News and Views [ April 2005 ]

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Saturday, 30 April, 2005: Former CIA officer Ed Wilson is a free man today after 22 years in prison. He was imprisoned in 1983 when prosecutors presented a CIA affidavit which later was shown to be 'false.' Wilson was convicted of shipping weapons to Libya and selling 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's Libya. He was branded a traitor and a threat to the country. Wilson said he was working with the CIA and that the agency knew and approved of everything he was doing with Libya, including the shipment of the explosives. [ABC]
Saturday, 30 April, 2005: German police have arrested the export head of a company suspected of supplying foreign states with equipment for use in developing missiles, prosecutors said. The investigation is the latest in a series of German probes into the shipment of sensitive technology to third countries. "A spokeswoman confirmed that more than one country was involved. Federal prosecutors announced investigations last year into two Germans and a Swiss citizen suspected of helping Libya obtain nuclear weapons technology. [Reuters]
Friday, 29 April, 2005: Italy's Lower House Speaker Pierferdinando Casini arrived today to the Libyan capital Tripoli on an official visit. He will meet the Speaker of the Libyan Parliament, al-Zenati Mohammed al-Zenati; the Prime Minister, Shukri Ghanem and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Suhaliman Sasi al-Shohumi. The visit is part of a parliamentary diplomatic action taken with the presidents of the legislative assemblies of Mediterranean countries. Among the subject matters will be the problems of Visas for Italian repatriates and clandestine immigration. [AGI]
Friday, 29 April, 2005: The U.S. State Department has kept Libya on the U.S. list of terrorist sponsors. A department report released on Wednesday said Tripoli has cooperated in the U.S.-led war against Al Qaida and related groups, but continues to associate with terrorist groups. The report said Libyan officials financed a plan to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and that Libya continues to be involved in plots against other countries. "Libya remains designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and is still subject to the related sanctions," the annual report, entitled "Country Reports on Terrorism 2004," said. "In 2004, Libya held to its practice in recent years of curtailing support for international terrorism, although there are outstanding questions over its residual contacts with some past terrorist clients." [World Tribune]
Friday, 29 April, 2005: Preparations are underway to convene "Libya International Energy Conference," slated for November 19-21, 2005. The conference, dubbed "The Future of Libya's Oil, Gas, and Power Industries," aims to open up new lucrative investment opportunities and showcase Libya's tremendous economic potential and incentives. It is sponsored by the Committee of Energy, the National Oil Company, the General Electricity Company, and the Great Man- Made River Authority. The event will bring together experts, policymakers, and businessmen from around the world in a three day forum to discuss how to establish strategic partnerships with businessmen and officials and explore joint venture opportunities. [LJBC]
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ALFA: Just For The Record

Thursday, 28 April, 2005: Libya and Sudan improved their cooperation in the war on terrorism last year but remain on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and subject to its sanctions, the State Department said on Wednesday. Releasing its annual report on terrorism, the department said Libya was "instrumental" in last year's handover of Amar Saifi, one of Algeria's most wanted Islamic militant leaders accused in the kidnapping of 32 European tourists. However, the Department cited its "serious concerns" about allegations of a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and it continued to evaluate Libyan promises to stop using violence for political purposes. [Reuters]

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005: A Libyan court delayed until early May the trial of nine Libyan policemen and a doctor charged with torturing five Bulgarian nurses to extract confessions, a Bulgarian official said on Tuesday. The defendants are charged with torturing the nurses to force them into confessing that they deliberately infected hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. "The Libyan court postponed the trial for May 10 after many of the defendants' lawyers were not ready with their pleas after 15-minute hearing," Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Donska said. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 27 April, 2005: A contract handing over a site for implementation of the Tunisian - Libyan joint costums gate in Ras Ejdare, was signed recently between the Costums Authority and Africa Enterprise for Projects in Ras Ejdare region in al Nikat al Khamas Shabya (Municipality). According to JANA, the Secretary of Customs Authority asserted in a speech in the occasion that the singing ceremony of this contract comes within the framework of enhancing integration between Libya and Tunisia in the economic, commercial and organizational fields, ease the flow of goods, and movement of passengers between the two countries. [MENA Report]

Tibra Foundation: "Tibra Beacon: Education Counseling"

Tuesday, 26 April, 2005: Libya is ready to restart military cooperation with the United States, which has been stalled since 1970. The official Libyan news agency, Jana, cited a foreign ministry statement that was in response to a call from a high-ranking American general for the possibility of joint military manoeuvres in their common fight against terrorism. According to the statement, "these comments express a new point of view, and it is well known that the United States and Libya have common military objectives, such as the fight against terrorism and all forms of extremism." The statement also made reference to an earlier interview with General Charles Wald, deputy commander of the American forces in Europe, who said that the United States was hoping for greater cooperation with Libya if Tripoli maintains its promise to renounce the distribution of weapons of mass destruction and end its support of terrorism. [AKI]
Tuesday, 26 April, 2005: Libya is moving slowly but surely into an open-market economy after decades of socialist-style policies. Products from all over the world have become largely available as billboards for Western goods now fill the streets of the capital, Tripoli, and other large Libyan cities. Shopping outlets, previously called cooperatives, are now known as supermarkets and posters promote previously unseen brand names such as "White Westinghouse," "Nokia," and "Carrier." The changes began two years ago after Libya said it would pursue "popular capitalism." The policy was boosted by Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem, a staunch advocate of an open economy. Economic experts say the aim of the new policies is to ensure economic stability and create new sources of income for a country that is heavily dependent on oil. [UPI]
Tuesday, 26 April, 2005: After an official denial by Libya of media reports that it was planning to impose economic sanctions on Bulgaria, President Georgi Purvanov’s office announced that representatives of the Presidency had recently visited Libya. According to the statement, the representatives conveyed to Libyan officials a message from Purvanov to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. “The message expresses hope that a meeting between the two heads of state might pave the way for positive developments in regard to certain important aspects of bilateral relations in the near future,” Purvanov’s media office said. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 26 April, 2005: A judge today discharged for “legal reasons” a jury which had been considering whether two people were involved in a plot to abduct five children from the UK to Libya. Mustapha Abushima, 38, and his wife Wedad Ahmed, 45, both from Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester, are accused of being part of a kidnap gang which snatched the youngsters in Norwich five years ago. During the trial, which began last Tuesday, Norwich Crown Court heard the children were taken from their mother Anita Elgirnazi, 36, on June 10 2000. The prosecution alleges that their Libyan father Azzedin Journazi devised a plan to take them and recruited seven people to help. At the time, Rumaysa was 11, Safiya nine, Ali seven, Hamza four, and Aisha was two. The case will be heard for mention at Norwich Crown Court on May 9. [The Scotsman]

