frendo, said the diplomat would return to Malta next month. [The Times of Malta]

Thursday, 28 October, 2004: ConocoPhillips CEO John Mulva said Wednesday that the company, along with its partners in the Oasis Group, was making progress in negotiations for its return to Libya. "I think we're making good progress; hopefully, it's something we can conclude over the next few months," Mulva said during a conference call with analysts following the release of third-quarter earnings. ConocoPhillips and its partners in Oasis, Amerada and Marathon, have been trying to return to their Waha oil concessions, which U.S. sanctions forced them to leave in 1986. Oil executives are generally confident about Libya and its hydrocarbon production possibilities but the country has been historically known as a tough negotiator. [Dow Jones]
Thursday, 28 October, 2004: Nineteen Pakistanis deported by Libya arrived at the Islamabad airport on Wednesday, immigration authorities said. They said the Pakistanis were arrested and put behind bars by the Libyan security forces while they were trying to cross the border to enter Italy. The Pakistan embassy in Tripoli arranged their emergency passports and later handed them over to the PIA authorities. At the Islamabad airport, the deportees were taken into custody by the immigration authorities, who recorded their statements and later allowed them to go. [Dawn]

Wednesday, 27 October, 2004: Iraqi defense minister Hazem al-Shaalan accused Libya of interfering in the affairs of his country by providing material aid to "Iraqi sides" positioned in Syria. Shaalan added in an interview with the Iraqi paper al-Zaman that "Libya has its own bases in the region and has started to interfere in the Iraqi affairs with a financial aid given to Iraqi sides in Syria". He added, replying to a question on the statements of the Iraqi foreign minister which confirmed that his accusations are based on non-precise information, that the foreign ministry is not a security side and that the Iraqi foreign minister has his own conditions when he made his statements concerning Libya's intervention in the Iraqi affairs." Shalan concluded by saying "I do hope that the brothers in Libya have received the message and they are now in a position to maintain good relations with the world and we hope this message to be clear." [Arabic News]
Wednesday, 27 October, 2004: Energy Intelligence Research announced today the release of Libya Oil & Gas: Back In Business, a new special report on the current state and future prospects of the Libyan economy and its petroleum sector. After years of living on the fringes of the int'l oil market, Libya is poised for a surge in foreign investment in oil and gas development -- and the competition will be fierce. With the recent removal of international sanctions, this energy-rich country -- estimates put Libya's oil reserve base at around 36 billion bbl and natural gas reserves at 46.4 Tcf -- has been re-established as a hotspot for energy investment. [Business Wire]

Tuesday, 26 October, 2004: Libya is sending a four-man delegation to form part of the international monitoring team (IMT) that checks on the prevailing ceasefire agreement between government troops and the 12,500-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). "Yes, we are sending a four-man team to join the IMT that has already arrived, Libyan Ambassador Salem Adam told The STAR in a telephone interview yesterday. Malaysia, which leads the IMT, earlier sent in a 50-man team while Brunei also pitched in with 10 troops. [PhilStar]
Tuesday, 26 October, 2004: Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy on Monday urged Libya to finally rule on an appeal by five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, who are on the death row for allegedly infecting more than 400 children with the HIV virus. "Six years in prison without a final verdict is really too much," Passy said in an interview for the private bTV channel. A court in Benghazi on May 6 sentenced the medics to a firing squad after convicting them of deliberately injecting blood contaminated with the HIV virus to 426 children at a local hospital. [BNN]
Tuesday, 26 October, 2004: Fifteen companies from different states are eying the two oilfields in Libya that have been granted to Bulgarian concessionaires. According to Deputy Economy Minister Parvanov, Bulgaria could sell the concession rights, or share them with a new investor. The country has failed to allot the funds necessary to start oil drilling. The sum amounts to $US 350-400 Million. An ideal investor would be one that agrees to be a second exploitation stage investor and one that would agree on sharing the concession rights, Parvanov said. [Novinite]

Monday, 25 October, 2004: The Lamborghini-driving footballer son of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the Libyan leader, is preparing to spend a fortune on turning himself into a Hollywood mogul. Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo) has set up a company with 60 million pounds to buy his way into the film business in Los Angeles where he wants to make musicals, action films and romantic comedies similar to Notting Hill. Last week executives representing Qadhafi met Hollywood studio chiefs to discuss investing in several potential blockbusters, including the forthcoming Tom Cruise science fiction epic The War of the Worlds. Further talks are planned. Saadi, 31, had been rebuffed by Harvey Weinstein, the New York film producer, who said after meeting him at the Venice film festival last month that they could make a deal when Libya officially recognised Israel. [The Sunday Times]
Monday, 25 October, 2004: Former director of the CIA, George Tenet has commended the cooperation of Pakistan and Libya with the U.S. in respect of the war on terrorism. Tenet said, President Musharraf "came to our side" after 9/11, and allowed for important al-Qaida captures. He said Libya initiated contact with the CIA and committed to dismantling its WMD programme - "the first time any such programme was self-dismantled without a shot being fired". [GeoTv]
Monday, 25 October, 2004: Reporters from The Associated Press visited mosques around the world Friday to take the pulse of the faithful at a time of upheaval in Islam. They found believers who, for all their cultural and geographical diversity, share an anger over Iraq and the Palestinians and a feeling that their religion is under threat from the West. "Muslims are getting united now," said Mamdouh Habbal, a 61-year-lawyer attending prayers at Cairo's majestic Al-Azhar mosque. "Unfortunately, they're united in one thing: hatred toward America. Even an old man like me, it has hit me. And I've never known hatred my entire life." ... Mahmoud al-Toumi, a 44-year-old teacher at a mosque in Tripoli, Libya, said: "Despite the weakness and disunity in the Muslim world, every time I watch television and see the call to prayer for fast-breaking from a Muslim city, I get proud of Muslims' strength, and their unity at this great moment." [AP]

Sunday, 24 October, 2004: Libya beat Jordan 1-0 in Tripoli on Friday to win the thirteenth edition of the LG Cup and US$50,000 in prize money. Nader Karra's second-half penalty earned the hosts the title in front of more than 60,000 enthusiastic football fans in the 11 June stadium in Tripoli. Karra slammed home his spot-kick in the 59th minute after Soliman Abdel Sadek had been fouled in the Jordanian area. "The opponent was technically good but we took advantage of our chances," said Libya coach Mohamed El Khemsy. [BBC]
Sunday, 24 October, 2004: Informed sources in the Arab League General Secretariat have denied rumours of disagreements between Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa and the Libyan leadership, against the background of Musa's non-participation in the recent Tripoli summit on Darfur. High-level diplomatic sources at the Arab League downplayed statements made by Libyan Foreign Minister Abd-al-Rahman Shalqam about the Arab League secretary-general in an interview he gave to one of the Gulf papers. [Al-Sharq al-Awsat]

