News and Views [ September 2004 ]

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Thursday, 30 September, 2004: Libya on Wednesday offered some colourful ideas for reforming the UN, including moving the General Assembly to Geneva and letting Bill Clinton resolve the world's conflicts and wars. Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, never shy about putting forward visionary proposals, also wants his nation to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalghem said. "The past 59 years have proven that the General Assembly is merely a decorative body without a soul," Shalghem said as Libya took the podium at the annual UN debate of world leaders which concludes this week. [AFP]
Thursday, 30 September, 2004: A Bulgarian official on Wednesday urged Libya to show respect for human rights by releasing five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor it has sentenced to death on charges of infecting hundreds of children with the AIDS virus. The U.S. and the E.U. have removed a series of sanctions against Libya in response to its pledges to scrap its weapons programs and end its international isolation. However the medics' trial still remains an issue. "Libya's integration in the international community must be backed by sound evidence that it respects human rights," Bulgaria's Deputy Foreign Minister Gergana Grancharova said referring to the trial of the medics, who are appealing their sentences. [BNN]

Wednesday, 29 September, 2004: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will go ahead with a visit to Libya next month despite a delay by Tripoli in paying compensation for a 1986 bombing in West Berlin, a government source said. "We are sticking to the schedule of the chancellor's trip because we assume the Libyan side will honour its contractual obligations," the source close to Schroeder told Reuters. A team of German officials travelled to Libya on Sunday to prepare the visit. The one-day trip on Oct. 15 was announced after Libya agreed in August to pay $35 million to more than 160 victims of the bombing of the La Belle night club in Berlin. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 29 September, 2004: Two hundred and ninety eight (298) Ghanaians have been deported from Libya, on board two Libyan Aircraft. The latest batch to arrive at the Kotoka International Airport brings the total number of deportees from that country to 2,373 since August this year. The deportees, who looked weary, unkempt and angry, refused to leave the Airport until they where given some money to cater for their transport to their destinations. Airport security officials managed to calm down tempers until the arrival of officials from Nadmo. [GNA]
Wednesday, 29 September, 2004: Prime Minister Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, together with the Home Minister Tonio Borg, will be going to Libya on an official visit to discuss illegal immigration. As many illegal immigrants arrive from Libya, the government is seeking to reach an agreement to send the illegal immigrants back. Home Affairs Minister Tonio Borg said that the topic "illegal immigrants" is a no-win situation whichever way it goes. He said that if Malta is the nearest safe port in such situations, it is required by the Maltese government to give help. [DI-VI]

Tuesday, 28 September, 2004: Italy is to send 150 police officers to Libya, along with aircraft and infra-red tracking equipment, as a first step towards the creation of holding camps for illegal migrants passing through N. Africa bound for Europe. The deal between Italy and Col Qadhafi's regime is widely seen as a pilot project for a European Union policy of processing asylum seekers before they reach EU soil. This would effectively sub-contract the job of migration control to buffer states which often have a record of harsh treatment of refugees. [The Telegraph]
Tuesday, 28 September, 2004: Libya wants to receive a great international attention. It thinks that the case of the Bulgarian nurses is linked to the embargo and believes that the international community owes it something, said Bulgarian Foreign Minister Passy on Nova TV. Libya paid a lot of compensations for Lockerbie and thinks this time it should receive compensations. [FIA]
Hasan al-Banna and Muhammad al-Sanousi; By: Khaled el-Wershefani

Monday, 27 September, 2004: A new migration deal between Italy and Libya has stopped thousands of people reaching Italian shores illegally, Italy's interior minister has said. Giuseppe Pisanu was speaking in Tripoli after talks with his Libyan counterpart on implementing the landmark agreement. He said several thousand migrants had already been repatriated. The deal was reached last month between Col. Qadhafi and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi. [BBC]
Monday, 27 September, 2004: A couple who lost their only child in the Lockerbie bombing have sent more than £2 million compensation back to Libya, branding it "blood money". Author Dan Cohen, 68, and wife Susan, 66, from New Jersey, USA, lost their daughter Theodora on Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. Dan said: "It's blood money. We can't just be paid off so Libya can be allowed back into the fold". A UK family have also refused compensation. [Daily Mail]
Monday, 27 September, 2004: Secretary of Sudan's ruling National Congress party Majzub El-Khalifa expressed on Sunday his country's appreciation of Libya's efforts to help resolve the Darfur crisis. In a press statement, the Sudanese official described Libya's role as "distinctive". "Sudan's distinctive relation with Libya has inevitably made the role of Libya in the Darfur conflict distinctive and has made Libyapart of the dialogue in Darfur," said Khalifa. [Xinhua]
Monday, 27 September, 2004: A Swiss engineer suspected of selling nuclear equipment to Libya has been arrested in S. Africa, the Swiss authorities said on Sunday. The German paper Sonntags Zeitung reported earlier that the man has been accused of importing and exporting equipment for enriching uranium. The man's superior in the establishment where he works, a German national, is also suspected of illegal possession and production of nuclear material. The two men are believed to have received more than $1-million from a client believed to be Libya, the paper said. [IOL]
Monday, 27 September, 2004: Libyan officials have detained 114 Egyptians who were seeking to illegally cross the Mediterranean to Italy. The Egyptians were expected to be repatriated to Egypt in coming weeks. The operation was characterised as part of an agreement on better cooperation against illegal immigration between Libya and Italy. [DPA]

Sunday, 26 September, 2004: The youngest son of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the Libyan leader, was involved in a high-speed police chase through central Paris that ended in fisticuffs, according to French officials. The Porsche-driving Moutassim al-Qadhafi (photo), 28, nicknamed "Hannibal", was pursued by French police after driving at speed down the Champs Elysees and allegedly jumping a red light early yesterday. The police eventually stopped his car at about 2am but, as they tried to speak to Moutassim, two other vehicles drew up. Their occupants, Moutassim's bodyguards, then tried to step between him and the officers. One of the officers was hit several times by one of the bodyguards and was slightly injured. "Hannibal", who has a reputation as a playboy, had allegedly visited several of the city's nightclubs before returning to the hotel. [The Telegraph]
Sunday, 26 September, 2004: International Arabic language Al-Hayat newspaper said in its Friday edition that high ranking Iranian and Libyan officials have been in touch to solve puzzle on missing Lebanese shi'a leader Imam Moussa Sadr's fate. Quoting an informed source in Paris, Al-Hayat wrote, "President Mohammad Khatami's parliamentary affairs deputy Hojjatoleslam Mohammad-Ali Abtahi has met Libyan leader's son Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi in Paris and Tripoli on the Iranian-born Lebanese Shi'as leader Imam Moussa Sadr's fate. [IRIB]
Sunday, 26 September, 2004: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is threatening to cancel next month's planned visit to Tripoli if Libya fails to pay compensation to the victims of the 1986 bombing of a Berlin nightclub. A government spokesman says Schroeder will visit Tripoli only if Libya makes the first payment of a $35 million compensation package to the non-U.S. victims of the bombing. Libya has blamed banking difficulties for the delay. A German weekly, Der Spiegel, says the foreign ministry twice summoned Libya's ambassador to discuss the issue. [VOA]

