News and Views [ August 2005 ]

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Wednesday, 31 August, 2005: Libya is planning to grant general amnesty to all convicts sentenced to more than 10 years in prison, even those serving life terms, officials say. Justice Minister Ali Hasnawi said Tuesday the Higher Judicial Council will take the unprecedented step of pardoning convicts with sentences exceeding 10 years. He said the amnesty decision coincides with the 36th anniversary of the Libyan revolution, which toppled the monarchy and brought Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to power. The minister did not say if the amnesty decision will include members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Organization. According to human rights groups there are some 88 Brotherhood members sentenced to prison. [UPI]
Wednesday, 31 August, 2005: Iran, North Korea and Russia still are among the world's biggest violators of international arms control agreements but Libya is a poster child for reform, according to a U.S. State Department report on Tuesday. In an unclassified version of a "noncompliance report," the State Department urged tough action against countries violating arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament agreements. While wagging a finger at countries such as Iran and N. Korea, the report praised Libya for its December 2003 decision to give up its WMD program. "This gives us a model (for how countries can change)," said the senior State Department official. The U.S. is close to resuming full diplomatic relations with Libya and the two countries are expected to exchange ambassadors in the coming months. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 31 August, 2005: Dubai-based IT group Pro Technology is mulling over plans to extend its regional presence even further by opening a dedicated office in Libya. The 70-strong company, which includes distribution, systems integration and business solutions divisions, already operates offices in the UAE, Jordan and Sudan. “We are now thinking seriously about the opportunity that exists in the Libyan market,” explained Jamal H. Maraqa, managing director at Pro Technology. “I’m now probably 70% certain that we will open a dedicated office to deliver data protection and back-up solutions to customers in Libya.” [ITP]

Tuesday, 30 August, 2005: Libyan authorities said Monday police aborted an attempt by 115 illegal immigrants to use Libyan territorial waters to sneak into Europe. The ministry of national security said police arrested the immigrants and started an investigation which led to the arrest of a 27-member gang that allegedly arranged moving the illegal immigrants through Libya. [UPI]
Tuesday, 30 August, 2005: The U.S. has agreed to let India purchase jets from a Brazilian maker, which had held up the sale until New Delhi agreed to abide by a US “no-fly” list for jets equipped with special electronic instruments. India had signed a 7-billion-rupee contract in 2003 for five jets from Brazil’s Embraer, the world’s fourth-largest commercial airplane maker. In June, Embraer added a condition to the sale in line with new US guidelines, requiring countries purchasing aircraft fitted with certain electronic instruments to agree not to fly to designated countries, including China, N. Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria, Cuba and Haiti. [Daily Times]

Monday, 29 August, 2005: Seven international contractors have been invited to submit revised prices to Libya's Zueitina Oil Company for the estimated $70 million-80 million contract to build a pipeline from Zueitina’s 103A supply base in the Sirte basin to the Brega coastal pipeline. The bidders are: Germany’s MAN GHH; Athens-based Joannou & Paraskevaides; Bonatti of Italy, with UAE-based Petrofac Int'l; Egypt’s Petrojet; US-based Willbros Group; Pirerco of Tunisia; and China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corp. The project involves the construction of a 42-inch-diameter, 215-kilometre-long steel pipeline with capacity of 1,500 million cubic feet a day which will supply gas that will either run on to Melitah and Italy via the recently-commissioned Greenstream subsea pipeline or be used to fuel power generation. [MESteel]
Monday, 29 August, 2005: Thousands of people gathered in the Alhamidia harbour in Tajoura, Libya, to celebrate the first Lambuka festival. 1,000 kilograms of Lambuka were roasted and cooked. Sailors performed boat shows and traditional bands thrilled the gatherings with folklore dancing. Lambuka is a common dolphinfish found in open waters under floating objects. [LJBC]

Sunday, 28 August, 2005: A former Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated. The retired officer has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people. The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison. The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system. [The Scotsman]
Sunday, 28 August, 2005: The head of the commission for foreign affairs of the American senate, senator Richard Lugar inquired about the future of the Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. The nurses were sentenced for the alleged infection of more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. The senator visited Libya at the end of last week, in order to renew the diplomatic relations between Tripoli and Washington. Lugar raised the issue during a meeting with Libyan leader Qadhafi. He also inquired about human rights abuses in Libya. [Sofia Echo]
Sunday, 28 August, 2005: The USA and Libya signed an agreement for scientific cooperation for using the nuclear energy for peaceful means, ITAR-TASS reports. The national management for nuclear safety at the US Ministry of Energy Resources announced that the agreement became possible thanks to the decision of the Libyan leadership to stop developing nuclear arms. [FIA]