Saturday, 23 October, 2004: For the past 35 years the regime of the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo) has been branded in the west as a 'disgrace to civilisation'. In addition, Libya's dismal human rights record was denounced and Qadhafi's regime was isolated, contained and became subject to international sanctions. In recent months, however, this picture has been completely discarded and European leaders are pouring now into Libya and praising Qadhafi in every possible way. Western leaders have clearly ignored that Qadhafi has made a few concessions, in fact none, to his own people. He is still the undisputed ruler, or 'to be more precise' the owner of the country and its resources. Western leaders claim that they raised issues of human rights with Qadhafi, but, to the dismay of many, no evidence to support this claim has so far surfaced. [Gulf News]
Saturday, 23 October, 2004: Outgoing European Commission President Romano Prodi said Friday the European Union could help five Bulgarian nurses on death row in Libya. Speaking during a visit to the Bulgarian capital, Prodi said the recent improvement in Libya's relations with the European Union made the prospects of finding a solution to the problem more likely. He added the European Commission had raised the matter with the Libyan authorities on several occasions. Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death by firing squad by a Libyan court in May for allegedly infecting more than 400 children with the HIV. [UPI]
Saturday, 23 October, 2004: Hundreds of Nigerians were yesterday deported home by the Libyan government in a chartered aircraft. Although the exact number of deportees is not immediately known, Weekend Vanguard learnt that it runs over a thousand. Some of the deportees advanced varied reasons for their deportation from Libya. While some said they were brought back home because of [Nigerian] President Olusegun Obasanjo's continued assurance of the Libyan government that Nigeria's economy was now comfortable for Nigerians, others quoted the Libyan government as acting under pressure from the European Union. [Vanguard]
Saturday, 23 October, 2004: Italy's ENI aims to expand in Russia and Libya with the help of the Italian government, the daily Finanza & Mercati said. Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi will discuss ENI's drive in Russia during a meeting scheduled Nov 2-3 with Russian President Putin. In Libya, the company could set up joint ventures with the domestic oil company NOC. [AFX]

Friday, 22 October, 2004: Seven Italians are preparing to return to Libya next month, invited by Libyan leader Qadhafi 34 years after they were expelled along with thousands of others from the former North African colony. "I am very glad that the circle is finally closing," Giovanna Ortu, one of seven Italians going back next month, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "It makes me forget all the pain I've gone through in the past years." All of Libya's Italians - about 20,000 people - were deported in 1970, a year after Qadhafi seized power. Earlier this month, a delegation of Italian Jews visited Libya for talks on possible compensation. About 6,000 Libyan Jews were expelled in an anti-Jewish backlash following Israel's victory in the 1967 war. [AP]
Friday, 22 October, 2004: A Lebanese judge wants to bring in Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi for questioning early next year on his alleged role in the disappearance of a Shi'ite Muslim leader 26 years ago, judicial sources said on Thursday. Libya says Sadr left the country safely. An initial case against Libya was closed in 1986 for lack of evidence. But Lebanon's public prosecutor said in August he would reopen the investigation after considering new evidence. The sources said an investigative judge set March 16 as a date for the start of the probe and issued summonses to Qadhafi and 17 others for questioning. The summons will be delivered through the Lebanese foreign ministry and diplomatic missions abroad, they said. The case took another twist last week after Italian authorities handed Sadr's passport to Lebanon. [REuters]
Friday, 22 October, 2004: Thuraya is to launch its satellite services in Libya. The chief of Libya's General Company for Post, and Telecommunications (GCPT), Mohammed al-Qadhafi [Qadhafi's son] announced earlier this week that the company would distribute public telephones, to be provided by Thuraya, especially in remote areas, and dessert roads. This came during the signing of two agreements in Tripoli between the GCPT and Thuraya. [Al-Bawaba]
Friday, 22 October, 2004: Hosts Libya came from behind to beat Nigeria 2-1 while Jordan easily beat Ecuador 3-0 to reach the final of the LG Cup. Nigeria scored in the first half when skipper Victor Ezeji cashed in on an error by Libya goalkeeper Meftah Ghazalla. Later on in the first half Libya equalised when Soliman Abdel Sadek crossed for Nader Karra to head home. The pair then combined again for Karra to score the winner. [BBC]