Monday, 25 April, 2005: Among the 104 "full participants" assembled at the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, there was one conspicuous absentee — Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The flambuoyant leader of Libya had reportedly confirmed his decision to attend the meet. Then, he apparently discovered that he was going to be in the capital of world's largest Muslim country and suggested he must lead the prayers at the Grand Mosque on that day. The Indonesias worked out a response in a style that was very diplomatic indeed. A senior government leader in Jakarta conveyed the message that the Indonesian people would be honoured to hear the Libyan leader giving sermon at the Istiqlal Mosque. But, the message said, the moment was perhaps not appropriate as other Muslim leaders would also be at the mosque at the same time to pray. Upon getting this message, Qadhafi chose to stay away. [The Indian Express]
Monday, 25 April, 2005: The Bulgarian Economy Ministry plans to open a trade office in Tripoli, Minister Milko Kovachev announced on Sunday. During his two-day working visit to the country Kovachev held meetings with Libya's Secretary of Economy and Trade Abdel-Qadir Bilkhayr, with Ahmad Fathi ibn Shatwan - Secretary of Energy, and with the head of the Libyan state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC). Both sides shared the opinion that the current business relations between the two countries are insufficient. Minister Kovachev also cleared up the rumours spread that Libya plans to impose a trade embargo on Bulgaria for Sofia's failure to take responsibility for the infection of hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus. [SNA]
Monday, 25 April, 2005: A British resident held at Guantanamo Bay says he has been violently assaulted and mistreated while in US custody there and in Afghanistan, a British newspaper reported on Sunday. Omar Deghayes, 35, also alleged that Pakistani interrogators holding him on behalf of the US beat and terrorised him, The Independent on Sunday reported. Deghayes held refugee status in Britain, where his family fled from Libya in the 1980s. The British government says it has no consular responsibility for him because he is a Libyan citizen. However, a spokesman for the Foreign Office said on Sunday that Britain was making representations to the US on behalf of the families of five British residents being held at Guantanamo Bay. [Daily Times]
Monday, 25 April, 2005: Malta and Libya seem to be heading for a dispute after the North African country suddenly decided to declare a 'Libyan Preservation Fishing Zone' in the Mediterranean. The Libyan government declared that the area of the Mediterranean north of Libyan territorial waters extending 62 miles from the line of the regional sea has been declared as an area of fishing under Libya's sovereignty. The Maltese government has issued a note verbale seeking clarifications with regard to the decree, stating that ... it affects historical fishing grounds of Maltese fishermen who use traditional fishing methods fully consistent with conservation policies. The government has requested the suspension of the application and enforcement of this decree and requested the Libyan counterparts to start a dialogue on co-ordinating a common approach to the preservation of fisheries in the area. [The Sunday Times Of Malta]
Monday, 25 April, 2005: Commercial exchanges between the UAE and Libya exceeded $1 billion in the first quarter of 2005, according to figures released today by the UAE Embassy based in Tripoli. The total trade for the period marks a 25% increase compared to last year, a sign that strong relationships are beginning to build between the two countries following the recent visit to Libya by Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence. [Total]
Sunday, 24 April, 2005: Nuclear weapons-making equipment that was being smuggled to Libya but never arrived is believed to have been diverted to the government of another country rather than to a terrorist group, officials said on Friday. Confirming a report in the Los Angeles Times, officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in another European country said investigations in several countries have yet to locate the missing material. The investigators concluded that there is a strong likelihood that the sophisticated material was sold to an unidentified customer by members of the network of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the officials said. [Daily Times]
Sunday, 24 April, 2005: Green Party MP Mauro Bulgarelli has submitted a parliamentary petition to the Prime Minister's office and to the Interior Minister asking them to disclose the contents of a number of immigration agreements stipulated with Libya. "Unsettling revelations concerning the living conditions of immigrants sheltered in Libyan camps such as the one in Fellah, which was recently the subject of a EU parliament visit", said Mr Bulgarelli, "confirm that the government policy of deportation (of immigrants) is illegal. We'd like to know whether under the terms of these elusive agreements Italy is allocating funds to Libya destined to construct such horrors, in which case Italy would have turned into a full-blown partner in a crime". [AGI]
Sunday, 24 April, 2005: Bulgaria's Minister of Economy Milko Kovachev started Saturday a two-day visit to Libya, aimed to restore economic ties with the oil-rich state. The future of Bulgaria's Communist-time oil concessions in Libya is expected to be the centerpiece of the talks. Libya was a major economic partner of Bulgaria during the Cold War, but ties sagged after it ended and Sofia set out on a pro-Western path. The bilateral relations are also soured by death sentences Libya has handed to five Bulgarian nurses after convicting them of intentionally causing an AIDS outbreak. Bulgaria says the nurses are innocent and wants Libya to free them. [BNN]
Saturday, 23 April, 2005: Ghana and Libya have completed a deal to start a massive mango, lime and soya beans plantations at Sogakope in the Volta Region. This is under a plan of action set by the Ghana Libyan Arab Holding Company (GLAHCO). The project to be commenced this year would ensure that the products are semi processed into cakes for marketing in Libya where huge market for the products has been secured. [Ghana Web]
Saturday, 23 April, 2005: The Libyan Football Association has accepted to host Malawi's Flames for a week next month enroute to Morocco for their World Cup/Africa Cup qualifier against the Atlas Lions on June 5. Fam general secretary Roosevelt Mpinganjira said the Libyans have also accepted to play a match against the Flames. "We wrote them requesting for a friendly match in preparation for the game against Morocco and they have accepted. They have also offered to host us for six days from May 25 to 30," said Mpinganjira. [The Nation]