Saturday, 27 August, 2005: Qadhafi's son Saif al-Islam [compared] Libya to South Africa... when he spoke of opening the files of capital punishment, assassinations and confiscation of property. The intention of measuring up with South Africa is nice; however Tripoli lacks a Libyan Nelson Mandela, characterized with broad vision, forgiveness, and openness, in addition to a strong sentiment of his people’s pride and a clear will to enable his people to live in a system based on democracy and justice. As long as the executions and eliminations are carried out by an order from the leader, how can Saif al-Islam aspire to open the files to implement the right and render justice to the victims, when he himself is guided by the orders from the commanding father? ...clemency is meaningless if it is not accompanied with legal and comprehensive change. Any similar change means abolishing the regime itself, which is not something the regime desires. In fact, it seeks to prove that it is able now to be a source of welfare, as it was a source of evil in the past, especially since it did not renounce to its well-known bloody habits. Then again Saif al-Islam did not utter a single word of “apology”. [Al-Hayat]

Things Change Just To Remain The Same!  By : Ghoma

Friday, 26 August, 2005: Senior officials of the U.S. and Britain met in London on Thursday to discuss Libya's changing relationship with the two countries, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. The meeting between US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch and British officials took place three days after Libyan leader Qadhafi's son, Seif el-Islam, said a new era of diplomacy between Tripoli and Washington was in sight. "They talked about a wide range of bilateral topics, including Libya's policies on terrorism, human rights and ways to strengthen our cooperation on the outstanding issues we have between us as we develop a different kind of relationship with Libya," McCormack told reporters. "There are still issues that need to be resolved, and we're working on those issues," McCormack added. [Xinhua]
Friday, 26 August, 2005: Bawag PSK, the Austrian bank, has become the first major European banking group to open up shop in Libya, with a representative office located at the Corinthia Bab Africa hotel in Tripoli. Bawag plans this move to serve as an entry point to the North African market, in close cooperation with Bawag Malta Bank Ltd. The representative office will be headed by Bashir Ghazla, Bawag’s chief representative in Libya. [Independent Online]

The Organizing Committee: Amal Camp 2005 Review

Thursday, 25 August, 2005: Reporters Without Borders [RSF/RWB] wrote today to Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the president of the Qadhafi Foundation, asking him to intercede on behalf of imprisoned cyber-dissident Abdel Razek Al Mansouri and seek his release. The request has been made as the government prepares to pardon 131 political prisoners in early September on the 36th anniversary of the coup that brought Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to power. [RSF]
Thursday, 25 August, 2005: A Libyan diplomat who was acting head of mission in Sweden was found dead at his home in Stockholm, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Local news agency TT quoted police as saying the man was found hanged and that the circumstances of his death were being treated as suspicious. The Foreign Ministry said the dead man was Abdulrhman Zanbila who was acting charge d'affaires and normally held the position of counsellor at the Libyan mission. [Reuters]
Thursday, 25 August, 2005: The envoys of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) did not hold a planned meeting with Bulgaria's jailed nurses in Libya. Tony Lloyd and Valerie Clamer are on the last day of a visit to Libya. Lloyd was expected to visit the Bulgarian medics in Tripoli prison on Wednesday. He was designated by PACE to report on the inhuman treatment of the Bulgarian medical staff following a motion for a resolution in which the Assembly expressed deepest concern about the serious human rights violations perpetrated against the medical staff. But on Wednesday it emerged that the prisoners will not receive a personal visit by the diplomats. Instead, Lloyd and Clamer held talks with Libyan Foreign head Abdelrahman Shalgam and Interior Minsiter Nasser al-Mabruk. [SNA]
Thursday, 25 August, 2005: Malta should take up the Libyan Ambassador's offer and start buying oil from our North African neighbouring country at a “preferential rate,” Labour spokesman for Foreign Affairs Leo Brincat emphasised in a statement yesterday. Mr Brincat challenged the government to change what he described as its stubborn attitude in the national interest. The Labour spokesman had issued a similar statement a few weeks ago criticising the fact that the government had stopped buying oil from Libya on the pretext that the Libyan refining process that was in place at the time was not transparent. In parliament, IT and Investments Minister Austin Gatt had said he preferred buying oil from the “open market.” [Independent]