Thursday, 21 October, 2004: Corruption is crippling the battle against poverty and robbing oil-rich countries of their development potential, a global graft watchdog warned in an annual report on sleaze. Haiti and Bangladesh were perceived as the world's most corrupt nations in the survey of 146 countries by Transparency International (TI). "Oil-rich Angola, Azerbaijan, Chad, Iran, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen all have extremely low scores," TI's chairman Peter Eigen said, indicating high corruption. [AFP]
Thursday, 21 October, 2004: Twenty seven Gambian "illegal immigrants" en route to Italy were Thursday October 14 deported by Libyan Immigration Authorities. The deportees who arrived at the Leopold Sedar Senghore Airport Thursday evening also included 102 Senegalese. Ousman Tunkara, one of the deportees said some of them were stranded at Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport unable to tronsport themseves back to The Gambia. [Daily Observer]
Thursday, 21 October, 2004: Libya is hosting an invitational LG Cup, which also involves Nigeria, Jordan and Ecuador. The tournament runs until Friday, Oct 22. Libya's coach, Mohamed el-Khemsy, has called up 16 local players for the tournament. Yet captain Tarek el-Taib has been left out of the squad. "It is good preparation for our World Cup qualifying campaign," El Khemsy said. Libya currently lie second in World Cup qualifying Group Three at the halfway stage, behind the Ivory Coast but ahead of former African champions Cameroon and Egypt. [BBC]
Thursday, 21 October, 2004: The U.S. formally removed Iraq from its list of state sponsors of terror Wednesday, the State Department said. The list of state sponsors of terror was created in 1979 and imposes a variety of sanctions on nations, including a ban on arms sales, prohibitions on economic assistance, and various financial and legal restrictions when dealing with the U.S. Libya, Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan remain on the list. [Kyodo]
Wednesday, 20 October, 2004: Twenty-seven years after his disappearance in Libya, Imam Mousa Sadr is making a comeback to haunt relations between Beirut and Tripoli. Two passports believed to belong to Sadr and his aide Yaqub were handed to the Lebanese authorities by the Italian government yesterday. The documents show that Sadr and Yaqub entered Rome and had their passports stamped days after their disappearance. Lebanese sources yesterday described the reappearance of the passports as "a suspicious development". Italy claims that the passports were discovered recently when a number of illegal immigrants were arrested with a stock of stolen travel documents. "The entire episode is strange," a Lebanese source said. "Just days after Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi visited Qadhafi, we get the missing passports". [Arab News]
Wednesday, 20 October, 2004: King Abdullah II left Jordan Tuesday heading for ■Libya on a several-hour visit during which the King will meet with Libyan ■■President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi.■ King Abdullah is accompanied by Prime Minister, Faisal Fayez, King's ■special advisor, Yousef Dalabeeh, and Minister of the Royal Court, Samir ■Rifai. [KUNA]
Wednesday, 20 October, 2004: The case with the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya must be resolved in the context of the overall change in relations with Libya, US former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said in Vienna. Albright made that statement during a news conference on Tuesday on the sidelines of the annual Europa Forum organized by Bank Austria Creditanstalt. Five Bulgarians and a Palestinian were found guilty over charges of deliberate infection of more than 400 Libyan children with HIV and face death by firing squad. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 20 October, 2004: Sudan has lashed out at Darfur rebels for suggesting an African summit on the Darfur conflict in Libya was biased in Sudan's favour and denied it was convened to pre-empt a UN Security Council meeting on the troubled region. "Anybody concerned about resolving the situation in Darfur would welcome the summit and its results," Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail told reporters late Monday. In a joint statement after Sundayĺs meeting, the leaders of Chad, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan itself stressed their "rejection of all foreign intervention in this purely African question". In response, the US defended international pressure as a means to push Sudan into ending the crisis, saying African nations should take a leading role but stressed that concerted non-African influence was one key to success. [Daily Times]
Tuesday, 19 October, 2004: Libya should be allowed to convert a former chemical weapons plant into a facility for producing vaccines and medicines, an international arms control body said on Monday. Rogelio Pfirter, director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said Libya has made "rapid progress" in destroying its chemical weapons after it pledged to abandon WMds last December. The North African country, which joined the organisation in February, was cooperating in a "thorough and professional manner", Pfirter told a meeting of the OPCW's executive council in The Hague where the body is based. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 19 October, 2004: Siemens AG's Power Transmission and Distribution unit said in a statement that it has received an order worth about EUR180 million to expand and modernize Libya 's electricity network, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Siemens said that the order is from Libyan state utility General Electric Company of Libya. Under the agreement, Siemens will supply five network control stations, which monitor the flow of electricity making outages and blackouts less likely. The control stations will be operational in 2008. [MENAFN]
Tuesday, 19 October, 2004: Nokia has won a deal, valued at over US$120 million, to supply GSM/EDGE and WCDMA 3G network equipment to the Libyan General Post and Telecommunications Company (GPTC) for a new nationwide mobile network. This is Nokiaĺs first network deal in Libya. Deliveries begin immediately. Under the agreement, Nokia will be the main supplier of the new operatorĺs core network, including packet core, as well as supplier of half of the radio network. Nokiaĺs radio network will serve Tripoli and the western half of the country, providing coverage to over 60% of the new operatorĺs subscriber base. [MenaReport]

Monday, 18 October, 2004: The number of HIV-positive people in Iraq has been on the rise, the Al-Mu'tamar newspaper quoted a medical source as reporting on Saturday. "A total of 257 cases of HIV infection were recorded in Iraq," said the source of the Iraqi Health Ministry, adding that 82 percent of the cases are men, mainly from India, Libya and Yemen. The infection number is expected to increase in Iraq due to an increase in the number of visitors, weakness in health monitoring on the border and the worsening security situation. [Xinhuanet]
Monday, 18 October, 2004: Justice was strictly applied in the trial of Bulgarian medics, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem (photo) said in an interview for Italy's Corriere della Sera, but avoided the question whether the death sentenced against them would be executed. Ghanem pointed out that the trial is a judiciary affair and politics would not interfere in that field. Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were found guilty over charges of deliberate infection of more than 400 Libyan children with HIV and sentenced to death. "There are more than 400 children infected with AIDS, about 40 of them died and others will die. There is somebody guilty of that," Ghanem said. [Novinite]
Monday, 18 October, 2004: President Hosni Mubarak left for Libya on Sunday to ■attend a mini African summit on Darfur.■ The summit involves Presidents of Nigeria, Chad, Sudan and Libya also.■ A source close to the Presidential Palace told Kuna that the summit would ■discuss the developments in Darfur and how to beef ■up the currrent talks between the government and the opposition.■■ He said leaders of the African states would discuss how to maintain ■security, refugees' access to food, finding a comprehensive solution for the ■crisis as well as evading the globalisation of the conflict and saving the ■■Sudan any suffering if sanctions are imposed on it.■ [KUNA]
Monday, 18 October, 2004: A cooperation agreement in the field of electricity was signed recently in Tripoli between Libya and Germany. The agreement was signed for Libya's General Electricity Company. The agreement which amounted LD277 million includes the establishment of a number of control centres for the Libyan electricity distribution network, and consolidating electricity services. According to LJBC site, Libya and Germany also signed bilateral agreements to encourage Libyan investment in Germany and promoting joint investments. [MenaReport]