Friday, 22 April, 2005: Restoring military ties with Libya would greatly benefit U.S. efforts to counter the forces of instability in northern Africa, a senior U.S. general said Thursday. Gen. Charles Wald, deputy commander of European Command, whose area of responsibility includes much of Africa, said in an Associated Press interview that he favors restoring military relations as long as Libya satisfies the US that it has renounced terrorism. "I think it's going to happen," he said. Wald said he believes Libya and nearly every North African nation is interested in better relations with Washington, in part because they share a concern about Islamic extremism. [AP]
Friday, 22 April, 2005: The families of victims of the 1986 U.S. air strikes on Libya Thursday urged U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to help them get compensation. A committee representing the families handed a memorandum to the U.N. office in Tripoli, stressing their right to seek compensation for human and material losses they incurred as a result of the strikes on the Libyan capital and Benghazi. "We urge you to relay this memo to the concerned parties for the sake of humanity and human rights," the memorandum said. [UPI]

Thursday, 21 April, 2005: Libya has expressed its readiness to welcome Bulgaria's Economy Minister Milko Kovachev April 23 or 24, it appeared on Wednesday. Earlier in the month it was reported that Minister Kovachev is to hold a meeting with the head of the Libyan state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC). The announcement of the visit came at a time when media claimed that Libya plans to impose a trade embargo on Bulgaria for what it calls Sofia's failure to take responsibility for the infection of hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus. [SNA]

Wednesday, 20 April, 2005: Five children at the centre of custody battle were abducted from their home in Britain and taken to Libya in a “complex” and “murky” operation, a jury was told today. The youngsters – who remain in Libya after being illegally snatched in Norwich five years ago – were at the centre of a custody battle between their separated parents, Norwich crown court heard. Their Libyan father Azzedin Journazi devised a plan to illegally steal them from their English mother, Anita Elgirnazi, 36, who had been given custody by a judge, said John Farmer, prosecuting. Journazi recruited seven people to help him spirit Rumaysa, then 11, Safiya , then nine, Ali, then seven, Hamza, then four, and Aisha , then two, out of Dover then through France and Spain, said Mr Farmer. Two of the group allegedly recruited to take the children were today on trial accused of conspiring with Azzedin Journazi, Habib Budeeb, Djamel Beghal, Omar Ben Hamed and Carole Ben Hamed to abduct the five children. [The Scotsman]

Tuesday, 19 April, 2005: A recent trip to Libya showed that it remains a police state dominated by a personality cult. Col. Qadhafi's portrait was everywhere, and tourists were warned of severe penalties for criticizing the leadership. A policemen rode on our bus, and it was inspected at frequent roadblocks even though tour buses are supposed to be exempt from such checks. Last December Libya blocked a visit by a human-rights group. It seems clear from reports from such bodies as Amnesty International that a pattern of abuse of human rights continues in the country. Libyan authorities' having failed to investigate past abuses, a climate of fear persists in the country. Political prisoners are kept incommunicado and some intellectuals have been executed. Women in Libya are probably better off than in some other Muslim countries, but they do not appear to be treated as well as men. [The Japan Times]
Tuesday, 19 April, 2005: Libya is facing the problem of unemployment which reached according to some estimates 15%, at a time that the state's administrative department is not able to hire more employees as the number of workers in it reached one fifth of the population. This, however, pushed the Libyan authorities to tighten measures concerning foreign labor force in Libya. The IMF recommended Libya in March to use oil revenues expected to be achieved at the medium range or allocate part of it to finance investment by human resources, and to make structural reforms including rehabilitating of public sector projects and civil services. [Arabic News]
Tuesday, 19 April, 2005: Bulgaria has sent Libyan leader Qadhafi a letter aimed at easing tensions over the case of five Bulgarian nurses awaiting execution in Libya. An official source told UPI Monday Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov had sent the letter via two of his advisers. It was delivered to Mohammed Siyala, a senior official in the Libyan foreign ministry. The content of the letter was not immediately clear although analysts have speculated it may contain a proposal for a joint meeting to sort the matter out. Bulgaria's SEGA newspaper reported Monday Parvanov would probably visit Libya in June. The five nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death last May for deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. [UPI]

Monday, 18 April, 2005: Croatia's Ilija Loncarevic has signed a one-year contract to take charge of Libya just nine months after being sacked from the post. The 60-year-old was surprisingly dismissed last July, shortly after guiding the Libyans to a 1-0 victory in Sudan. Yet following a meeting in Tripoli with Mohammed al-Qadhafi, head of the interim committee that is currently managing the affairs of the Libyan Football Federation (LFF), Loncarevic has returned to the vacant post. The former coach of Croatia champions Dinamo Zagreb succeeds Mohamed El-Khemisy, who resigned after a 4-1 defeat to Egypt last month. [BBC]
Monday, 18 April, 2005: Pakistan and Libya have expressed the desire to enhance cooperation in various fields of defence sector. The resolve to this effect was expressed during a meeting between a visiting Libyan defence delegation, led by Deputy Chief of Libyan Armed Forces Maj-Gen Abdul-Rehman Al-Said, and Pakistan Ordnance Factories Chairman Maj-Gen Mohammad Javed on Saturday. The POF chairman briefed the delegation on the capability and potential of the organization consisting 14 arms and ammunition factories. [Dawn]
Monday, 18 April, 2005: US Deputy Minister of Defence Paul Wolfowitz got interested in the fate of the Bulgarian nurses accused of knowingly having infected 400 Libyan children with the HIV. Paul Wolfowitz has raised the question on the fate of the nurses during his talks with Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Milen Velchev who is in Washington to participate in the spring meeting of the governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Wolfowitz has also inquired if Bulgaria discusses the achievement of some kind of agreement with Libya and whether the USA can, in any way, help Bulgaria solve the problem. [FIA]

Sunday, 17 April, 2005: Robert Mugabe celebrates tomorrow 25 years in power, placing him firmly within the pantheon of the living "great dictators", who have seen off generations of political leaders in democracies. The Zimbabwean ruler has some way to go to catch the current leader in the dictatorial longevity stakes. Castro is in his 47th year as President of Cuba. Qadhafi of Libya has notched up 36 years of rule. [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 17 April, 2005: Bulgarian Minister of Economy Milko Kovachev will visit Libya on April 23 and 24, Darik Radio reported. He denied the information that his visit was related to the claims that Libya would lay a trade embargo on Bulgaria. Minister Kovachev emphasized that the visit had been prepared for more than a month. He added that the talks would be focused on the economic cooperation between the two countries. [FIA]