Wednesday, 24 August, 2005: Nigerian President Obasanjo and Libyan leader Qadhafi, have jointly asked the military junta in Mauritania to take immediate steps to end military rule there, Obasanjo's spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Obasanjo, who is also the current chairman of the 53-member African Union (AU), met with Qadhafi in Sirte, Libya on Monday. They condemned the military coup which overthrew President Maaouyia Ould Taya's 21-year rule in Mauritania on August 3, and "reminded the junta that Africa had spoken with one voice against the undemocratic change of power". The two leaders said that with the military government in power, Mauritania would have no place in the AU as the regional body would not allow unconstitutional change of power within its fold. They, therefore, urged the military leaders to take immediate steps to speedily return their country to constitutionality and the rule of law. [Xinhua]
ALFA: Letter To Senator Chuck Hagel Regarding His Visit To Libya

Tuesday, 23 August, 2005: The United States indicated that it might offer more concessions to Libya if the once pariah state moved further to address weapons, democracy and human rights concerns. "I think that we have certainly come a long way from where we were in our relationship with Libya, but there are certainly issues that still need to be addressed and we're working with Libya on this issues," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "If they continue to make progress along the pathway that we have laid out, we, again, will meet their acts of good faith in return". McCormack was commenting on reports quoting the son of the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi that the U.S. would open an embassy in Tripoli within days and that Libya would be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism by years end. [AFP]
Tuesday, 23 August, 2005: The Bush administration said Monday that progress is being made toward normal relations with Libya though it discouraged talk of an imminent breakthrough. A key U.S. Senator met Libyan leader Qadhafi late last week. U.S. Officials say that progress is being made on problem issues with Libya, but they are downplaying the notion that relations with Libya shortly be elevated to the full embassy level. Qadhafi's son, Seif Al-Islam told reporters in Tripoli Monday that the U.S. would open an embassy there within days, and that Libya would be removed from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism by the end of the year. The remarks followed a visit to Libya late last week and talks with the elder Mr. Qadhafi by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, one of the most prominent U.S. political figures to go there since a thaw in bilateral relations began in late 2003. [VOA]
Tuesday, 23 August, 2005: Libya has canceled US$101.7 million (euro83.5 million) in debts owed by Tanzania, a senior Finance Ministry official said Monday. The cancellation cuts in half Tanzania's debt to the North African nation. Tanzania had asked Libya and other countries to follow the example of the Group of Eight major industrialized nations, which last month forgave US$40 billion (euro32.8 billion) in debts owed by 18 poor countries, including Tanzania. Libya agreed to the cancellation so long as the resulting savings is spent on education, health and water projects, said Gray Mgonja, permanent secretary at the Finance Ministry. [Business Week]

Monday, 22 August, 2005: A BBC report cast fresh doubt on the conviction of a Libyan man convicted of the December 1988 bombing of a US airliner over Lockerbie, southwest Scotland, as it queried the reliability of a key witness. BBC Newsnight Scotland reported late Thursday that there were concerns about the evidence of prosecution witness Alan Feraday, who testified during the trial of former Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi (photo). Three men who the forensic scientist also gave evidence against have since had their convictions quashed, it said. Solicitor Eddie McKechnie, who represented Megrahi at the Lockerbie trial in 2001, told Newsnight that it provoked "serious issues" about the conviction. The BBC programme said it understood that papers about Feraday's evidence had been sent to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which is investigating Megrahi's conviction. [BBC]
Monday, 22 August, 2005: Libya will free 131 political prisoners, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, said Saif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Qadhafi, who heads a foundation dedicated to improving the country's image. Saif also told Reuters late on Saturday that many Libyans who lost businesses and other privately-owned assets such as luxury homes during the revolutionary days of the early 1970s would recover their properties or get compensation. Saif said the prisoners would be freed in the next few days but gave no further details. Membership of a political party constitutes treason in the north African country. [Reuters]
Monday, 22 August, 2005: Economics Minister Joseph Deiss has wrapped up a three-day trip to Libya with intentions to increase trade with the North African country. Switzerland and Libya are due to sign a double taxation accord in 2006. A lowering of Libyan customs duties is also on the cards. Deiss, the first Swiss cabinet minister to visit the country, was holding talks with the Libyan government in a bid to boost bilateral relations and promote business ties. Libya is Switzerland's second-largest trading partner on the African continent after South Africa. Deiss said that Libya - which has been undergoing economic reforms - had "a lot of potential". [Swiss Info]
Monday, 22 August, 2005: There have been calls in Australia for state, territory and federal governments to do more to help develop the camel meat industry. The chairman of the Queensland Camel Industry Association, Paddy McHugh, says Australia could capitalise on the high global demand for camel meat. "I get probably two to three phone calls a week, Saudi Arabia would take them," he said. "I was in Libya a couple of years ago, two backyard butchers in Libya alone get 1,500 head of camels a month off us. [ABC]