Saturday, 25 September, 2004: US Secretary of State Colin Powell pressed Libya's foreign minister to address allegations that Tripoli plotted to kill the Saudi crown prince, US officials said on Thursday after the first such US-Libyan meeting in at least 25 years. Powell stressed the US desire to see Libya lay to rest US accusations of past support for terrorism, including allegations by an American Muslim in US custody, made public earlier this year, that Libya had sought to kill Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah. "There is clearly, the secretary stressed, a fair amount of work to do with regard to the issue of terrorism," a senior US official told reporters. "We do ... have serious concerns about the issue of plotting against Saudi Arabia.” [Daily Times]
Saturday, 25 September, 2004: Egypt hopes to finalize talks with Libya over constructing a pipeline that would transfer Libyan crude oil to Egyptian refineries, a senior Egyptian oil official said Friday. The pipeline would be constructed by the $100 million Egyptian-Libyan oil joint venture, The Arab Company for Oil and Gas Pipelines, in which Egypt and Libya each hold a 50% stake. "The pipeline would transfer the Libyan crude to Egypt's refineries and its capacity would range between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels a day," the senior official said. However, Egypt and Libya still have to decide on the pipeline route. One of the examined options is extending the pipeline from the Libyan city of Tobkrok to Egyptian city of Alexandria. [Dow Jones]
Saturday, 25 September, 2004: The fate of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya, world fight against terrorism and the OSCE's work in that field were the main topics in Bulgarian Foreign Minister Passy's speech at the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly. Bulgaria's foreign ministry said that his country welcomes the progressive reintegration of Lybia to the international community. Bulgaria, however, believes that a compelling message from the Libyan authorities about their respect for human rights and human values can only be to find a just solution of the very well known case of the six Bulgarian and one Palestinian medical workers who have been held behind bars in Libya for almost six long years, Passy said. [Novinite]
Saturday, 25 September, 2004: US President George W. Bush instructed on Friday that Iraq be removed from the US list of "state sponsors of terrorism". "Iraq's government is not supporting acts of international terrorism ... Iraq's government has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future," Bush said in a statement, which the White House made public. For now, in addition to Iraq, Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Sudan are on the US list of "state sponsors of terrorism". [Xinhua]
Saturday, 25 September, 2004: In his new book ,The Millionaire, Artem Tarasov, a Russian entrepreneur, said that Qadhafi resorted to Tarasov's aid in swaying top Russian government officials to Libya's side. "Back then, the UN was reviewing the issue of Libya extraditing two terrorists who blew up the passenger Boing over Scotland. The Americans and the British were insisting on a trial in Britain and the intensification of UN sanctions against Libya. Whereas Qadhafi insisted he'll give them up only to a third party court. We were asked to arrange Russia's vote in the UN against the American and the British position, no more, no less. As gratitude, Libya agreed ... to pay back its debt to Russia to the amount of $247 million by Libyan oil deliveries. Secondly, it would give Russia the most propitious trading rights and credit of several hundred million dollars. The friend and I were getting $20 million in cash for meditating." [MosNews]

Friday, 24 September, 2004: Members of Congress from the Los Angeles area (California) clashed Wednesday over the U.S. role in Libya's decision to end its nuclear weapons program. Reps. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks; Elton Gallegly, R-Thousand Oaks; and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Long Beach, sparred over how much credit -- if any -- President George W. Bush can claim for persuading Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to dismantle Libya's WMDs. "Qadhafi did not give up his WMDs because of Iraq," Sherman said. "This is simply an ex-post-facto explanation (the administration) developed when WMDs were not found in Iraq." [L.A. Daily News]
Friday, 24 September, 2004: Brussels and Tripoli are negotiating for the convicted Bulgarian nurses to be freed, in return for recompense pay, ITAR-TASS reported. The Russian agency also said that the lifting of the EU arms embargo on Libya could bring a more favorable outcome for the five Bulgarians. They were sentenced to death in May for causing HIV epidemic at a Benghazi hospital. ITAR-TASS were not the first to speculate on horse-trading. Earlier in September, German Spiegel magazine wrote that generous compensations or free health treatment for the infected children, offered by EU, might change Libya's final decision on the case. [Novinite]
Friday, 24 September, 2004: Germany and Italy are pressing ahead with plans for setting up holding centers in North Africa for would-be immigrants to the European Union, despite sharp opposition from other EU countries and the United Nations, politicians and diplomats said Thursday. The proposals, which for the moment envisage siting the transit camps in Libya, will be thrashed out next week during a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers in the Netherlands. At the headquarters of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, a spokesman said Thursday that the proposals could lead to "sealing off Europe" to asylum seekers. [IHT]
Friday, 24 September, 2004: The European Union informed Libya it has decided to lift all restrictions on exports to the North African state. The Libyan News Agency, JANA, said the decision was relayed to Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi by the European Commission President Romano Prodi in a telephone call late Wednesday. Prodi also assured Qadhafi of EU plans to improve and upgrade relations with Libya, the agency added. The EU had eased sanctions imposed on Libya in 1999 but maintained restrictions on the export of certain items, including weapons. Under the new decision all restriction were lifted. [UPI]