The Baltimore Sun: Same Old Qadhafi

Saturday, 16 April, 2005: The European Union defended on Thursday its intention to cooperate with former pariah state Libya to stem the flow of illegal migrants entering Europe, saying all joint action would respect human rights. The EU has come under criticism from human rights groups, the UN' refugee agency and EU lawmakers over proposals to offer Tripoli financial help to stop migrants from Sub-Sahara reaching Europe. The decision to work together with Libya is also likely to complicate the EU's relations with Bulgaria, seeking to join the bloc, over the fate of five Bulgarian nurses who have been sentenced to death by a Libyan court. But EU president Luxembourg said that cooperating with Libya could boost human rights in Libya and convince Tripoli to allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to work inside the county. [Reuters]
Saturday, 16 April, 2005: Pakistan basketball team suffered third straight defeat, this time against Libya, by 93-45 in what could be termed as yet another poor show in the First Islamic Solidarity Games event in Madinah late Monday night. Compared to Libya, Pakistan players were enjoying the height advantage but it was the poor finishing, unimpressive tackling and erratic scoring skills that cost them the match. Pakistan were no where near the quality of play the Libyans displayed in the third quarter. [The News International]
Saturday, 16 April, 2005: The Ambassador of France to Libya visited on Thursday Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's residence in the Basic Peoples Congress of Dar Mu'ammar in Sabha, where student Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi used to live when he was studying in Fezzan schools. [JANA]
Saturday, 16 April, 2005: The participants in the scientific seminar organized by the Faculty of Arts, Gar Younis University, under the theme; "Higher Education; Reality and Aspirations" recommended the need to comply with scientific criteria, when selecting university lecturers, and link their promotions to their scientific contributions in the field of their studies. [JANA]
Saturday, 16 April, 2005: Parliamentary consultations over draft declaration meant to support Bulgarian medics on trial in Libya have flopped after MPs failed to reach consensus on its role. According to Valeri Tsekov, deputy chairman of the majority parliamentary group of SIINM, the talks have come to a dead end after Libya officially denied media-reported plans to impose trade embargo on Bulgaria. This means there is no urgent need to flag such declaration, Tsekov said. Diplomats have urged Bulgarian institutions to withhold from adopting any straightforward declarations to leave the door opened for more diplomatic support for the medics. [SNA]
Saturday, 16 April, 2005: "There now are ships going to exotic ports all over the place," says Anne Campbell, editor of the newsletter "It's been a big swing since after 9/11, when nobody was going anywhere." Among the off-the-beaten-path destinations popping up on itineraries for the next year ... Libya: The rush is on now that relations have warmed with the North African nation, which is famous for its archaeological ruins. Silversea plans four stops this year and nine in 2006. Costa Cruises begins visits in September. Two Oceania ships, the Regatta and Insignia, arrive for the first time in November. MSC Cruises also introduces port calls in November, and Seabourn, Radisson and Crystal plan first stops next year. [USA Today]
Saturday, 16 April, 2005: Libya is planning to invest some of the billions of dollars it earns each year from oil and gas in the acquisition of stakes in German industrial companies, the son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi said. [AFP]
Saturday, 16 April, 2005: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met with the second son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, offering to help Libya undertake economic reforms in light of its 2003 decision to scrap its weapons of mass destruction. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 16 April, 2005: A suspected al-Qaeda terrorist who killed a police officer has been convicted of plotting to spread the deadly poison ricin in London, UK. Police believe Kamel Bourgass hatched his poison plot in al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. The 31-year-old has also been convicted of murdering a Special Branch officer who went to arrest him. Eight other north Africans have been cleared of any role in the plot. The men - seven Algerians and a Libyan - were among 100 people arrested in a countrywide anti-terrorism sweep in 2003. [Sky News]