Sunday, 17 October, 2004: Ten of the 86 Libyan prisoners who began a hunger strike [on Thursday, 7 October 2004] to press for their demands have been admitted to hospitals after their health deteriorated sharply, the Muslim Brotherhood said. All the men, whom Amnesty International (AI) considers to be prisoners of conscience, are believed to be members of the Libyan Islamic Group. "AI is seeking assurances that the men are given full access to medical care in order to ensure that they fully recover from the effects of their hunger strike," AI said in a statement. [Khaleej Times & AI] [Two of the 86 prisoners (both sentenced to death) are : Dr. Abdallah Ezziddin (photos/left) and Dr. Salem Bohanak (right)]. Click here for the AI's Statement
Sunday, 17 October, 2004: President Qadhafi yesterday embarrassed his latest high-profile western visitor, the German chancellor Schroder, by demanding compensation for thousands of landmines left in the Libyan desert during the second world war. During talks in Tripoli, Qadhafi complained that dozens of Libyans were still being injured and killed by the anti-tank mines, which were buried by Erwin Rommel and his retreating army more than 60 years ago. [The Guardian]
Sunday, 17 October, 2004: A third consignment of relief supplies for Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad has been delivered by trucks travelling across the Sahara desert from ports on Libya's Mediterranean coast. The UN refugee agency UNHCR said the eight-truck convoy bringing tents, blankets, sleeping mats, cooking oil and sugar, arrived in Abeche, Chad, earlier this week after a two-week journey from the Libyan capital Tripoli. The aid shipment was sent by the Qadhafi International Foundation, a charity linked to Libyan leader Qadhafi. [UNIRIN]
Sunday, 17 October, 2004: Libya confirmed that the leaders of Sudan, Egypt, Chad and Nigeria would join Qadhafi for a "mini-summit" Sunday on Sudan's Darfur region. A delegation of the smaller of Darfur's two rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement, traveled to Tripoli but will not be allowed to participate in the summit. The larger rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, indicated it would not attend the summit, although it said it had been invited. [AFP]
Sunday, 17 October, 2004: After meeting with the German chancellor, Qadhafi described Schroeder's visit as a a very "important visit." He indicated that relations between Tripoli and the west are improving increasingly. He said he finds an activity in these relations especially with the USA. He stressed that "Libya is always in the position of fighting terrorism." But he criticized the American war against Iraq and said that Washington has to withdraw its forces quickly from Iraq, adding that such a withdrawal will be the best thing for Iraq and the USA. [Arabic News]

AI : Libya; Concerns For Health Of Prisoners Of Conscience

Saturday, 16 October, 2004: Amnesty International is raising its concerns with the Libyan authorities about the health of some 86 men held in Abu Salim Prison, who undertook a hunger strike this month. All the men, whom Amnesty International considers to be prisoners of conscience, are believed to be members of the Libyan Islamic Group, also known as the Muslim Brothers. Amnesty International is seeking assurances that the men are given full access to medical care in order to ensure that they fully recover from the effects of their hunger strike. [AI]
Saturday, 16 October, 2004: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's two-day visit to Libya was crowned on Friday with the inking of big deals in the energy sector, ushering in a brand-new relationship between Libya and Germany and even further reconciliation between Libya and the EU. After attending the inaugural ceremony of an oil exploration project run by Wintershall AG in Jakhira, he told reports that he was impressed by Libya's efforts to integrate itself into the international community. Schroeder voiced his belief that Libya's energy potentials would offer enormous opportunities to German enterprises. Sources revealed that the deals on oil, gas, telecommunications, infrastructure and tourism were valued at about $US 650 million. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 16 October, 2004: A prominent Muslim activist from Falls Church, USA, was sentenced Friday to the maximum 23 years in prison for illegal business dealings with Libya. Abdurahman Alamoudi pleaded guilty in July to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from high-ranking Libyan officials while serving as a go-between for them and Saudi Arabian dissidents. Alamoudi also admitted participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Abdullah. And though he was not charged in connection with that, prosecutors cited the plot as reason for him to receive the maximum sentence. Defense lawyer Stanley Cohen asked for leniency and Alamoudi said he was sorry. [AP]
Saturday, 16 October, 2004: A mini-African Union summit on the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region that Libya has offered to host will convene on Sunday, an Egyptian presidential source confirmed Friday. Chad and Egypt have been invited for the summit, which will also be attended by Nigerian leader Obasanjo in his capacity as current chairman of the AU. The mini-summit will convene only days before the opening of a new round of AU-sponsored peace negotiations in the Nigerian capital Abuja between the Sudanese government and the SLM and JEM rebel groups. [AFP]

Friday, 15 October, 2004: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder travels to Libya on Thursday to add impetus to the former pariah state's transition to democracy and finalize several major business deals. Schroeder, who is accompanied by a large business delegation on a trip that will include a stop in Algeria, will seek assurances from Libyan leader Mu'ammer al-Qadhafi that he is a genuine part of the international war on terrorism. "It is important to us in these talks that Libya gives a wider commitment to the war on terrorism," a government official said. The official said the visit "marks a new beginning in bilateral relations," born from Qadhafi's recent decision to compensate the victims of a Berlin nightclub bombing 18 years ago. [AFP]

Thursday, 14 October, 2004: The United States is backing Libya's request for a modification to the Chemical Weapons Convention. "The U.S. is very supportive of Libya's request for a technical change to the Chemical Weapons Convention to allow for conversion of the chemical weapons production facility at Rabta," the U.S. State Department said in a statement Wednesday. Libya wants to use some of the equipment and buildings from this facility to make low-cost pharmaceuticals to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The convention would now require Libya to raze these buildings and destroy all equipment. [UPI]
Thursday, 14 October, 2004: Eu foreign ministers decided on Monday to lift the arms embargo imposed on Tripoli nearly 20 years ago, but stressed that defense exports would depend on political developments in Libya. Officials said the EU ministers agreed to launch a phased approach to European defense exports to Libya that would focus on non-lethal systems. "The Council has decided to adopt a policy of engagement with Libya by lifting the arms embargo and by offering prospects of strengthening EU-Libya relations..." an EU statement said. "But this will depend on the solution of outstanding issues." The EU statement cited Libya's human rights violations as well as its failure to abolish the death penalty. EU foreign ministers also expressed concern over the fate of Bulgarian and Palestinian nurses detained in Libya. [MENL]
Thursday, 14 October, 2004: Egyptian authorities are investigating whether 17 suspected al-Qaida members arrested while illegally entering Libya are connected to last week's coordinated bombings at Sinai tourist resorts that killed 34 people, an Egyptian official said Wednesday. Egypt has asked the Libyan government whether the suspected militants were arrested after the Oct. 7 attacks, the official said. Libyaĺs Interior Ministry announced the arrests Sunday, three days after car bombs blew up at the Taba Hilton and two bungalow campgrounds an hour's drive south, killing Egyptians, Israelis, Italians and Russians. The ministry did not elaborate on the arrests or the suspects, except to say they were from the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia. [AP]
Thursday, 14 October, 2004: Libya used a three-dimensional measurement device a Japanese manufacturer exported to a Malaysian firm in 2002 in its nuclear program, investigators said. Public Security Division of the Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the transactions after the IAEA notified the Japanese government, Mainichi Shimbun reported Wednesday. IAEA inspectors found the device, indispensable for nuclear development, at a nuclear facility in Libya. The serial number on the machine is identical to that of the machine that a manufacturer based in Kanagawa Prefecture sold to the Malaysian company. [UPI]