Thursday, 23 September, 2004: In a sign of warming U.S.-Libyan ties, Secretary of State Colin Powell will meet Libya's foreign minister on Thursday in the highest level talks between the countries in decades, U.S. officials said. The meeting follows the U.S. decision on Monday to revoke its trade embargo against Libya after Tripoli gave up WMDs and paid compensation to victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. State Department officials said they did not know exactly when a U.S. secretary of state had last met with a senior Libyan official but they said they were confident it had been decades given the bitter relations that date to the 1970s. [Reuters]
Thursday, 23 September, 2004: Libya has invited US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham to visit the North African country, Libyan deputy prime minister Matouq M Matouq said in Vienna on Monday, in a sign of steadily improving relations between the two former enemy states. A US official confirmed that an invitation had been received but said there was no response since "it’s really too soon to put this on anybody’s schedule." Matouq said: "We did not talk about a date but he accepted it and he will find the time suitable for him." [HiPakistan]
Thursday, 23 September, 2004: Libya took another big step towards respectability yesterday when the European Union's most senior diplomats agreed that an arms embargo against Tripoli should be lifted. The move, which needs to be ratified by EU ministers next month, is the latest step in Libya's improving relationship with the West. Yesterday's initiative came after pressure from Britain and Italy which want to provide Libya with helicopters, boats, communications systems and other equipment to help fight illegal immigration. Italy is one of the main targets for immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa on their way to Europe. [Independent]
Thursday, 23 September, 2004: Libya is ready to make a deal for releasing the Bulgarian nurses, sentenced to death for infecting more than 400 Benghazi children with HIV. Generous compensations or free health treatment for the infected children, offered by EU, might change country's final decision on the case, German "Spiegel" magazine reads quoting the Libyan Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgam. Libya is ready to solve by bargain another problem concerning EU countries - the flow of illegal African immigrants to Europe. [Novinite]

Wednesday, 22 September, 2004: The European Union has said it may follow the US in lifting sanctions against Libya, as long as Tripoli shows willingness to curb illegal migration. Libya needs to demonstrate it has a "comprehensive strategy" to stem flows of illegal immigrants, the EU said. The body imposed trade sanctions on Libya in 1986. Europe's relations with Libya have improved since Tripoli pledged to compensate families of victims of the Lockerbie and UTA air crashes. Washington lifted its sanctions against Tripoli on Monday. If EU member states agreed to lift some of its sanctions, a mission would be sent to Libya to assess the country's progress on stemming illegal migrant flows, EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin told correspondents. [BBC]
Wednesday, 22 September, 2004: The British government said Tuesday that it was delighted that the U.S. has lifted the remaining sanctions on Libya. "We are delighted that, in delivering on the historic commitment made on Dec. 19 last year, Libya has become the first country to dismantle voluntarily all WMD programs under international supervision through a transparent and cooperative process," a spokesman for the British Foreign Office said. "We also welcome the fact that, as a result, the U.S. has lifted the remaining bilateral sanctions in place against Libya, including unfreezing Libyan assets held in the U.S.," the spokesman said. [Xinhua]
Wednesday, 22 September, 2004: The U.N. refugee agency (UNRA) has criticized the Libyan government for the forcible deportation of more than 70 Eritrean asylum seekers last month. The UNRA says it is concerned over the ongoing forcible return of potential refugees from Libya. It says the recent deportation of 75 Eritreans highlights the seriousness of the problem, and indicates the extremes to which asylum seekers will go to avoid being returned home against their will. On August 27, the Eritreans were put aboard a chartered Libyan air force plane without being told they were being flown to their home country. On route they learned of their destination and four of the Eritreans reportedly hijacked the plane and forced it to land in Sudan. [VOA]
Wednesday, 22 September, 2004: Libya Tuesday applauded Washington's decision to lift most economic sanctions, a move bound to give a strong boost to Libyan-U.S. relations. The official al-Shams newspaper said the decision proves the US' credibility and determination to upgrade relations between the two countries. "Quiet and sober diplomacy succeeded in crossing stages which would eventually lead to the re-establishment of full relations between Libya and the U.S.," the paper said. President Bush signed an executive order ending the national emergency declared in 1986 under the Emergency Powers Act. The president's action removes economic restrictions on aviation services with Libya. Terrorism-related sanctions remain in place, however. [UPI]

Tuesday, 21 September, 2004: Houston-based Continental Airlines on Monday asked the U.S. government for permission to offer service to Libya, the day the U.S. formally ended trade sanctions against that country, according to a Reuters report. Continental's service would be offered via code-share with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. According to Continental's regulatory filing with the Transportation Department, the airline would fly passengers to Amsterdam, where they would connect to a KLM flight to Tripoli. Reuters reported that Continental would offer the service for a minimum of two years beginning in mid-October. [Business Journal]
Tuesday, 21 September, 2004: U.S. President Bush on Monday removed a ban on commercial air service to Libya and released $1.3 billion in frozen Libyan assets in recognition of "significant" steps to eliminate its deadliest weapons programs. In response, Libya is expected to disburse $1 billion in compensation payments to 269 families of the victims of the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush lifted the sanctions by signing an executive order. He credited Libya with having taken significant actions over the past nine months to eliminate its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. [AP]
Tuesday, 21 September, 2004: Libya, which last year renounced its nuclear weapons program, Monday urged Iran to follow suit and comply with the demands of the U.N. nuclear watchdog to stop enriching uranium which can be used to make atomic bombs. "As (IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei) said today, some things have to be fulfilled by Iran," Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Matouq M. Matouq told reporters after meeting U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham at the IAEA annual general conference. Saturday the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution calling on Iran to end uranium enrichment. Tehran rejected the resolution. [Reuters]

Monday, 20 September, 2004: The five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya are not satisfied with the conditions in the new building in which they had been transferred from Judeida prison. They claim the place was narrow and that there were Libyan women in the next-door room, announced Bulgarian Consul Sergei Yankov in Tripoli for New TV. Yankov visited the Bulgarian nurses for the first time at their new place of living yesterday. [FIA]
Hope International: A Call To People Of Generosity

Sunday, 19 September, 2004: Libya's assurances to the United States that it will complete a disarmament program could lead to a Libyan payment next week of more than one billion dollars to families of Pan Am 103 victims, a State Department official said yesterday. The official spoke after Assistant Secretary of State William Burns talked with Libyan officials for three hours in London. The Libyan compensation payment would be made if President Bush agrees to lift air travel sanctions against Libya and lifts a freeze on one billion dollars in assets belonging to Libya or in which Libya has interest, the official said. [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 19 September, 2004: A Randburg engineer charged under WMDs and nuclear energy laws has already told international authorities that he had no business dealings with Libya, the Vanderbijlpark regional court heard on Friday. Gerhard Wisser, arrested with his colleague Dan Geiges was questioned by German authorities in August as part of an international investigation into the "AQ Khan" network which is alleged to have supplied Libya's now-abandoned nuclear weapons programme. Wisser told German police "my company has done no business with Libya nor have I received any money from Libya", his lawyer said. [Independent Online]
Sunday, 19 September, 2004: Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat published an article against Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The article says: "Will a day come when Col Qadhafi would take a wise decision? He was supposed to learn something during his 35 years in power; and if he did not learn anything, he should have been at least helped by coincidence or luck, as even a stopped watch indicates the right time twice a day, whereas Qadhafi's stopped watch was never right. Terrorism stopped in the outside, but the Libyan people are still subject to a terrorism that is disregarded by Britain and the U.S., to an extent that makes of the two countries partners in it". [FIA]
AI : Libya; Incommunicado Detention / Health Concern [ Fathi al-Jahmi ]