Friday, 15 April, 2005: The American administration has set for itself an enormous challenge: according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the top priority of the Bush administration is stabilizing the Middle East. Undoubtedly, this challenge will require a firm commitment on the part of the U.S. administration. We want to see them succeed in this endeavor and therefore, we suggest that they focus on the following [five] pillars of Middle East stability: ... [2.] Get tough on Libya: nothing kills a policy more than cynicism, and nothing inspires cynicism more than hypocrisy in American foreign policy. One of the most hypocritical policy approaches of late is the U.S.-sponsored "laundering" of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and his regime. Why isn't America pushing Qadhafi, the longest-serving unelected leader in the region, to implement reforms and hold free elections? [The Daily Star]
Friday, 15 April, 2005: Libya said Thursday it deserves compensation for U.S. attacks on Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986. In a commentary on the 19th anniversary of the U.S. strike, the official Libyan News Agency, JANA, said Libyans "have the right for compensation from those who have claimed the lives of many of their children, women and elderly." At the same time, JANA said Libya is ready to develop relations with the United States. [UPI]
Friday, 15 April, 2005: 15 April, 1986: US launches air strikes on Libya. At least 100 people have died after USA planes bombed targets in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and the Benghazi region. Around 66 American jets, some of them flying from British bases launched an attack at around 0100hrs on Monday. The White House spokesman, Larry Speakes, has said that the strike was directed at key military sites but reports suggest that missiles also hit Bin Ashur, a densely populated suburb in Tripoli. Colonel Qadhafi residential compound took a direct hit that killed Hanna al-Qadhafi, the adopted baby daughter of the Libyan leader. President Reagan has justified the attacks by accusing Libya of direct responsibility for terrorism aimed at America, such as the bombing of La Belle discoteque in West Berlin 10 days ago. [BBC]
Friday, 15 April, 2005: Libya has become a jumping off point for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants seeking to enter the EU, according to a detailed report seen by ministers last night. The report was compiled for EU interior ministers who are debating plans to step up co-operation and technical assistance to Libya to help it police its 2,750 miles of border and 1,100 miles of coastline. The document, compiled by a European Commission team that visited the country, argued that the authorities in the Libyan capital were unable to manage the large population flows. There are between 750,000 and 1.2 million illegal immigrants in the country. "The Libyan authorities recognise that flows in and out of Libya are poorly controlled and not well known. Each year, between 75,000 and 100,000 foreigners enter Libya," it says. [The Independent]
Friday, 15 April, 2005: European parliamentarians voted narrowly to call on Italy to stop deporting illegal immigrants to Libya, saying that they risked ill treatment there and possible death back home. A motion carried by a single vote called on Rome "to desist from collective expulsions of asylum-seekers and 'irregular migrants' to Libya" following the mass deportation last month of 180 illegal immigrants from the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. According to the European Parliament Libya "is not a signatory to the Geneva convention (on refugees) ..., does not have an asylum system, does not offer a real guarantee of refugees' rights and practises arbitrary arrest." [AFP]
Friday, 15 April, 2005: Two representatives of the Bulgarian President will leave for Libya in the next few days. The Presidents' office confirmed the information for FOCUS News Agency. [FNA]
Friday, 15 April, 2005: Libya has not planned, or decided to impose a trade embargo on Bulgaria, Libyan diplomatic officials have assured Bulgarian Ambassador. Ambassador Zdravko Velev was invited Thursday at Libyan Foreign Affairs Ministry to discuss media information circulated earlier this week that Libya would introduce trade barriers for the denial of Sofia to take responsibility of the AIDS plague on more than 400 children. Reuters announced Tuesday as quoting an anonymous Libyan official that Libya will boycott Bulgarian companies and shut the doors of all investment and trade opportunities for Bulgarian companies because Sofia has ignored demands to take responsibility for the action of its citizens in the HIV case. [SNA]
Friday, 15 April, 2005: Malta and Libya are drawing up a common paper on illegal migration to be presented at the 5+5 meeting of countries bordering the Mediterranean in June, Foreign Minister Michael Frendo told the European and Foreign Affairs Committee. The 5+5 is this year being presided by Malta. Addressing the committee he had over the past few weeks, Dr Frendo said that Malta's relations with Libya were excellent and continuing to improve. He said that Libya was concerned about the illegal migration issue. Malta was now formulating a draft paper, which was to be discussed with Libya at a later stage. [The Times Of Malta]

Thursday, 14 April, 2005: The European Union will discuss how the bloc and Libya can cooperate to stem the flow of illegal migrants from Africa when justice and interior ministers meet on Thursday. "The [EU] Commission has drawn up a report with a number of recommendations for cooperation," one EU diplomat said. The proposals from the EU executive, which include financial aid to help Tripoli deal with migrants and refugees coming from Sub-Saharan Africa, have caused alarm among rights groups which accuse Libya of trampling on human rights. "The European Union must recognise that in Libya there is effectively no guarantee of refugee rights," said Dick Oosting, director of Amnesty International's EU office. "People forcibly returned to Libya from Europe risk degrading detention conditions and further expulsion to countries where they may face imprisonment and torture," he said in a statement. [Reuters]
Thursday, 14 April, 2005: Three Dallas-area [USA] brothers were convicted Wednesday of supporting terrorism by funneling money to a high-ranking official in the militant Palestinian group Hamas.Ghassan and Bayan Elashi and their company were found guilty of all 21 federal counts they faced: conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in property of a terrorist. Basman Elashi was convicted of three counts of conspiracy but acquitted of the other charges. The three Elashis and two of their brothers were convicted last year on charges of making illegal technology shipments to Libya and Syria, countries the U.S. considers state sponsors of terrorism. [AP]
Thursday, 14 April, 2005: The Bulgarian Embassy in Tripoli has contacted Wednesday the Libyan Foreign Ministry over the rumoured trade embargo on Bulgaria. Bulgarian officials in Tripoli have sent a diplomatic note asking for further information on the statement, made by an anonymous governmental official as quoted by Reuters on Tuesday. According to the official, Libya intends to make this step as a response to what the country calls Sofia's failure to take responsibility for the infection of hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus. Bulgaria's Envoy to Tripoli Zdravko Velchev is expecting a response and an appointment for a meeting with high-ranking government officials to discuss the bilateral relations between the two countries. [SNA]
Thursday, 14 April, 2005: [Libyan leader Qadhafi] has met with President Museveni of Uganda, who arrived in Libya on Thursday. The AU process and ways and means to promote its structure were discussed during the meeting which was attended by General Mustafa al-Kharobi. [LJBC]
Thursday, 14 April, 2005: The Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) is joining forces with Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) to promote UAE trade and tourism at an official exhibition in Libya. The three bodies will combine their expertise as joint-organisers of 'UAE in Libya', which is being held in Tripoli from 27-30 November to reinforce business links between the two countries. [AME]
Wednesday, 13 April, 2005: Libya is to impose a trade and investment embargo on Bulgaria for what it calls Sofia's failure to take responsibility for the infection of hundreds of Libyan children with HIV, a government official said yesterday. "Libya will boycott Bulgarian companies and shut the doors of all investment and trade opportunities for Bulgarian companies because the Bulgarian government has ignored demands to take responsibility for the action of its citizens in the HIV case," the official told Reuters. The official, who did not want to be identified, also cited pressure on the authorities from the families of the infected children for Tripoli's move against Sofia. He did not say when the embargo would become effective. "The boycott decision was also prompted by the Bulgarian government's campaign to tarnish Libya's image," he added. [The Guardian]
Wednesday, 13 April, 2005: Mohammed al-Qadhafi has been named to head an interim committee that will manage the affairs of the Libyan Football Federation (LFF). The decision was made after the decision of Al-Saadi, who is his brother, to resign as the federation's president last month. This led to the suspension of the Libyan championship. Son of Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the new head of the LFF also heads the country's National Olympic Committee. Tuhami Wahid was named Vice-President, while Abdulmagid Abushwesha kept his post as the General Secretary. Ahmed El-Yazidi has been named the LFF's treasurer. [BBC]
Wednesday, 13 April, 2005: Amnesty International (AI) has today issued a briefing paper on the deplorable treatment of refugees and illegal immigrants in Libya in the lead up to this week's discussion at EU level about enhancing co-operation with Libya on illegal immigration. In its briefing paper, AI outlines its concerns about the EU and its Member States developing "ad hoc" cooperation mechanisms with Libya on illegal immigration without adequate human rights safeguards. "This would in fact undermine the credibility of the EU's own 'Barcelona Process' with Mediterranean countries which, among other things, aims to enhance the respect for human rights throughout the region". "If the EU is to engage with Libya, the dialogue and cooperation at EU level should, as a minimum, include clear human rights conditionality." [AmnestyUsa]