LLHR: Libyan Prisoners Of Opinion And Conscience Stage Hunger strike

Wednesday, 13 October, 2004: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi received a delegation of Italian Jews on Monday for talks on possible compensation of Libyan Jews expelled after the Six Day War, a representative of one of Qadhafi's sons said. It was believed to be the first meeting in Libya on an official level with representatives of the 6,000 Libyan Jews forced to flee in an anti-Jewish backlash following Israel's victory. Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo), who plays professional soccer in Italy, played a key role in the visit, meeting with Jewish representatives last month, according to Nicola Ravarini from a Milan public relations firm representing him. Italian news reports said some Italian Jews of Libyan origin also attended Libya's national day receptions at the country's embassies to Italy and the Vatican. [AP]
Wednesday, 13 October, 2004: US Secretary of State Colin Powell hinted on Tuesday that the US would not immediately lift all the sanctions imposed on Libya by saying that it still has issues with Libya. "We still have issues with Libya. It is still on our list of terrorist states and we have to work our way through these issues," Powell said in an interview with Mouafac Harb of Al-Hurra, a US-sponsored satellite channel broadcasting to the 22 Arab countries in the world. "We will slowly work our way through this with Libya over time,and we are anxious to keep moving in a positive direction to normalize relations, but it will have to be done over time and only after all issues with Libya have been cleared up and resolved," Powell said. Powell's comments followed a foreign ministers' meeting of the EU decided Monday to lift sanctions against Libya. [Xinhuanet]
Wednesday, 13 October, 2004: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi proposed a new plan for general reforms in which he said his country will move away from the Middle East and reduce spending on the military. "Libya has decided to separate from the so-called Middle East," Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi said at the opening session of a Tripoli conference for business leaders from Western countries. Qadhafi said he is proposing a new reform plan that will include major cuts in military expenditure. "There is no need anymore to continue spending on the military field," he said. "Instead, we will direct such spending to development." The conference opened a day after the EU ended 12 years of sanctions against Libya and eased an arms embargo to reward the North African country for giving up efforts to develop WMDs. [AP]
Wednesday, 13 October, 2004: Leading German industrialists will travel to Libya with Chancellor Gerhard Schrder this week, taking advantage of what is seen as a golden opportunity to clinch lucrative contracts in a country desperate for fresh investment and technological skill. Schruder who flies to Tripoli on Thursday on his first official visit to the former pariah state, has invited 21 companies to send representatives with him. The companies include the energy giants RWE and Wintershall; Commerzbank; Hochtief, a major construction group; Lufthansa Technik, the development and technical division of the national airline; and Siemens. [IHT]

Tuesday, 12 October, 2004: The EU ended 12 years of economic sanctions against Libya yesterday and effectively lifted an arms embargo, in response to Tripoli abandoning plans to develop WMDs. The ministers implemented a 2003 UN decision to drop a trade embargo against Libya and downgraded their ban on arms sales to Tripoli imposed in 1986 to technical restraints. The Foreign Office minister, Lady Symons, will travel to Tripoli today, a senior British official said yesterday, "to take forward" Libya's integration into the world community. Friction remains on human rights, most notably a Libyan court's sentencing to death in May of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor for allegedly infecting more than 400 children with HIV. Human rights groups say Libya concocted the story to hide unsafe practices in its hospitals. [The Guardian]
Tuesday, 12 October, 2004: Algerian President Abdel Aziz Boutefliqa is trying to settle a diplomatic row that started with Mauritania accusing Libya of supporting rebels. Algeria's daily al-Khabar Monday quoted official sources saying Boutefliqa is trying to end the dispute that has pitted the two North African Arab countries against one another.Mauritanian Foreign Minister Mohammed Ould Bilal arrived in Algiers Monday on an official visit. Boutefliqa had already received special Libyan envoy Abdel Salam Triki carrying a letter from Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi explaining his country's position regarding Mauritania's accusations. [UPI]