Saturday, 18 September, 2004: Amnesty International (AI) is seriously concerned for the health and safety of former prisoner of conscience Fathi al-Jahmi (photo). There are also concerns for the safety of his wife, Fawzia 'Abdullah Gogha, and their eldest son, Muhammad Fathi al-Jahmi who were reportedly detained along with him on 26 March. AI received information that Fathi al-Jahmi is ill and requires medical treatment, which it appears he is being denied. Fathi al-Jahmi, his wife and his eldest son were reportedly taken from their home in Tripoli by the authorities on 26 March. This happened shortly after he gave several media interviews, including to the US-based Arabic channel al-Hurrah and to Dubai's channel al-'Arabiya, in which he called for reform within Libya. [AI]   click for details
Saturday, 18 September, 2004: U.S. President George W. Bush is expected to formally revoke the U.S. trade embargo on Libya to reward Tripoli for keeping its promises to give up WMDs. U.S. officials said on Friday talks between U.S. and Libyan officials in London on Friday went well and Libya met U.S. requirements for an ongoing program to verify Tripoli has dismantled its WMD programs and also agreed to eliminate its Scud B missiles. Bush was expected on Monday to revoke a 1986 executive order that froze Libyan government assets in the U.S. and a 1992 executive order that restricted Libyan aviation ties with the U.S. But U.S. officials said they did not expect Libya to be removed from the state sponsors of terrorism list anytime soon. [Reuters]
Saturday, 18 September, 2004: Italy may unilaterally lift a trade embargo on Libya to help Tripoli fight illegal immigration if the European Union does not take such a decision by next week, Italy's interior minister said on Friday. Giuseppe Pisanu said Italy could lift the embargo to give the north African country access to technology, such as binoculars and boats, to help it patrol the Libyan coast and stem the flood of migrants, many of whom aim for Italy. "We are working to partially remove the embargo to give Libya the equipment and technical assistance it needs," Pisanu told a news conference. "We are aiming to solve this problem in the next week. If there is not unanimity we will proceed unilaterally," he said. [Reuters]
Saturday, 18 September, 2004: Libya has warned Italy's failure to compensate its people for losses incurred during the colonization period would harm relations between the nations. The warning was issued Thursday night during the commemoration of the anniversary of the execution of Libyan national leader Omar al-Mukhtar by Italian colonial forces in 1931. Libyan officials called on Italy to implement the clauses of a joint declaration signed in 1998 under which Rome apologized for its colonial rule and vowed to pay compensation to Libya. "Relations between Italy and Libya will be adversely affected if the Italian government failed to meet its commitments of compensation," said Mohammed al-Khafifi, a senior government official. [UPI]
Saturday, 18 September, 2004: Libya hopes US oil companies will return to the country soon and is prepared to sell crude to the US, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem was quoted as saying yesterday. "Discussions on the terms for the return of these (US oil) firms are under way," he told CNBC Arabiya business channel. Ghanem said he hoped the discussions would be wrapped up "soon" and stressed that Libya was "fully prepared to export oil to the US, especially since the US East Coast is the main market for Libyan oil". The United States and Libya formally re-established diplomatic relations in late June after a 24-year break. [Gulf Daily News]
Saturday, 18 September, 2004: Libya's prime minister kicked off Thursday's OPEC's world oil conference with a surprisingly political speech that jangled some attendees' nerves. Shokri Ghanem expressed concern over the sensitive nature of oil prices and the lack of stability in many countries where vast oil reserves are found. Then, without specifically citing Iraq, Ghanem took issue with U.S. military presence in the Middle East and support for Israel. "Unfortunately, most of these countries are made less stable by the actions of the big powers, denying people in some producer countries their rights of self-determination and the right to live in peace and tranquility," he said. "The creation and the continuous military and financial support of Israel was and is a serious geopolitical mistake. It not only violated the rights of the Palestinian people but put the whole area in turmoil," he said. [Houston Chronicle]

Friday, 17 September, 2004: Libyans aged between 18 and 25 came flocking to the parking lot of the Corinthia hotel, in Tripoli, to audition for a place in the second season of Lebanese-based talent show Star Academy, due to begin this December. Some of the hopefuls came from as far as Benghazi and al-Beyda in the east and from southern desert towns like Sebha and al-Kufra. Eighty Libyan girls - all groomed and dressed-to-impress - [showed up for auditioning]. One girl said her ambition was to become the next Arab superstar. "My mum and dad encouraged me to do this, and there has been no criticism from people close to me, so everything's fine," said Rola Ali (photo). [BBC]
Friday, 17 September, 2004: The US has until midnight on Tuesday to remove Libya from the State Department's "state sponsors of terror" list and lift a number of trade sanctions. If not, more than $1.5 billion (£800 million) of outstanding compensation currently held in a special bank account in Switzerland, will be returned to Libya. But it is unlikely that the State Department will remove Libya from the terror list. This is because Libya was accused earlier this year of being behind a plot of kill the Saudi leader Crown Prince Abdullah. Officials from Libya, Britain and the US are due to meet today in London for urgent talks. [Independent]
Friday, 17 September, 2004: Libya has started expelling hundreds of Somalis that had tried and failed to reach Europe. Those on board the first flight have been talking about their ordeals in Libyan prisons and the dangers they faced as they tried to make it to a better life overseas. "We were badly treated while we were in prison," said Safiyo Mohamed Hassan, who spent a year in jail. She said that the prison where she was held used to be a chemical warehouse and some of her fellow inmates had developed skin diseases. [BBC]
Friday, 17 September, 2004: Five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya have been moved to a special facility in their prison, the Trud newspaper reported Thursday. The paper said a new apartment block had been built in the prison yard and that the nurses had been moved into it, the paper quoted Foreign Minister Solomon Passy as saying. The nurses have complained of mistreatment, particularly from fellow inmates in the prison, an issue which the new block is designed to address. The five nurses, along with a Palestinian doctor, have been convicted and sentenced to death [on 5 May] for infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV. [UPI]