Tuesday, 12 April, 2005: Crude oil fell for a sixth day, the longest decline since October 2003, on signs that refiners will have sufficient supply to make gasoline during the peak demand months of summer. OPEC raised its production target by 500,000 barrels a day on March 16 and said it would consider another 500,000 barrels. A Libyan official said that an output boost would be inappropriate because there is sufficient supply. "We see that the market is very well supplied, and we've seen the prices going down since last week," Hammouda El-Aswad, Libya's governor to the OPEC, said in a telephone interview from Tripoli today. "There is no need for any additional oil. It's more a refining problem than anything else." [Bloomberg]
Tuesday, 12 April, 2005: A senior World Health Organization official on Monday blasted Libya for sentencing to death five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor on charges of causing an AIDS outbreak. WHO director for Europe Marc Danzon called the conviction of the medics "improper." "It's improper to use health against freedom," Danzon told the private bTV channel. The medics are appealing death sentences a court in the city of Benghazi handed them almost one year ago on charges of intentionally injecting more than 400 children at a local hospital with blood contaminated with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. [BNN]
Tuesday, 12 April, 2005: In the last two weeks, two non-senior US officials indirectly called on Israel to start planning on cancelling its nuclear weapons programs. Applying pressure on Israel now does make sense because it would capitalize on the momentum achieved in Iraq and Libya, which has direct bearings on the credibility of telling Iran to stop what it is doing. Both Libya and Iraq have recently disarmed, Libya voluntarily in what's cited as a major coup d'etat for the International Atomic Energy Agency and UK and US diplomats. Israel's nuclear weapons also are the pretext for Arab nations to continue their efforts to create a nuclear device and their disposal would create trust. [GP]

Monday, 11 April, 2005: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Paul Simmons began talks Sunday with senior Libyan officials on bilateral oil and gas cooperation. Officials in Tripoli said Simmons, who arrived in the country Friday, held talks with Energy Minister Fathi bin Shatwan and Economic Minister Abdul Qader Khair. They said the talks focused on expanding joint investments to develop Libya's oil industry and increased bilateral economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. Officials told UPI Libya wants to develop cooperation with the US to enable it to meet its targeted oil production of 3 million barrels per day by 2010. Libya last year granted American oil firms most of the country's oil drilling contracts. [UPI]
Monday, 11 April, 2005: British diplomats have described as "unsurprising" Libya’s decision to withdraw half a billion dollars from an account meant to pay compensation to Lockerbie bombing victims’ families. The money was removed from an escrow account in Switzerland last week by the Libyan central bank, in protest at the US State Department’s refusal to remove Libya from a list of states considered to support terrorism. Removal from the list was set down as the criterion for payment of a final tranche of compensation to the families as part of a wider agreement reached in 2003. Libya has already paid each family $8 million in compensation for the 1988 bombing. The final tranche would be worth about $2 million for each family, but UK officials said there had never been much serious expectation that the money would be paid. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 11 April, 2005: Libya could be offered European Union (EU) funds and personnel to help it deal with the tens of thousands of migrants passing through its territory as they try to reach the EU. European officials could train workers on Libya's porous borders and supply Tripoli with expertise and software for its understaffed visa processing efforts, seen as key to its ability to manage migratory flows. The suggestions, to be put by the European Commission to justice ministers on Thursday, follow requests from member states for Brussels to co-ordinate moves to assess migrants and asylum seekers before they reach the EU. [FT]
Monday, 11 April, 2005: A summit meeting on Sudan's Darfur issue in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt has been postponed from April 20 to late April or sometime in May, Egypt's official MENA reported. The mini-summit, that was supposed to be attended by leaders from Egypt, Chad, Libya, Nigeria, Gabon and Sudan, was postponed at the request of some the leaders who said they would have no time to go to Egypt next week because of they had other engagements. [Xinhua]

Sunday, 10 April, 2005: The Libyan Central Bank has withdrawn half a billion dollars (£277 million) from an escrow account meant for relatives of people killed in the downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the country's official news agency [JANA] reported. A bank official, quoted by JANA on Friday night, did not give a reason for the withdrawal of the money, intended for a final instalment of two million dollars per family. Libya, which has acknowledged responsibility for the bombing, has already paid each family £4.4 million in compensation after the US and UN agreed to lift sanctions. But the US State Department has not removed Libya from its list of states that sponsor terrorism – the condition Libya set for the final payment. A US State Department spokeswoman, Joanne Moore, had no comment last night. [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 10 April, 2005: An influential American magazine has published an article about the Bulgarian medics case in Libya. The publication Science Magazine, cited by Bulgarian media, stresses on the fact that the court neglected experts' testimonies that freed the medics from blame. Western experts were also cited as saying that the trial against the Bulgarians has been unfair. About six years ago, the medics were arrested on charges of deliberately infecting 400 Libyan children with HIV. The medics were working at a hospital in Benghazi. Nevertheless, last May court pronounced five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor guilty. The six are appealing against the death sentences. [SNA]
ALFA : Letter To US President George W. Bush