AI: Further Information On UA 266/04; Incommunicado Detention/Health Concern

LLHR: No To Italy And EU Asylum And Refugees Camps

Monday, 11 October, 2004: Libya, long accused by the West of supporting terrorism, said on Sunday it had arrested 17 members of a group linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. "Libya has got its hands on a group whose members are from the Indian subcontinent and central Asia and are suspected of belonging to al-Qaeda," national security minister Nasser al-Mabruk said. He said the nature of the links between the 17 and bin Laden was not yet clear. "The group entered Libya illegally and were arrested as soon as they arrived," the minister said. [AFP]
Monday, 11 October, 2004: With oil prices hitting a record $50 a barrel last weekŚand with continued violence in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and IraqŚLibya is being hailed as an El Dorado for war-weary U.S. oil majors. "Libya is booming," says ChevronTexaco's Julian Singer in North Africa. "It's one of the safest countries in the region right now." President Bush has lifted a raft of sanctions on the former pariah state, paving the way for U.S. companies to negotiate access to Libya's 36 billion barrels of proven reserves of low-sulfur "sweet oil." [Newsweek]
Monday, 11 October, 2004: Libya has to fulfill two requirements to receive a membership in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. According to Austria's Foreign Minister and the future EU Commissioner for foreign relations except for directing all its energies to receiving the membership, Libya has to reach a final decision on the case of the five Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death. The medics were sentenced to death by firing squad in May over charges of deliberately infecting more than 400 children in a Benghazi hospital. [Novinite]
Monday, 11 October, 2004: Libya Sunday awarded its annual Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi human rights prize to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez for resisting "imperialism" and being a champion of the poor.A citation accompanying the award, named after Libya's leader, Qadhafi, was read by a Libyan delegation attending a live television and radio show hosted by Chavez. The Venezuelan leader's opponents accuse him of ruling like a dictator, persecuting political enemies and trying to turn the world's No. 5 oil exporter into a replica of Communist Cuba. [Reuters]
Monday, 11 October, 2004: The Ukranian company Naftogaz said it signed a production sharing agreement with the national Libyan oil company NOC covering four oil and gas areas in Libya. Naftogaz expects production in the four zones to total 1.5 million tonnes in 2007, reaching a maximum of around 5 million tonnes by 2010-2012. [AFX]
Sunday, 10 October, 2004: Norwegian authorities are putting considerable effort into assisting Norwegian industry in gaining a foothold in Libya, despite claims by Amnesty International that Libya is encroaching on human rights. Amnesty is sceptical to Norwegian industry's engagements in Libya, and John Peder Egenaes from Amnesty Norway has said that encroachments on human rights are still happening in the country. [The Norway Post]
Sunday, 10 October, 2004: A powerful Libyan charity organization that mediated for the release of a British hostage Saturday blamed the British government for his slaying in Iraq. The Qadhafi Charity Organization issued a statement saying the beheading of Kenneth Bigley by his captors in Iraq occurred because the British government asked the organization to halt its mediation efforts to secure his release. The charity headed by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam, said the British government's request came 48 hours before the hostage was killed. [UPI]
Sunday, 10 October, 2004: Defending lawers of the five Bulgarian nurses in Libya have lodged two new complaints at the Libyan prosecutors' office. The case is still lingering in the prosecutors' office with no clear highlights when it would be proceeded to the Supreme Court in Tripoli, the lawyers said upon their return from Libya. According to Foreign Minister Passy, the lawyers have left satisfied with the nurses' living conditions at present. [Novinte]
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Saturday, 9 October, 2004: Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan accused Libya Friday of backing insurgencies against the Iraqi government by former followers of Saddam Hussein. In a telephone interview with the Saudi daily al-Hayat, Shaalan said: "Not only Iraq's neighbors are supporting terrorist operations, but there is also a state, which is thousands of kilometers away, which is helping the terrorists." He said the Iraqi government has documents proving Libya is backing the remnants of the ousted Baath regime, including al-Sabawi Ibrahim, Saddam's half-brother, and Mohammed Younes, a former member of the Baath party's military council. "Libya is financing those two men to help them carry out their terrorist operations in Iraq," he said. [UPI]
Saturday, 9 October, 2004: Goals from Nader Karra and Ahmed Osman gave Libya a precious 2-1 victory over Egypt in Friday's Group Three World Cup qualifier in Tripoli. Karra scored the game's opening goal in the 30th minute of the encounter. Controlling a midfield pass from captain Tarek el-Taib (photo) with his chest, Karra beat an offside trap set by the Egyptians before lobbing the ball past onrushing Egypt goalkeeper Nader el-Sayed. After struggling to stamp their presence in the first half, Egypt pulled one back in the 52nd minute, when Amr Zaki took advantage of a goalmouth scramble to hit a close-range shot that gave the Libyan goalkeeper no chance. Libya's Ahmed Osman hit a low drive in the 85th minute that gave victory to the home side. Osman connected with a cross from El-Taib, who was the outstanding player for Libya. Libya's win takes them to the top of Group Three. Libya's next qualifier will be on 25 March 2005, when they meet Egypt in Cairo. [BBC]
Saturday, 9 October, 2004: Italy has lobbied hard for Libya's return from isolation to international partnership - and on Monday the European Union (EU) is expected to lift its arms embargo on Tripoli. Italy has threatened to lift the embargo unilaterally if the EU does not oblige. Italy has become Libya's closest European ally, despite the fact that a number of hangovers from the colonial period (1911-43) continue to mar relations. Italy says it wants to help its former colony to curb the influx of illegal immigrants landing on the tiny island of Lampedusa after transiting through Libya. And despite the bitter colonial legacy, Libya is Italy's main supplier of oil, accounting for about 25% of Italy's oil needs, while Italy is Libya's main trading partner. [BBC]
Saturday, 9 October, 2004: Libya has hinted that it might review the case of five Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death, according to French diplomatic sources quoted by Bulgarian Radio. The AIDS trial development has been in the focus of French-Libyan talks during the official visit of France's top diplomat Michel Barnier. According to the sources, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem has assured his French guest that "the case would be reviewed with the utmost appropriate attention". The medics were sentenced to death in May over charges of deliberately infecting more than 400 children in Benghazi with HIV. [Novinite]