Thursday, 16 September, 2004: The Libyan government has approved 2.6 bln usd in financing for oil exploration and infrastructure projects, an official said. Two projects cover prospecting in the Morzuq Desert, in southwestern Libya, near the Niger and Algerian borders. The others deal with improving the network of gas pipelines and the development of several oil fields. Libya is aiming to double its oil production to 3 mln barrels a day by 2010, Prime Minister Shoukri Ghanem (photo) has said. It estimates that the cost for this will be around 30 bln usd, which will be shared between Libya and foreign partners. [AFX]
Thursday, 16 September, 2004: The second season of Lebanese-based talent show Star Academy is expected to be just as much of a hit in Libya as the first, even though some aspects of the show are heavily criticised by its fans. Libyans young and old did not miss a single episode of the first season of the TV series that searched for a multi-talented Arab performer. Now, the country's favourite reality show is holding auditions in Libya for the first time. More than 400 young Libyans applied during the two days of auditions, many spurred on by the recent success of young Libyan singer Ayman al-Aathar (photo) in the rival pan-Arabic TV singing competition SuperStar. [BBC]
Thursday, 16 September, 2004: A top official in Italy called Tuesday on the EU to help Libya stem the flow of illegal migrants moving northwards across the Mediterranean. "Libya has taken in one million desperate people from all over Africa and it needs to be reassured," Italy's new EU Commissioner, Rocco Buttiglione, said in an interview published by daily Corriere della Sera. "The Libyans would be more cooperative if they understood that the cost of taking in all these people did not fall on their shoulders alone." His remarks appeared a day after the Italian government, among rising tensions, asked Libya to take tougher measures to prevent illegal migrants leaving its shores. [EUBusiness]

Wednesday, 15 September, 2004: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell voiced optimism on Tuesday that Libya would permit an extended-verification system to demonstrate it has permanently given up weapons of mass destruction. If Libyan officials agree to this at a London meeting with U.S. and British officials expected on Friday, U.S. officials say they expect to end the remaining U.S. sanctions. However, such a step is not expected to lead to Libya being dropped from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, which some U.S. officials do not expect before the Nov. 2 U.S. presidential election at the earliest. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 15 September, 2004: German lawyers representing more than 160 victims of a Berlin nightclub bombing in 1986 urged Libya on Tuesday to explain why millions of dollars in agreed compensation had not been paid. Libya signed a deal on Sept. 3 to pay $35 million to the non-U.S. victims of the blast at the La Belle disco, a popular spot with U.S. soldiers in then West Berlin. Under the terms of the deal, Libyan leader Qadhafi's charity foundation was supposed to pay an initial $15 million installment by Sept. 8, a second installment of $15 million by Dec. 1 and a final $5 million by March 1, 2005. However, the first payment has not yet arrived. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 15 September, 2004: The UN atomic agency took Libya off its agenda Tuesday as a special subject to investigate for nuclear safeguards violations after getting months of cooperation from Tripoli over its disbanded atomic program. Libya will now be only "part of our routine verification, which is good so at least Libya is off our agenda," Int'l Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters at a meeting of the IAEA's board of governors. [AFP]
Wednesday, 15 September, 2004: Korea's Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co., a unit of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., said Tuesday that it has won orders for four product chemical tankers from Libyan firms. The four ships, estimated at US$143 million, will be delivered to the companies, including Heroic Hestia Inc., by December 2007, the company said. [Yonhab]
Wednesday, 15 September, 2004: Oil consuming countries should give a clearer picture of how much they use and how much they stockpile before OPEC can justify raising its production ceiling, a senior Libyan delegate said. Libya's governor to OPEC, Hamuda el-Aswad noted that many countries failed to report their full amount of stockpiled oil, which gave a distorted picture of overall demand. "Unless everyone is convinced on the stock figure I doubt raising the quota ceiling is a fair resolution," Aswad told reporters, referring to the cartel's official 26 mln barrel ceiling, which is currently at least 2 mln barrels below actual output. [AFX]
Tuesday, 14 September, 2004: [Qadhafi] has decided he wants an American movie company to make a feature film of his eventful life. To that end, his son, Saadi Qadhafi, travelled to the Venice Film Festival this week to meet larger-than-life Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein. "Qadhafi's son came up to me with this proposal," Weinstein tells me. "I thought about it a bit, and then told him I'd do it on one condition: that he publicly recognises the state of Israel. He said he'd go back and tell his father ... we'll have to wait and see." The proposal might not be quite as outlandish as it once would have been. Only 10 days ago, Qadhafi talked for the first time of compensating Libyan Jews whose properties were confiscated after his 1969 revolution. [The Telegraph]

Monday, 13 September, 2004: Italy has summoned Libya's ambassador for talks on efforts to tackle illegal immigration after hundreds of arrivals on Italian shores at the weekend. About 480 people, thought to have come from north Africa, arrived on Lampedusa island on one boat - a new record. Another boatload of about 190 reached the same tiny island, while a third group of about 130 made it to Sicily. This weekend's arrivals in southern Italy include migrants claiming to be from various countries in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. [BBC]
Monday, 13 September, 2004: Malta's Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Frendo confirmed the pressing problem of obtaining visas to travel to Libya, according to Labour foreign affairs spokesman Leo Brincat. This was a clear contradiction to what was said some months ago by his predecessor John Dalli, who claimed the problem of visas had been resolved. [Times Of Malta]
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Sunday, 12 September, 2004: Sixteen years after the midair bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, a deal that calls for the government of Libya to pay $2.7 billion to 270 families of the victims is in serious danger of unraveling. Libya agreed last year to pay $10 million to each family contingent upon these conditions: the lifting of UN and certain U.S. economic sanctions and removal of Libya from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism. So far, though, only the U.N. sanctions have been lifted, freeing up $4 million per family. If the other conditions aren't met by a September 22 deadline, the deal calls for $1.35 billion to revert to Libya. [USNews]
Sunday, 12 September, 2004: Pan Am Flight 103 victims' relatives say the White House has refused their repeated requests to meet with President Bush. [A deal that calls for Libya to pay $2.7 billion to victims' relatives is in serious danger of unraveling if conditions aren't met by a Sept. 22 deadline]. "We need to know where the president stands," says Kara Weipz, president of Victims of Pan Am Flight 103. "It would be a travesty" if the money returns to Libya, she says. "This isn't about money for us personally. Our relatives were murdered because of Libyan terrorism. [Libya] need[s] to be held accountable." [USNews]