LAHR: LAHR's First Human Rights Training In The Los Angeles Area

LAHR: Two Lectures On Human Rights

Sunday, 21 August, 2005: Reporters Without Borders (RWB/RSF) voiced concern today about the condition of imprisoned cyber-dissident Abdel Razak Al Mansouri (photo), who had to wait eight hours for treatment after falling from his bunkbed and fracturing his pelvis. He has been detained since 12 January. "We call on the prison authorities to ensure that Al Mansouri's injuries are properly treated as soon as possible and we also demand that his lawyer and family be allowed to visit him in order to verify his state of health," the organisation said. "We further point out that there is no justification for keeping him in custody for such a long period without trial when the only charge against him is illegal possession of a firearm," Reporters Without Borders added. [RSF]
Sunday, 21 August, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, keen to improve ties with the West, has invited President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to visit Libya, a visiting U.S. senator said on Saturday. U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, ending a two-day trip to Libya, told a news conference he had held talks with Qadhafi on normalizing relations after decades of estrangement, following Tripoli's decision to abandon weapons of mass destruction. Lugar, an Indiana Republican, flew to Libya on Friday after representing Bush in Morocco and Algeria for the release of 404 prisoners of war who were held by Western Sahara's exiled Polisario Front independence movement. Lugar's trip was the highest-profile U.S. visit to Libya since relations began to thaw. [Reuters]
Sunday, 21 August, 2005: U.S. and Libyan officials are working toward opening an American Embassy in Tripoli and ending Libya's designation as a terrorist-sponsoring country, US Sen. Richard Lugar said Saturday. Speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Libya, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said U.S.-Libyan officials were taking steps to make sure that Libya was no longer involved in terrorism with the aim of removing the country from the State Department's list of countries supporting terrorism. Lugar, R-Ind., said he had spoken with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and raised issues of terrorism, human rights in Libya, and economic cooperation with the country that the world used to regard as a rogue state. Lugar said he could not predict when the U.S. would reopen an embassy in Tripoli, but that he had talked with Libyans about working toward that goal. [AP]
Sunday, 21 August, 2005: Libya said Saturday that 787 Libyans in exile have returned to their country this year following a decision to resolve their problems with the regime. Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the national leader's son who heads the Qadhafi Charity Institute, said despite the delay in the official measures to ease the return of Libyan exiles, his organization alone managed to "resolve the problems of 304 people and repatriating them." The leader's son also called on releasing all Muslim Brotherhood prisoners "after the change in the circumstances that pushed them to work underground" in the past. Gadhafi said his organization has appealed verdicts against the prisoners, adding its members were also involved in dialogue with prisoners who have refused to renounce violence "in an attempt to merge them in society." He added the government was working on returning the property of Libyans seized in the past years and called for compensating those who were "harmed by previous measures." [UPI]
Sunday, 21 August, 2005: Delegates from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) will visit the Bulgarian nurses in Libyan jail Monday. That was announced by Bulgarian MP and representative to PACE Evgeni Kirilov, cited by Bulgaria's Darik Radio. The visit comes after the Bulgarian government has rejected Libyan demands for "blood money" in order to secure the release of five nurses held since 1999. Libyan Ambassador to London Mohammed al-Zwai had called on the newly elected Bulgarian government to negotiate indemnities for the amnesty of the Bulgarian nurses, found guilty of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with the HIV virus in a Benghazi hospital. But newly-installed Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin ruled out paying indemnities. [SNA]