Saturday, 9 April, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammer al-Qadhafi has ruled that Italians expelled from the country 34 years ago who are under the age of 65 will not be allowed to return to Libya, provoking an angry reaction from the Italian government, who claims the ruling is "unacceptable", "discriminatory" and at odds with an earlier announcement that all Italians who settled in Libya after World War Two would be allowed to return. Italy's foreign minister Gianfranco Fini summoned Libya's charge d'affaires to the foreign ministry yesterday, and Tripoli was asked to withdraw the ruling - which the Italian government has learned of with profound shock and dismay," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday. Some 20,000 Italians who had settled in Libya after World War II were expelled when Gaddafi came to power in 1970. [AKI]
Saturday, 9 April, 2005: Although Libya is one of Africa's wealthiest countries, years of political isolation and international sanctions have dealt a serious blow to its science sector. Now, Libyan doctor Mustafa Eteer's dream of bringing modern medical science to his country could be realised as work begins on the construction of a US$100 million medical science complex near the capital Tripoli. The centre's 100 scientists will focus on malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. It will have its own diagnostic laboratory, both generating income and reducing the high costs of sending blood samples abroad for testing, as is currently done. Eteer says control of the centre will be handed over to a Westerner, in order to escape local political pressures. [SciDev]
Saturday, 9 April, 2005: Libya on Friday deposited with the UN its decision to declare the areas to the north of its territorial waters, that extend up to 62 nautical miles into the sea starting from the territorial sea line, a fishing area that falls under its jurisdiction and sovereignty. In a letter to the Secretary-General, Libyan Charge d'affaires Ahmed Own said the decision emanated from his country's commitment to "protect the marine environment and to preserve its marine living resources, and in contributing to guarantee a rational and sustainable exploitation which seeks to protect fisheries from illegal, unorganized and undeclared fishing." Own said Libya's decision is in conformity with int'l law, protocols and conventions. [KUNA]

Friday, 8 April, 2005: Libyana, a Libyan state-run mobile phone operator, has signed a $38.5 million mobile phone network deal with China's number two telecoms equipment maker ZTE Corp. , a senior manager at Libyana has disclosed. "The deal will help Libyana expand its network, with a high quality service," Mohamed Ben Ayad told Reuters. Libyana is Libya's second-largest mobile phone operator which competes against Madar, another state-owned operator. Libyana's subscribers have hit 186,000 since it launched its operation last May. It seeks to expand the number of subscribers to more than 2.4 million in Tripoli and 45 other cities and towns in the near future, the manager was quoted as saying by the international news agency. [Mena Report]
Friday, 8 April, 2005: Stung by the lapses of intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs, a top U.S. diplomat insisted Thursday that Washington has concrete evidence North Korean nuclear material went to Libya's since shuttered atomic arms operation. He warned that North Korea's cash-strapped communist regime could still be a risk for a further spread of atomic arms technology and materials. Christopher Hill, the main U.S. envoy on the North Korea nuclear standoff, told The Associated Press that even though Libya got the nuclear material from a Pakistani black market nuclear network, the North Koreans must have known where their material would end up. [AP]
Friday, 8 April, 2005: Bulgarian President Parvanov has declared readiness to leave for Libya and meet its Leader and other state officials. At a press conference held Thursday along with his Serbian guest Boris Tadic, the President said he was set to talk to Libya's official institutions and Col. Qadhafi. The statement came in response to Libyan invitation last month. It occurred amid the scandal with the mistranslation of Qadhafi's speech during a world forum swearing that he would not release the Bulgarian nurses. Parvanov told journalists that there were two main issues concerning the AIDS trial in Libya - on one side, hundreds of HIV infected children, and on the other side, the five Bulgarian medics sentenced to death. [SNA]

Thursday, 7 April, 2005: As the embargo is being dropped, Italy is in the frontline of countries vying to get a share of Libya's wealth. Which is why Deputy Minister of Productive Activities in charge of foreign trade, Adolfo Urso, is currently on an official visit to Tripoli along with representatives from over 250 Italian medium and small-sized firms. Their first stop is Tripoli's Int'l Exhibition, followed by a workshop arranged by Simest, a company dealing with foreign trade. During his two days' stay, Mr Urso will meet with Libya's PM Shukri Ghanem, Finance Minister Elkheir and Deputy Foreign Minister Siala. "Libya is about to launch a major development and privatization plan", said Mr Urso, "so the time to invest is pretty much now. [AGI]
Thursday, 7 April, 2005: South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction has won a $270 million order from Qatar to build the country’s largest desalinization plant. The world’s No. 1 desalinization plant manufacturer will construct the plant by May 2008 to provide 270,000 tons of fresh water a day. Doosan expects record orders from Middle East countries this year. It won a $6.5 million order to build a desalinization plant in Libya in February. [The Korea Times]

Wednesday, 6 April, 2005: A strong protest from the Italian Repatriates Association from Libya (AIRL) towards the Italian government which in Tripoli did not honour its commitment to "grant tourist visas" to those who were sent away after the accession of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. In a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Gianfranco Fini, AIRL president Giovanna Ortu asks if it was an "April fool's joke". It was on April 1 that the Libyan consulate in Rome placed "on a billboard an announcement that subordinates the granting visas to those who were born in Libya on the condition that they are over 65 years of age", in opposition to what was announced last October 7. On the eve of the visit to Tripoli of Foreign Commerce Vice Minister Adolfo Urso, AIRL lamented that the government disappointed the repatriates denying funds promised for compensation claims and the restoration of the Tripoli cemetery, and now with the "visa farce". [AGI]
Wednesday, 6 April, 2005: North Korea needs to be encouraged with incentives to abandon its nuclear programs, like Libya was, and not just pushed, a son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Tuesday. Libya pledged to abandon WMDs in December 2003, after which the US revoked an embargo and the European Union lifted sanctions. "It's not fair all the time just to press, to push N. Korea," said Seif al-Islam Qadhafi, 32, on a visit to Japan in connection with a Libyan art exhibition that includes some of his own paintings. "It's like a tango, a dance, with two parts," he told a news conference. "We have to ask the other side to give more guarantees, more incentives." Qadhafi said Libya made a strategic choice to abandon its illicit arms programs because it became clear that doing so was to its advantage". [Reuters]
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Tuesday, 5 April, 2005: According to the Lonely Planet guide to Libya, by Anthony Ham, winter is ‘the most pleasant time to visit', and I agree. As I sat listening to Zdravko Georgiev describe how he and his wife Kristiyana were tortured by the Libyan police, I longed to open the window and let in the cool breeze that blows off the Mediterranean in the evening. Before Lonely Planet came to the rescue, the only reliable overview of Libya had been Amnesty International's annual human rights report. Prospective tourists-expected to pour in now that sanctions have been lifted-will be pleased by this alternative to Amnesty's dry prose. I was lucky to visit Libya as a journalist in December 2004 and put Mr. Ham's guide to the test. Although ‘torture' does not appear in the index of the Lonely Planet guide, nine pages are devoted to the coastal town of Benghazi where Zdravko and Kristiyana were arrested [and tortured]. [Novinite]