Saturday, 11 September, 2004: U.S. President Bush on Friday cleared a key obstacle for the U.S. Export-Import Bank to approve aid for exports to Libya now that the country has given up its nuclear weapons program. "I hereby determine and certify that it is in the national interest for the Export-Import Bank to guarantee, insure, or extend credit, or participate in the extension of credit in support of U.S. exports to Libya," Bush said in a memorandum to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. The institution typically offers working capital guarantees, export credit insurance, direct loans and loan guarantees that traditional private lenders are unwilling to undertake. [(Reuters]
Saturday, 11 September, 2004: Libya's state-run post and telecommunications company has signed a 200 million euro ($244 million) mobile phone network accord with Finland's Nokia and French telecoms equipment maker Alcatel. "The deal was signed in Tripoli and will involve the creation of new mobile phone network with a capacity of 2.5 million phone lines," said one company official of the Libyan General Post and Telecommunication Company (GPTC). Alcatel, which won the equivalent of about $100 million share of the deal, will supply GPTC with a radio access and core network system to service 2.5 million users. [CIOL]
Saturday, 11 September, 2004: A South African court on Thursday charged two German men who live in the country with illegally exporting equipment used to enrich uranium needed to make nuclear weapons. The arraignments came one day after Gerhard Wisser and Daniel Geiges were arrested by authorities. For Wisser, it was the second arrest in one month's time. Officials first arrested him in Germany just over two weeks ago after the federal prosecutor's office said he was suspected of helping Libya acquire atomic weapons technology in 2001. He was later released on bail and allowed to return to South Africa, where he has been a longtime resident. [DW]
Saturday, 11 September, 2004: An Old soldier's pilgrimage to Libya will be his first chance for 60 years to lay a wreath where he lost many of his young friends in the Second World War. Jack Pritchard, 85, was in his early 20s when he joined up and within a year he was doing one of the most perilous jobs the military had to offer - mine clearance. Jack lost many friends in North Africa as they first retreated then returned with "Monty", routing the Germans ... Jack will be going to Tripoli, Benghazi and Tobruk with his wife Nora, from November 8 to 13, to see how the country has changed and to remember dear friends who did not make it back. [The Citizen]

Friday, 10 September, 2004: Amerada Hess Corp., part of the Oasis group that includes Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips, is in "advanced" talks to return to oil-rich Libya, the company's CEO John Hess said on Tuesday. Hess is one of a growing list of top oil companies eager to resume operations at Libyan oilfields after the U.S. eased restrictions on doing business with the nation. "It's a work in progress but I'd say negotiations are at an advanced stage," CEO Hess told analysts at a conference in New York. "We have to make sure we get a fair deal. ... The Libyans are obviously shrewd negotiators." Amerada has an 8.2 percent stake in the Oasis Group, which is negotiating terms upon which the group will return to Libya. [Reuters]
Friday, 10 September, 2004: Libya has signed the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) Convention on the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, which obliges them not to return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violation. But the Libyan authorities attempted to forcibly return 76 Eritrean asylum-seekers, including 22 women and six children, on 27 August. Some of the Eritreans hijacked the plane that was carrying them, and forced it to land in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where they have all applied for refugee protection. [Amnesty International]
Friday, 10 September, 2004: The lobby of the only five-star hotel in the Libyan capital Tripoli is as elegant as it is empty. It is hard to believe the country is hoping to welcome 3 million tourists a year by 2008. The past year has seen the creation of Libya's first-ever Tourism Ministry, charged with distributing a cash pot that could reach $7 billion over five years. That money will be needed to improve the rudimentary infrastructure ... There's a relatively well-equipped int'l airport, but national carrier Libyan Arab Airlines is struggling to modernize. [The Daily Star]
Friday, 10 September, 2004: The first convoy of food for Sudanese refugees has arrived in Chad from Libya, crossing the Sahara Desert, says the World Food Programme. The epic 2,800km journey took more than three weeks, leaving the Libyan port of Benghazi on 16 August. The new aid corridor, opened up by Libya in July, will allow year-round access to refugee camps. Some 200,000 refugees from Sudan's troubled Darfur region have sought safety in Chad. [BBC]
Friday, 10 September, 2004: Tony Blair's handshake with Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in March may have signalled a historic thaw in relations with Libya, but the small matter of a large traffic fine is threatening to mar Britain's burgeoning diplomatic friendship with the north African state. Libyan diplomats in London have refused to pay more than £34,000 in traffic fines and are being chased by the Foreign Office to settle their bills. Despite a formal demand to pay up, [the Libyan diplomats] have 365 traffic fines outstanding from last year. [Independent UK]
Friday, 10 September, 2004: A Libyan cargo plane, carrying aid from Libya to Senegal, has arrived in the Senegalese airport. The plane includes two teams provided with ten vehicles fully equipped with machines and tons of chemical insecticide related to desert locust fighting to help rescuing Senegal's agricultural crops threatened by locusts swarms. [LJBC]
Friday, 10 September, 2004: Pakistan on Wednesday denied shifting of some nuclear equipment abroad. Speaking to Iran's IRNA news agency on a recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Foreign Office Spokesman Masood Khan rejected the allegation of Islamabad's role in this connection. But he admitted that some greedy elements might have done so. About some media reports, he said these were "totally baseless and unfounded" that Islamabad had passed information about Iran and Libya's nuclear programme to the US. He made it clear that Pakistan had never co-operated with Iran in its nuclear initiative in any manner. [PPI]
Friday, 10 September, 2004: Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs G. Grancharova stated in Varna that the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure better living conditions for the Bulgarian medics in [a Libyan prison] continue, BNR reported. Grancharova added that it is expected that the nurses would soon be transferred to new premises of the same prison. [The five Bulgarian nurses were sentenced to death by a firing squad in May]. [FNA]
WSJ : Save Fathi el-Jahmi

Thursday, 9 September, 2004: A Libyan man was yesterday charged with holding up a fellow countryman on 2 September in Sliema, Malta. Aiman Sherif, 27, who lives in Sliema, was charged with holding up Fathi Ali El Ghonsol and stealing $2,000. He was further charged with being in possession of a sharp instrument, with slightly injuring Ghonsol after assaulting him and with breaching the peace. Mr Ghonsol testified in court yesterday and explained how, while he was walking in Sliema on Thursday evening, a white Peugeot 106 pulled up and two men requested money. At first he resisted them and ended up with a cut on his left eye. [Malta's Independent]
Thursday, 9 September, 2004: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder will travel to Libya 15 October on a working visit, a German diplomatic source revealed. The visit follows a recent accord under which Libya will compensate the victims of the 1986 "La Belle" discotheque bombing. According to EU officials, one stumbling block in the EU upping ties with Libya relates to the dispute caused by the Libya's accusations against five Bulgarians working in Benghazi. The Libyan judiciary sentenced the Bulgarians to death for allegedly infecting 393 Libyan children with the virus that causes AIDS. To change Libya`s stance in the affair, the EU is studying ways to provide support for the infected children, one EU official revealed here. [Angop]
Thursday, 9 September, 2004: The government is investigating the discovery of restricted Japanese precision instruments in a nuclear facility in Libya, sources said Wednesday. The International Atomic Energy Agency found the instruments, which can be exported only under strict control, during inspections between December and March that followed the declaration by Libyan leader Qadhafi to give up all of the country's WMDs. The instruments are typically used to precisely measure the size and three-dimensional shape of machinery parts. It is made by a manufacturer based in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. [The Japan Times]