Saturday, 20 August, 2005: A US delegation led by Senator Richard Lugar arrived in Libya late Friday in another step to normalize relations with the north African country, according to news dispatches from Tripoli. During his two-day visit, Lugar, president of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Commission, was scheduled to meet Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, according to Libyan officials. Relations between the US and Libya have improved dramatically after Tripoli accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am passenger plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, and agreed in December 2003 to give up the request for WMDs. [Xinhuanet]
Saturday, 20 August, 2005: The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) will vote for a resolution in support of the Bulgarian medics in Libya, Evgeni Kirilov, member of PACE and representative in Bulgarian Parliament said. PACE Vice President Tony Lloyd will visit Libya, Kirilov added. The visit of Tony Lloyd to Libya will include meetings with Libyan authorities and a visitation of the Bulgarian medics. The report on the visit would be presented to the Assembly in September, and the draft resolution will be voted for in October. [FIA]
Saturday, 20 August, 2005: Before Qadhafi was donor. Today India is the donor and Libya the receiver in spite of $66 oil. According to media sources, The Union Cabinet Thursday night gave its approval for the signing of a ten-year Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) between India and Libya. This will help in increasing investments between the two countries, Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters. He said there were opportunities for Indian investments in Libya and BIPA would help promote them. [India Daily]

ALFA: Letter To Senator Lugar Regarding His Visit To Libya

Friday, 19 August, 2005: President George W. Bush is sending Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar to Libya in another step toward normalizing relations after Tripoli decided to abandon weapons of mass destruction, the White House said on Thursday. "Senator Lugar will also travel to Libya for official meetings as a part of the president's initiative to move toward more normal relations reflecting that country's renunciation of terrorism and abandonment of its WMDs and longer range missiles," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. Lugar, an Indiana Republican, will go to Libya August 19-20, but it was not yet clear which officials he would meet, Perino said. "His schedule is still being ironed out." [Reuters]
Friday, 19 August, 2005: Tripoli is urging Bulgaria to offer "blood money" to families of hundreds of Libyan children infected with HIV, to save five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for causing the infections, a senior diplomat said. But Bulgaria again refused a deal, saying the nurses were innocent and should be released. Mohamed al-Zwai, the Libyan ambassador to London, said he outlined the proposal during a meeting with top British and U.S. diplomats in Tripoli on Wednesday. "The parties in this issue are very clear. They are the Bulgarian government and the children's families. The two sides can reach a solution which will have a positive impact on the case, according to sharia (Moslem law)," Zawi said. "Libya as a state is not party to this case." Libya's supreme court will rule in November on an appeal by the five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor. [Reuters]
Friday, 19 August, 2005: Bulgaria's funding of the HIV-infected Libyan children is a humanitarian matter, said Ivaylo Kalfin, country's newly inaugurated Foreign Minister. Libya's demand for compensation is not a new one, Kalfin also commented. He commented the statement of the Libyan Ambassador to London Mohammed al-Zwai who has called on the newly elected Bulgarian government to negotiate indemnities for the amnesty of Bulgarian medics, accused of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with the HIV virus in a Benghazi hospital. Bulgaria is to search a solution of this serious problem, but we cannot call it "compensation", because this would mean Bulgaria and the medics would admit their guilt. [SNA]
Friday, 19 August, 2005: Nigeria`s Super Eagles beat their Libyan counterparts 1-0 in an international soccer friendly played in Tripoli Wednesday. Inter Milan and Nigerian striker Obafemi Martin scored the lone goal in the first half. Libya came on strong in the second half, but poor finishing ruined its efforts to equalise. [Angop]
Friday, 19 August, 2005: The Libyan government has designated ten medical doctors for assignment in Sierra Leone under a South-South cooperation arrangement, the spokesman for President Ahmed Kabbah said. Spokesman Kemoh Daramy said the Libyan Minister of Cooperation, Mohamed Sialla, informed President Kabbah Wednesday about the assignment of the doctors, who are expected in Freetown as soon as accommodation is ready for them. [Angop]