Monday, 4 April, 2005: Mohamed El-Khemsy has quit his post as coach of the Libyan national team. El-Khemsy, who guided Libya to two home victories against Benin and Egypt in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, made the announcement in the wake of their recent 4-1 loss to Egypt in Cairo. "I'm doing the normal thing after this result," said El-Khemsy, who has been criticised in the local media for the heavy defeat to their North African neighbours. The defeat saw Libya slip from second to fourth in Group Three. [BBC]
Monday, 4 April, 2005: Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said that Libya was trying to win the approval of OPEC to raise its production quota within the cartel. Libya "is trying to convince OPEC to revise its production quota," Ghanem told reporters. Earlier this year Libya granted 15 exploration licences to oil firms, with US companies getting the lion's share, for the first time in 40 years. "Libya wants to increase its production but it also wants to maintain stability on the markets," Ghanem said. Libya produces 1.4 million barrels of oil per day but hopes to increase it to three million bpd by 2010, Ghanem said. [AFP]
Monday, 4 April, 2005: Egypt will host a mini-African summit on the crisis in Sudan's western Darfur region on April 20 at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, an Egyptian foreign ministry official said Sunday. "Leaders from five African countries, namely Chad, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan, will meet to discuss the situation in Darfur," he said. Leaders from the five countries held a summit in the Libyan capital Tripoli last October, during which they vowed to resolve the Darfur crisis within an African framework and rejected any external interference. [Xinhua]

CPD Calls On Libya To Free Imprisoned Democracy Activist

The Sun: Libya May Be Hiding Germs, Chemicals, Report Warns

Sunday, 3 April, 2005: Days after a commission blasted U.S. intelligence agencies, President Bush is pledging to fix the system. The president promises in his weekly radio address to correct what needs to be fixed but he's also stressing that intelligence agencies have scored some successes recently. Bush points to the uncovering of Libya's nuclear weapons program and the crackdown on sales of nuclear technology from Pakistan. The president says it's impossible to guarantee perfect security. But he also says U-S intelligence must reform, because the consequences of underestimating a threat are too large. [AP]
Sunday, 3 April, 2005: South Korea has agreed to sign a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with Libya after the two narrowed their differences on a range of details, officials said Saturday. Seoul has pushed for such a treaty with the African nation since 1999, in a bid to use Libya as an advanced base for Korean firms seeking to do business in Africa, as well as to better protect Korean investors there. [Yonhap]

Saturday, 2 April, 2005: Since entering a deal to abandon its nuclear program at the end of 2003, the Libyan government has been less than forthcoming about the scope of its biological and chemical weapons programs. That is one conclusion in a massive report released yesterday by a bipartisan commission originally tasked to examine the failure of the American intelligence community to accurately predict the extent of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. The report's disclosure that Tripoli has failed to fully disclose its likely smaller chemical and biological weapons programs is apace with the regime's recent failures to meet the president's expectations for political reform. The Sun reported last month that a report from Physicians for Human Rights asserted that Libyan human rights activist and opposition leader Fathi al-Jahmi is dangerously ill and has not been afforded proper medical care in prison. [The New York Sun]
Saturday, 2 April, 2005: French Junior Trade Minister Francois Loos will pay a two-day visit to Libya April 2-3 to take part in a business fair and meet with senior officials, the French Foreign Ministry said. The visit by Loos is aimed at building upon the goodwill established by President Jacques Chirac, who paid an official visit to Tripoli last November. France had excellent ties with Libya until the two nations fought an almost proxy war in Chad during the 1980s and French planes downed several Libyan fighters in skirmishes. Six Libyan intelligence agents, including a relative of Mu'ammer al-Qadhafi, were also convicted in a French court of having sabotaged a French civilian airliner in 1989, killing 170 people, an incident that soured relations for almost 15 years. But Libya has now paid what some say is "acceptable" compensation to the families of the French plane bombing and has also made amends with the United States and Britain over a similar plane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, where 270 people died in 1988. [KUNA]

Friday, 1 April, 2005: Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi has resigned as president of the Libyan Football Federation (LFF). Al-Saadi's decision, which follows a 4-1 loss to Egypt in last Sunday's World Cup qualifier, has led to the suspension of the Libyan league championship. However, Khaled El-Khoweldy, an LFF spokesman, said al-Saadi's resignation has not been accepted yet. El-Khoweldy said al-Saadi's decision to resign had nothing to do with last Sunday's match, where travelling Libyan fans ripped up chairs and hurled them at Egyptian policemen. "He decided to quit due to lack of financial support for the federation," El-Khoweldy claimed. [BBC]
Friday, 1 April, 2005: US Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick said the major topics during his talks in Sofia, Bulgaria, were Iraq and the Bulgarian nurses under sentence of death in Libya. Regarding the Bulgarian nurses who have been sentenced to death for allegedly infecting Libyan children with HIV-tainted blood in a hospital in Benghazi, Zoellick said the US is in contact with Libya and is “stressing the importance of this issue not only to Bulgaria and Europe, but to the United States.” “I think that as a general matter, we believe that if Libya wants to choose a different course -- and there are signs that it has been starting to choose that course -- it has to deal with a problem like this with respect for human rights and justice,” said Zoellick. [USINFO]
Friday, 1 April, 2005: Physicians for Human Rights and the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations (PHR/IHFFRO) continue to seek the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician sentenced to death in May 2004 on charges of infecting over 400 children with HIV at Benghazi hospital. The groups call on Libya to fully investigate conditions at al-Fateh Children's Hospital where the 400 children were infected. "The infection of over 400 children with HIV is a terrible tragedy and everything must be done to assure proper care and treatment for these children. However, this situation requires immediate attention to address challenges within Libya's health care system by conducting an investigation of health care conditions at hospitals," said Dr. Joost Den Otter, a physician and prison health expert affiliated with PHR/IFHHRO, who visited the nurses in their Tripoli jail in February 2005. [PHRUSA]

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