LLHR : Abduction In Iraq Of Two Journalists

Wednesday, 8 September, 2004: A new mobile phone network has been launched in Libya, bringing competition to the sector for the first time. However, since the new company, Libyana, is state-owned like its rival, some critics question whether the competition will be genuine. Although prices have already fallen from $3,300 in 1997 to $68 plus $410 deposit, this remains much higher than in neighbouring countries. The company's head and Qadhafi's son, Mohammed al-Qadhafi, said the large deposit, which would be offset against call charges, was intended to prevent an initial surge of acquiring a mobile number, which may put too much pressure on the lines. [BBC]
Wednesday, 8 September, 2004: In the Libyan capital Tripoli, tens of thousands of Africans wander around the medina and hang out on street corners biding their time until they can somehow make it to a new life in Europe. No official figures exist, but their numbers are estimated at a massive 1.5 to two million out of a total population of just six million. They come mostly from Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Sub-Saharan Africans were for a long time welcomed by Libya, as part of its pro-African foreign policy. But they are no longer looked on so kindly since Libya began working with European partners to control their numbers. [EUBusiness]
Wednesday, 8 September, 2004: Sudan has granted political asylum to 60 Eritreans who arrived in August after fellow fugitives hijacked their plane from Libya, the UN says. They were among about 75 Eritreans being forcibly repatriated when some of them invaded the cockpit and diverted the Libyan-chartered plane. Sudan jailed 15 of the group last week to five years. [BBC]
Wednesday, 8 September, 2004: MultiSell Technology ME FZCO has appointed MEDRA Trading as distributor for its products and services into the emerging Libyan market. Building a channel in Libya has long been a priority for Dubai based MultiSell. MEDRA Trading has supplied the Libyan markets with technology products & services for more than a decade. [AME]

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Tuesday, 7 September, 2004: The BBC has been criticised by the media watchdog Ofcom for endangering the lives of two Libyans who appeared in a documentary series. Ofcom upheld a complaint from tour guide Muhunnud Al-Mungoush who appeared on Holidays in the Axis of Evil, last year, without his consent. They also upheld a complaint from singer Enes Senussi, whose song was used in the same programme. The BBC was accused of putting the lives of the men "at risk". Mr Al-Mungoush claimed that as a result of the programme he was interrogated, beaten up and lost his job. Co-operating with international media is forbidden in Libya. [BBC]
Tuesday, 7 September, 2004: Libya, opening up to the world after decades of isolation, is aiming to dismantle the controlled economy with its waste and corruption but leave untouched the political bodies dominated by Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. As Libya celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Sept. 1, 1969 coup led by Qadhafi that toppled King Idris, many expected the announcement of unprecedented political reforms. But in his Sept. 1 speech, Qadhafi reiterated his faith in the "state for and of the masses," prophesying the "end of capitalism, imperialism, representative democracy, exploitation and repression" and their "replacement by Jamahirya". [AFP]
Tuesday, 7 September, 2004: During a visit to Tripoli, EU research commissioner Philippe Busquin has highlighted the potential benefits of scientific cooperation between the EU and Libya, including possible research into camel milk. Busquin discussed with Libyan authorities the potential benefits for Libya and the EU in establishing scientific and technological cooperation, once Libya has joined the Barcelona process for cooperation. [Just Food]

Monday, 6 September, 2004: Police had to intervene twice to stop a Libyan asylum seeker who started cutting himself with a blade at [Malta's] Mount Carmel Hospital. In the first instance, the man was disarmed by the police peacefully, interrogated and then re-admitted to his cell. A few hours later, the police were called again because the man had got another blade and was cutting himself again. When a police inspector and a police sergeant entered his cell, the man threatened them with the blade. However the situation was controlled and the man was rushed to St Luke's Hospital to ascertain whether he had swallowed any blades. [Malta's Independent]
Monday, 6 September, 2004: The United States hopes to wrap up talks this month with Libya that could effectively lead to declaring the once-pariah state free of weapons of mass destruction, a State Department official said. "We are hoping to finish up in September," the official said, referring to ongoing talks with the Libyan government over its December vow renouncing WMDs and agreeing to dismantle its nuclear, chemical and biological warfare programs. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States hoped to tell Tripoli that it had a "reasonable degree of confidence" that Libya had met its December commitments. [AFP]
Monday, 6 September, 2004: Libya set out the contractual framework and tendering terms for oil exploration rights to 15 blocs around the vast desert country as it switches to a transparent bidding process to woo foreign investment for its sanctions-ravaged industry. Some 20 international oil majors took part in the presentation at the Tripoli's Mehari Hotel. A further presentation is to be held in London on September 15 after which companies not already operating in Libya will be required to make a formal expression of interest by September 28. [AFP]
Monday, 6 September, 2004: Police have raided three Swiss-based companies in connection with a probe into a German national suspected of having helped Libya develop nuclear weapons, a media report said on Sunday. Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag said the raids had been carried out at the request of the German authorities and were linked to the activities of the man, Gotthard L., a resident of the northeastern city of St. Gallen active in the nuclear industry. [AFP]
Monday, 6 September, 2004: Mu'ammar el-Qadhafi of Libya is the longest-serving Arab leader - and his country ranks among the most underperforming economies and closed political systems in the Arab region. The recent sudden reversal in Libya's plans to develop WMDs and its massive compensation to the victims of terror attacks reflect a legacy of mistaken policies. Arab countries where leaderships remain for decades are usually characterized by stability with rigidity, leading in most cases to brittle, hollow and underachieving societies. [Daily Star]
Sunday, 5 September, 2004: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is to meet Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in Libya next month, Der Spiegel news magazine reports in its latest edition. It follows the signing of an agreement Friday in which Tripoli agreed to pay 35 million dollars in compensation to victims of a terrorist bombing 18 years ago in Berlin. Der Spiegel quotes Qadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, as saying Schroeder will be in Libya on October 15. A German government spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the report. [DPA]