HRW: Libya; Web Writer's Arrest Stifles Debate

Thursday, 18 August, 2005: A US-based human rights group demanded Libya yesterday to release a journalist and Internet writer detained since January or put him on trial. Abdelraziq Al-Mansouri (photo), 52, was arrested in Tobruk after writing some 50 articles and commentaries for a British web site during the past year critical of Libyan society and the government, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement. “Libya’s internal security force has detained Al-Mansouri since last January in an apparent effort to silence a writer with critical views... “The Libyan government should release Al-Mansouri and drop the charges against him or grant him a prompt and fair trial,” HRW added. [Khaleej Times]
Thursday, 18 August, 2005: U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar has been sent to North Africa by President Bush to oversee the release of some 400 Moroccan prisoners still held in Algeria from the Western Sahara conflict. Senator Lugar is also due to visit Libya. The U.S. diplomat who briefed reporters said Senator Lugar will visit Libya after Morocco for meetings with senior officials, possibly including Qadhafi. If the meeting occurs, the Senator would be one of the most prominent U.S. political figures to meet the Libyan leader since the thaw in bilateral relations began in late 2003 with Libya's renunciation of WMDs. [VOA]
Thursday, 18 August, 2005: Kuwaiti Interior Ministry has issued a notification to Immigration Department stating not to issue family visas to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. The Immigration Department has also been notified to search families who visited Kuwait on visit visas, however they did not leave the state after their visas expired. [PakTribune]
Thursday, 18 August, 2005: Bulgaria's newly elected Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin said Wednesday said his chief priority would be his country's EU entry scheduled for Jan. 1, 2007. Kalfin added the efforts to free five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor Libya has sentenced to death on charges of causing an AIDS outbreak would also be high on his agenda. Libya's Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on appeals by the medics in November. [BNN]
Thursday, 18 August, 2005: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday briefed Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in a telephone conversation, on developments in the Palestine territory as Israel began a controversial pull-out from Gaza. The Palestinian leader reaffirmed his gratitude to Qadhafi for his principled position on the Palestinian cause. [Angop]

Wednesday, 17 August, 2005: The five Bulgarian nurses, sentenced to death in Libya will get additional room in the prison they have been jailed. The BTA agency cited the relatives of the nurses as saying that their relatives will have new rooms in the next few days. The news came as last week Zdravko Georgiev, husband of one of the five nurses, who was also on trial in Libya and was freed from jail last May, complained that the five women are still in one room, despite the vows of the Libyan authorities to improve the living conditions. [SNA]

Tuesday, 16 August, 2005: Libya's General Popular Committee Sunday announced free medical care in all the country's public health facilities but banned health personnel from working in public and private sectors at the same time. The Committee gave medical staff up to the end of the year, to decide whether to work in the public or private sector. By that deadline, it said, personnel still undecided would be automatically assigned to the public sector. [Angop]
Tuesday, 16 August, 2005: A meeting among the heads of state of Egypt, Libya and Algeria failed Monday to come up with a date for an emergency Arab summit. Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Algeria's Abdel Aziz Boutefliqa and Libyan leader Moammar al-Qadhafi met in the Libyan city of Sirte to discuss Arab issues. After the meeting Mubarak said, "We will agree on a new date for the summit after September," stressing that "we are seeking to convene two Arab parleys per year instead of one" in view of important Arab developments. [UPI]
Tuesday, 16 August, 2005: A mother who has been to Libya to see her five children for the first time in three years says she will never give up fighting to have them back. Anita Elgirnazi, from Norfolk, said she was overwhelmed with joy after her ex-husband allowed her to see them. Five years ago he smuggled them to Tripoli during a routine access visit. At present she stays in regular touch by e-mail but Mrs Elgirnazi said she would not be completely happy until her children were with her all the time. The children, Rumaysa who is now 16, Safiya, 14; Ali, 12; Hamza, nine, and Aisha, seven, were taken out of the country in June 2000 via Dover and then through France and Spain to their father Azzedin Journazi. [BBC]
Tuesday, 16 August, 2005: The Algerian and Egyptian presidents met Libyan leader Qadhafi on Monday at his home town Sirte to discuss the Arab summit delayed by the death of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt flew separately to Sirte for the meeting. "The meeting is an opportunity for the three leaders to discuss many Arab and bilateral problems and the ways to solve them through the postponed Arab summit," Foreign Minister Abderrahman Shalgam told reporters. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa was not attending the meeting, and Arab diplomats described its purpose as "reconciliation between Bouteflika and Mubarak". Bouteflika, as current president of the Arab summit, had been annoyed that Mubarak had called the summit without first consulting him. [Reuters]

Monday, 15 August, 2005: Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is to visit Malta later this year. This will be Qadhafi's first visit to Malta in over 20 years. According to The Sunday Times, the Maltese government was contacted by the Libyan embassy confirming that Qadhafi will be visiting the Island. Last October, Prime Minister Dr. Lawrence Gonzi visited the Colonel in Libya. Qadhafi's last visit to Malta was in 1984. He was accompanied by a large delegation. The 63-years-old Colonel's visit is being considered as a significant one, especially in the light of his reluctance to travel. Qadhafi is the Arab world's longest-serving leader. [MaltaMedia]
Monday, 15 August, 2005: The Iraqi tribunal trying Saddam Hussein on war crimes charges has blocked a bid by his family to fire his vast team of defence lawyers, saying only Saddam can make such a move, the family said on Sunday. Last week a lawyer acting for Saddam's eldest daughter Raghd said the family had scrapped the team of more than 2,000 attorneys claiming to be representing Saddam and would build a new, better-organised defence team. More than 2,000 lawyers had volunteered for Saddam's defence team, including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and a daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. [Reuters]