Friday, 8 October, 2004: Libya said Thursday that it had sent 1,000 Egyptian immigrants home after their expulsion from Italy. Italy airlifted illegal immigrants to Libya this week in an effort to deter would-be asylum-seekers, who have been heading to its shores in record numbers from Africa. Interior Minister Nasser al-Mabruk of Libya said of those sent back to Egypt, "The number is 1,000 people and they were returned on Italian flights, and Italy is paying for the cost." The deportations drew criticism from the United Nations. [Herald Tribune]
Friday, 8 October, 2004: Libyan leader Qadhafi has underscored the right of Iraqis to resist foreign occupation but slammed the use of Islam to justify terrorism. The Libyan News Agency, JANA, quoted Qadhafi as telling visitors Thursday that the occupation of Iraq by U.S.-led forces was no longer justified after international recognition that no WMDs existed in the country. He blasted underground groups and organizations "which are exploiting religion in their resistance of Iraq's occupation." "Using such religious names as Mohammed's Army, The Mehdi Army, God's Army and others does not bestow religious legitimacy on those groups," Qadhafi said. [UPI]
Friday, 8 October, 2004: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is visiting Libya for talks on how to tackle illegal mass migration from North Africa. More than 1,500 people have made the journey to the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa in the past week alone. Italy has been criticised for expelling hundreds of migrants to Libya. Mr Berlusconi and Libya's Colonel Qadhafi have also attended the opening of a 540km (335-mile) gas pipeline linking Libya with Sicily. The pipeline, running under the Mediterranean Sea, was built at a cost of $5.6 billion and will carry at least 280bn cubic feet (8bn cubic metres) of natural gas a year to Italian power plants. [BBC]
Friday, 8 October, 2004: Yesterday's enemy is tomorrow's friend. U.S. oilmen are flooding Libya eager to strike deals as national leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi dramatically boosts oil prediction. The city of Tripoli is now booked solid with U.S. oilmen and hotel space is almost impossible to find, industry sources tell Intelligence Watch. Some oilmen are even being put up in ferries in Tripoli harbor. Which U.S. oil services giant corporation looks best placed to reap the bonanza? None other than Halliburton, still licking its wounds over Iraqi service contracts that proved far less lucrative than expected. Halliburton, formerly helmed by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, has quietly held prime position in Tripoli all along. Even in the days of the U.S. embargo on Libya, they maintained their presence there operating through their German subsidiary. [IW]
Thursday, 7 October, 2004: An independent report on Sierra Leone's brutal decade of civil war has recommended that Libya pay reparations for having trained top rebel military commanders, but it also warned the government in Freetown that poverty and corruption were still as rampant now as when the conflict broke out. Following a two-year investigation into atrocities committed during the war, the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission said both Libya and Liberia had played a key role in the West African conflict which saw drugged-up rebels and government soldiers hacking off the limbs of innocent civilians. A summary of its final report, handed to the government on Tuesday, was made available to IRIN. [IRIN]
Thursday, 7 October, 2004: French President Jacques Chirac will visit Libya soon to meet leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said on Wednesday, another sign of warming ties between the West and the North African country. "Relations between Libya and France will be reinforced further ... with the visit of President Jacques Chirac to Libya in the next few months," he said after talks with his Libyan counterpart Abdel-Rahman Shalgam in Tripoli. Barnier said he had a letter from Chirac to Qadhafi, who was once considered a pariah by Europe, and the visit would probably take place this year. Libya agreed in January to pay $170 million in compensation for the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger, removing a major hurdle in bilateral relations. The bombing, blamed on six Libyans, killed 170 people. [Reuters]
Thursday, 7 October, 2004: Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi met Colonel Qadhafi this morning, the Department of the Information (DOI) said on Wednesday. The meeting took place in a traditional Bedouin tent at Misurata. Dr. Gonzi and Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi posed for photographs at the moment of their handshake. The DOI failed to disclose details on the discussions. It is understood that the Prime Minister will give an account of today's meeting in a joint press conference with EU Commission president designate Mr. Barroso. [Di-Vi]
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Wednesday, 6 October, 2004: Libyan Supreme Court may pass a sentence on the five Bulgarian nurses around Christmas. That was announced by solicitor Trayan Markovski Tuesday, during a visit to Libya. The Supreme Court will whether reaffirm death sentence that were passed on the Bulgarians, or rule for a new trial to get started. The nurses were imprisoned for more than five years before a Libyan court pronounced them guilty of deliberately spreading HIV at a hospital. Despite pleading innocent, the Bulgarian women were sentenced to death. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 6 October, 2004: Italy has defended its new policy of airlifting illegal immigrants straight back to Libya the moment they set foot on Italian soil as an "emergency measure". Mr Giuseppe Pisanu, the interior minister, insisted that the Italian immigration law passed earlier this year provided for "instant repatriation". If this discouraged further waves of illegal immigration "then so much the better", Mr Pisanu said. "The desperate people who still think they can sail illegally to Italy must know that they will be sent back where they came from." [The Statesman]
Wednesday, 6 October, 2004: An Egyptian firm has been awarded a $81 million contract to design and build a petroleum pipeline in Libya, Egyptian Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy said. Fahmy said the contract had gone to Egypt's PetroJet Company. The project involves constructing a 750-kilometre pipeline with a diameter of 76.2 centimetres to carry crude oil from al-Feel fields in the south to an export terminal at the Mediterranean Sea, west of Tripoli. [Business Day]
Wednesday, 6 October, 2004: Libya plans to buy 24 new aircraft worth $1.5 billion to renew the fleet of flag carrier Libyan Arab Airlines, the company's chief executive said. Hussein Dabnoun said the airline wants planes from both Airbus and Boeing, including Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s. "The total cost of the planned purchase of these aircraft would be $1.5 billion," he said. Dabnoun was speaking at the sidelines of a ceremony to mark the signing of a code-sharing agreement involving his company. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 5 October, 2004: Iran's Foreign Ministry advisor Javad Mansuri on Monday rejected reports that Libyan leader Qadhafi had paid reparations to Iran in order to resolve the issue of the disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr. "The Iranian government will never accept reparations from Libya to close the Sadr case," Mansuri told the Mehr News Agency. The official stressed that Iran is trying to discover the truth about Sadr's fate and wants to see the culprits punished. Meanwhile, the lawyer of the Sadr family also announced on Monday that neither the Sadr family nor Iran had entered discussions with Qadhafi to make a deal on the Sadr case. [IRNA]
Tuesday, 5 October, 2004: Libya is to host an African mini-summit on Sudan's Darfur crisis later this month, with Chad, Egypt and Nigeria also taking part, Egyptian presidential spokesman Maged Abdelfattah told reporters. "The mini-summit on Darfur will be held under the auspices of Nigeria in its capacity as president of the African Union," he said Monday. Sudan's neighbors Egypt, Chad and Libya would also attend. He said consultations were underway to determine the exact date of the summit, which was to take place in Libya "before October 21". [AFP]
Tuesday, 5 October, 2004: Ghanaian deportees from Libya in 2000, who lost various sums of money through burglary at the Ghana Embassy in Tripoli, have been dared to come out with information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators. Basit Fuseini, former Ambassador to Libya, who made the request through the Ghana News Agency , was reacting to a news item that implicated officials of the Embassy in the robbery, that led to the lost of over $100,000. [GNA]

Monday, 4 October, 2004: France's Foreign Minister Michel Barnier will pay a ■brief visit to Libya's capital, Tripoli, on October 6 as part of an ongoing ■process to fully normalize relations between the two countries, official ■■sources announced.■ That process comes in the wake of the agreement earlier this year to pay ■■appropriate compensation to the victims of a 1989, mid-air bombing of a French ■■"UTA" airliner over Niger, a bombing that killed 170 people and has been ■attributed to Libyan intelligence officers, including Abdallah al-Senousi, the ■■brother-in-law of Libyan leader Qadhafi.■■ Barnier will also be setting the groundwork for a visit to Libya by ■■President Jacques Chirac, who is expected there around the end of November.■■ [KUNA]
Monday, 4 October, 2004: The brother of British hostage Ken Bigley was today praying that pressure from Colonel Qadhafi could end his sibling's Iraq hell. The reformed Libyan leader has pledged to do all he can to help secure the release of the 62-year-old engineer, who has entered his 19th day in captivity, Paul Bigley said. Members of the Qadhafi family have promised to talk to their Middle East contacts after Paul Bigley pleaded with the Libyan leader's London-based son Saif for assistance. "I had a call from the Qadhafi Foundation in Libya, who have pledged to do all they can to help us. They said they would do their very, very best". [The Scotsman]
Monday, 4 October, 2004: The lawyers of the five Bulgarian nurses on death row in Libya headed for Tripoli on Sunday to seek information about the way the case proceeds at the Supreme Court. The hearing of Bulgaria's appeal against the death sentences has not been scheduled yet. Reports say the hearing will take place in December or the beginning of January 2005. Plamen Yalnuzov, Hari Haralampiev and Georgi Gatev will confer with their Libyan colleague in Tripoli and will visit the Bulgarian nurses. [Novinite]
Monday, 4 October, 2004: The European Commissioner on Transport and Energy, Loyola de Palacio, departs tomorrow on a tow-day visit to Libya, Europa Press agency reported. In Tripoli, she would meet representatives of the Libyan authorities, whom she would discuss the possible co-operation between EU and Libya in the field of transport and energy. During her visit, de Palacio would also meet Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [FIA]