Saturday, 4 September, 2004: Libya have secured their first home win in the 2006 World Cup group qualifiers with a 4-1 win over Benin in Tripoli. Younes Shebany put the Libyans into the lead in the 10th minute, when he headed in Nader Kara's corner. Although the unmarked Bachirou Osseni headed in the equalizer for Benin two minutes later, second half goals from Nader Kara, Ahmed Osman and Marei Suliman sealed victory for the hosts. The Libyans did not seem to suffer from the absence of their inspirational skipper Tarek El Taieb (photo), who was serving a suspension. [BBC]
Saturday, 4 September, 2004: Libya signed a deal on Friday to pay $35 million in compensation to more than 160 victims of a Berlin nightclub bombing in 1986, taking another major step toward ending its international isolation. The agreement, which was struck last month and is likely to further improve relations between Libya and the European Union, was signed by the head of the Libyan leader Qadhafi's charity foundation and German lawyers representing the victims. The money will be distributed among 168 claimants: Germans who were wounded or suffered psychological damage and the family of a Turkish woman killed in the blast. [Herald Tribune]
Saturday, 4 September, 2004: The United States Friday linked a South African charged under weapons of mass destruction laws with Libya's clandestine nuclear program and Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan's nuclear black market. Johan Andries Muller Meyer, 53, appeared in court Friday on charges of manufacturing nuclear-related material and exporting goods that could be used in developing WMDs. Meyer was remanded in custody until Sept. 8. Within hours the U.S. embassy in Pretoria issued a statement linking him to Libya's nuclear program, which Tripoli disclosed in December 2003 before agreeing earlier this year to a disarmament process. [Reuters]
Saturday, 4 September, 2004: Libya is to kick-start consumerism and private house ownership using this year's predicted record oil revenues, Libya's leader Qadhafi (photo) has announced. "From this year on we must give loans for home building and the creation of agricultural businesses using oil revenues," Qadhafi said during a speech on his 35 years in power. Helped by rising oil prices brought about largely by instability in Iraq, Libya is expected to make some $15 billion from oil exports this year. [AFP]
Saturday, 4 September, 2004: Fifty Egyptians expelled by Italy after they entered the country illegally via Libya arrived back in their own country Friday. The men said they each paid $1,000 to Libyan traffickers to ferry them to Italy aboard fishing boats. Between 200 and 300 Egyptians are being forced to return home from Greece, Italy and Libya every week. Italy accuses Libya of being the main departure point in North Africa for illegal entry into Europe. [AFP]

Statement By The Libyan Demonstrators In London

Friday, 3 September, 2004: The Bush administration is unlikely to further ease sanctions against Libya immediately, frustrating efforts by families of Pan Am Flight 103 victims to collect $1.6 billion more in compensation before a settlement deadline weeks away. The administration is trying to protect the families' interest, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday. But lifting of U.S. sanctions, required in exchange for the Libyan payments, "will be based on our legal requirements, on Libyan behavior and our overall national interests." "We're not at the point yet where we can certify, under the terrorism sanctions, for example, that that behavior had changed completely to the point where we can lift the sanctions," he said. [AP]
Friday, 3 September, 2004: Families of the Lockerbie bombing victims have urged Washington to drop the remaining U.S. sanctions on Libya but U.S. officials said on Thursday this depended on Tripoli keeping its promises to abandon weapons of mass destruction. In a letter dated Aug. 20, the families argued the United States should ease aviation sanctions, resolve the status of hundreds of millions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets and drop Tripoli from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Each of the families of the 270 people killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland stand to receive $10 million if the sanctions are removed by Sept. 22. The payments could be cut to $5 million if the sanctions are not dropped. [Reuters]

Thursday, 2 September, 2004: Libya has appealed to the Chairman of African Union (AU), Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, to investigate the allegation leveled by Mauritania accusing Libya of involvement in an attempted coup about two weeks ago in the northwest African country. Libya was concerned about the allegation and Libyan leader Qadhafi on Tuesday sent a special envoy, Gumar Ahmed, to seek intervention of the AU chairman. [Xinhuanet]
Thursday, 2 September, 2004: Libyan leader Qadhafi said kidnapping foreigners in Iraq is "terrorism" and called for the immediate release of two French journalists held hostage by a militant group in Iraq. Qadhafi, who in recent years has tried to bury his reputation as a sponsor of international terrorism bent on confrontation with the West, also said he regretted decades of tension with the US. He even offered praise for former President Bush in a speech in Sirte on Tuesday, the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 1, 1969 coup that brought him to power. [AP]
Thursday, 2 September, 2004: Central bank of Libya announced extension of period of accepting banknotes which will be withdrawn from circulation. Bank notes of LD.1, 0.50, 0.25 of the first issue , bank notes of LD. 10,5,1,0.50,0.25 of the second & third issues. Last date to accept the withdrown banknotes will be 31 March, 2005. [Liquid Africa]
Thursday, 2 September, 2004: Strong American support to enter Libya in the international trade organization (ITO) from Geneva - this was reported in hall of the building of ITO although since 2001 America strongly objected Libya's request. Member of the American delegates said that our policy is on the basis of each case and periodical circumstances and we encourage libya in international market. [Liquid Africa]
Thursday, 2 September, 2004: One hundred and ninety-six Ghanaian deportees arrived in Accra from Libya on Monday aboard two chartered planes. One hundred forty-five gave themselves up to Libyan security agencies while the remaining were arrested and deported. [GNA]

LLHR: "Libya: No Improvement In The Human Rights Situation"

Wednesday, 1 September, 2004: Libyan leader Qadhafi, easing his country's way back into the international fold, on Tuesday became the first Arab leader to promise compensation for Jews who were forced from their homes due to religious tension. "Any Jew whose home had been taken away has to be compensated or given his home back on the condition that he had not taken away the home of a Palestinian in Palestine," Qadhafi said. Speaking at a rally in his home town of Sirte to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the bloodless coup d'etat that brought him to power, he urged the U.S. to trust him and his drive to reconcile with the West. He also asked Libyans to cement the new image of Libya as a peace-loving country seeking cooperation with the world. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 1 September, 2004: Twnty six years after the disappearance of Lebanese Shia leader Imam Musa al-Sadr, the Libyan government still refuses to give a straight answer about the fate of the Shia ayatollah. However, it is certain that Qadhafi himself is responsible for the kidnapping of Sadr, since the ayatollah had traveled to Libya on the direct invitation of the Libyan leader. Now that Qadhafi has obliquely acknowledged many of his numerous crimes, including the Lockerbie bombing, he should be held accountable to the Muslim community, reveal the exact details about the Sadr kidnapping, and release the great Shia leader. [Tehran Times]
Wednesday, 1 September, 2004: Bulgaria's authorities are trying to speed up the transfer of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya from the Judeyda prison to a special building built for them. Foreign Minister Solomon Passy explained he could not specify an exact date for the transfer. Passy underlined that the efforts of the international society for the saving of the five Bulgarian women are continuing but the results will come out later. [Novinite]
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