Sunday, 14 August, 2005: Nigeria’s senior team, Super Eagles file out against their Libyan counterparts at the June 11 Stadium, Tripoli on Wednesday, in an exhibition match meant to prepare both teams for upcoming World Cup/Nations Cup 2006 qualifiers. The Libyan team, now coached by Croatian Ilija Goncarevic, looks headed for the Nations Cup finals in Egypt. They are fourth in group 3 of the qualifying campaign. But the Libyans could go through as the best fourth-placed team in the entire series since hosts Egypt would qualify automatically for the 16-nation finals taking place January 20-February 10 next year. [Vanguard]
Sunday, 14 August, 2005: Libya shows great interest in the equipment produced by Kharkiv Malyshev Plant, one of the CIS biggest producers of armored vehicles. Enterprise's director general Hennadiy Hrytsenko told this to journalists on Saturday. "We see great interest in our machines, modernization of those products that are adopted in Libya," he said, noting the plant's delegation visited Libya twice this year, and held "serious high-level talks with the defense ministry." Hennadiy Hrytsenko said Libya has round 3,000 tanks T-55, T-62 and T-72, which need to be seriously upgraded. "It is possible that [the delegation] will consider a purchase of new machines - the Oplot (Bulwark) tank," the enterprise's director said. [Interfax-Ukraine]

ALFA: Journalist Al-Mansouri's Health At Risk

1951 CONSTITUTION: A Nostrum of Humpty-Dumpty!  By : Ghoma

Saturday, 13 August, 2005: Iran's former president says his country isn't like Libya or Iraq -- and won't be pushed around by the West like he says those countries were. Hashemi Rafsanjani criticized the UN nuclear watchdog agency, which issued a resolution urging Iran to curb its nuclear activities. In a sermon at Tehran University, he called the unanimous decision "cruel." He vowed that Iranians won't allow any violation of "their nuclear rights." [AP]

Friday, 12 August, 2005: Verenex Energy Inc., Calgary, Canada, and PT Medco Energy International Terbuka, Jakarta, are out for bids for a large 3D and 2D seismic program on Area 47 in the Ghadames basin 180 km west-southwest of the Libyan capital Tripoli. Seismic acquisition could begin early in the fourth quarter of 2005. The companies snared the 6,187 sq km area earlier this year. They plan to participate in the next licensing round with bids due Oct. 2, 2005. [OGJ]
Friday, 12 August, 2005: General al-Khawildi al-Hamidi met Wednesday afternoon [in Tripoli, Libya,] with secretaries of the committees of branches of Sanabl al-Khair Charity Society, one of the NGO [non goverment organizations] societies in the field of social care. [JANA]
Friday, 12 August, 2005: Maulana Fazlur Rehman should explain why he makes frequent trips to Libya, Pakistan's Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Wednesday. "He goes to the UAE and then it emerges that he has reached Tripoli," Ahmed told reporters. [Daily Times]

Thursday, 11 August, 2005: Toppled Mauritanian President Mu'aweya weld al-Taye arrived in Gambia where he chose asylum just one day after he had called on his supporters and members of the army to move to restore back conditions to what they were before his forced removal from power... Libya who kept silent for several days started to express openly its support for the new regime under the pretext of honoring the will of the people of Mauritania. [Arabic News]
Thursday, 11 August, 2005: "Serious worry" was expressed by Green Party senator Tana de Zulueta for government's "collective rejections" of irregular immigrants "despite the European Court of Human Rights blocked the expatriation of immigrants who managed to appeal twice". The denouncement falls on the day of the expatriation of 70 non-EU citizens from Lampedusa. "If these immigrants are Egyptian why send them back to Libya, a country with which Italy does not have a bilateral repatriation agreement, instead of Egypt? Could it be to prove that cooperation with Libya works, despite the repeated arrival of immigrants from Libya?" De Zulueta said. [AGI]
Thursday, 11 August, 2005: British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has called Libyan Leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi over the telephone to discuss relations between the two countries. PM Blair said his country is eager to enhance relations with Libya and to work together so that equal and fruitful cooperation between the European and African Unions is achieved. Mr. Blair informed the leader about the new measures and laws which he announced Friday. [LJBC]