Secularism And Democracy; By: Khaled el-Wershefani

Sunday, 3 October, 2004: Skipper Tarek el-Taib (photo) has been recalled to Libya's squad for the World Cup qualifier against Egypt this month. El-Taib, who plays for Gaziantepspor in Turkey, is one of 19 players called up for the 8 October clash in Tripoli. He missed Libya's last match against Benin through suspension. The Libyans recorded a comfortable 4-1 victory in that match. Coach Mohamed El-Khemisy has also called Akram El-Hammaly, who plays for Tunisian club Avenir Sportive Marsa. Two notable absentees are Ahmed Al-Masly, the country's top scorer in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign and Jehad Montaser who has club commitments in Italy. [BBC]
Sunday, 3 October, 2004: Gary Damon of Garner got depressing news: U.S. President Bush lifted most economic sanctions on Libya. Damon and 68 other former soldiers had hoped that the U.S. would not start doing business with Libya until Qadhafi's government compensated them for living through a Libyan-sponsored act of terrorism nearly 20 years ago. Earlier this year, Damon and other survivors of Berlin's La Belle Discotheque bombing had even gone to Washington to ask members of Congress to protect their interests. At the time, Damon was hopeful that the Bush administration had heard the pleas of the La Belle victims. "But it looks like we're just political pawns in an election year," Damon said Friday. "Now with all the leverage gone, it would be up to [the Libyans] to do a good thing. That's not going to happen, I don't think." [News-Observer]
Sunday, 3 October, 2004: Greece has become the latest EU country to seek military cooperation with Libya, the Middle East Newsline reported Saturday. Greek officials have said Athens has sought to build defense and military relations with Tripoli in what could pave the way for arms sales and upgrades for Libya's navy. The officials said Greece has the naval shipyards to conduct a range of modernization projects for the country. The Greek effort was launched during the visit of Libyan Navy commander Vice Adm. Hamdi Shibani Sweili to Athens September 27. [UPI]
Sunday, 3 October, 2004: Minister Michael Frendo welcomed Suliman Sassi al-Shohoumi, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Libyan People's Congress on Saturday for a two-day visit in Malta prior the Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi's visit to Libya on Tuesday. During bilateral talks, Minister Frendo and al-Shohoumi shared their perspectives on illegal immigration from Libya to Malta and on the recent decision of the removal of the embargo on Libya by EU. [Di-Vi]
Sunday, 3 October, 2004: The Italian government announced that about 300 illegal immigrants would be deported from the Italian island of Lampedusa to Libya, AFP reports. About 900 illegal immigrants reaches the coast of the Italian island every week. [FIA]
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Saturday, 2 October, 2004: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will travel to Tripoli for talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi later this month, the government said Friday. Schroeder will visit Libya on 15 October, said the Chancellor's deputy spokesman Thomas Steg. The trip follows the first payout to victims of an apparently Libyan-ordered terrorist bombing in former W. Berlin from a $35 million fund agreed by Libyan foundation closely linked to Qadhafi. [Expatica]

Friday, 1 October, 2004: Pakistani security forces late on Wednesday arrested a suspected Arab member of Al Qaeda, an intelligence source told Daily Times on Thursday. The arrested man identifies himself as Ahmed Abdullah and says that he is from Libya. The source said that it was not clear if the arrested man was telling the truth. Abdullah was arrested after he tried to escape the raid. He jumped from the roof of his house to try to escape but broke both of his legs. The source said the man could not be regarded as a major catch. Intelligence agencies are hunting another Libyan, Abu Faraj, who has emerged as a key leader of Al Qaeda. [Daily Times]
Friday, 1 October, 2004: Lawyers representing victims of a 1986 Berlin nightclub bombing said Thursday that the first part of $35 million compensation had arrived from Libya after a three-week delay. A German court ruled in 2001 that the Libyan secret service was behind the bombing, which killed two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman and wounded more than 200 people. Libya signed a deal on Sept. 3 to compensate 168 non-U.S. victims of the blast. Under the agreement, a charitable foundation of the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was supposed to pay $15 million by Sept. 8, a second $15 million installment by Dec. 1 and a final $5 million by March 1, 2005. [Reuters]
Friday, 1 October, 2004: Libya and Burkina Faso have both denied accusations that they were involved in an alleged plot to stage a coup in Mauritania this week. A foreign ministry official told the BBC that Libya denied these claims - as it has two similar accusations in the past 15 months. Burkina Faso's parliamentary speaker said Mauritania was looking for scapegoats for its internal problems. A Mauritanian spokesman said markings on the seized weapons and equipment clearly showed they were Libyan. Hamoud Ould Abdi said the names of Libyan soldiers and their unit numbers were visible, although there had been an attempt to scratch them out. [BBC]
Friday, 1 October, 2004: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo) called for a transfer of key powers in the UN from the 15-member Security Council to the assembly. "Before we can talk about the lack of democracy in the world, we must first admit that it is lacking in the UN," Shalgam said. He said that if powers were not transferred to the assembly, then the world should either "stop infusing money into this dead body" or enlarge the council's membership to include seats for the African Union, the Association of South-East Asian Nations and Latin America. [BBC]
Friday, 1 October, 2004: A senior commission of experts is to deliver recommendations to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on UN reforms which will be agreed ahead of next General Assembly ministerial meeting. Moves to increase the number of members of the Security Council have been gaining support, with Germany, Brazil, India and Japan seeking permanent seats on the council for themselves and one African nation. France and Britain have backed the move although Italy has expressed its opposition. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam called for a transfer of key powers in the UN from the 15-member Security Council to the assembly. [BBC]
Friday, 1 October, 2004: Amnesty International says EU plans for a joint approach to asylum violate international agreements. EU justice and interior ministers on Thursday look set to throw their weight behind German Interior Minister Otto Schily's concept of asylum centers in Libya, Tunisia and more northern African countries. But non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Germany's Pro-Asyl are up in arms over the idea. [DW]

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