Wednesday, 10 August, 2005: Five Libyans detained in Saudi Arabia over an alleged plot to assassinate King Abdullah have been released after they were pardoned by the new monarch, an interior ministry spokesman said. "Five Libyans have been released, and the necessary arrangements are now being made to deport them," spokesman General Mansur al-Turki told AFP. He said they included two "security officers." The security source identified the intelligence officers as Abdul Fattah al-Ghosh, who was arrested by Saudi security forces in Mecca in November 2003, and Colonel Mohammed Ismael, who fled to Cairo before being handed back by Egyptian authorities. The identity of the three others was not immediately known. [AFP]
Wednesday, 10 August, 2005: Malta's Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman Leo Brincat called on government to boost relations with Libya. In a statement, Mr.Brincat said that following the recent developments, the relations between Malta and Libya need to put on sound footing. He said that the way in which talks were conducted with Libya on the fisheries zone issue and on the illegal immigrants situation should be closely examined. The Labour spokesman added that the imposition of visas and the bleak future of the Libyan Arab Maltese Holding Company are not helping to spur the relations forward. He ended that Malta should engage in the normal give-and-take of diplomacy with Libya. [Di-ve]
Wednesday, 10 August, 2005: The United States on Tuesday dropped a demand that Mauritania's ousted president should be restored, saying it was pressing the military junta in the West African state to carry out a constitutional transition of power... Libya's Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Shalgam, who held talks with the junta, said the will of Mauritania's people had to be taken into account. "After hearing the words of the president of the military council ... we have the impression that the Mauritanian people have started to approve (the change) and we approve what the Mauritanian people approve," he said. [Reuters]

The Seattle Times: U.S. Arabs Celebrate, Educate At Festival

Tuesday, 9 August, 2005: In line with its objective to be among the world's leading investment destinations, Libya is in the middle of restructuring its current administration establishments, and reviewing its investment laws and regulations. As per statistics, the FDI inward flows into Libya stood at $700 million in 2003, after maintaining a negative value for the past several years. It has been estimated that Libya attracted $6-7 billion of FDI in 2004-05. Encouraged by substantial growth in trade value between UAE and Libya which exceeded $1 billion in the first quarter of 2005, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), and Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) are jointly organising the "UAE in Libya" event, to be held in Tripoli between Nov. 27-30. [Khaleej Times]
Tuesday, 9 August, 2005: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Monday pardoned four prominent activists who were jailed after criticizing the strict religious environment in Saudi Arabia and the slow pace of democratic reform. Also released was university professor Saeed Al-Zaeer who compared bin Laden's attacks on Western civilians to U.S. attacks that have killed Iraqi civilians and Israeli attacks that have killed Palestinian civilians. Abdullah also pardoned two Libyans who were believed to have been jailed for plotting to assassinate him. The Saudi Press Agency said the men were allegedly involved in a plot to destabilize the kingdom, but offered no further details. In December, Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Tripoli and asked the Libyan ambassador to leave Riyadh over the alleged plot. Libya has repeatedly denied involvement. [AP]
Tuesday, 9 August, 2005: South Afican Manufacturer of pipe couplings Klamflex Pipe Couplings of Chamdor has completed a supply contract for the Great Man-Made River Project (GMMRP) in Libya. The contract scope included the largest couplings ever manufactured in S. Africa with diameters ranging from 700 mm to the larger sizes which were 2462, 2870, and 3070 mm respectively. The GMMRP has been dubbed the 'Eighth Wonder of the World' and the first stage was opened in 1996. It consists of a network of four metre diameter pipes, buried underground, extending for a distance of 4000 kilometers. Underground water is pumped from 270 wells hundreds of metres deep into reservoirs that feed the network. Estimates of the water reserves below the desert equate to the flow of 200 years of water in the Nile River. [Engneering News]

Monday, 8 August, 2005: According to sources close to [Qadhafi's new book "My Vision", to be published in Britain next month,] negotiations are under way between the Libyan authorities, the British government and John Blake, Qadhafi's publisher, for the colonel to mount a promotional tour in Britain, possibly as early as September. "Qadhafi hopes to hold a press conference, conduct television interviews and watch a Premiership football match," said a source involved in the negotiations. The visit would be Qadhafi's first to Britain since the 1960s when he attended a Royal Signals training course held at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. [The Sunday Times]
Monday, 8 August, 2005: Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the eccentric Libyan dictator and former pariah of the West, has described how he drew his early inspiration from Lord Baden-Powell, one of the most famous heroes of the British empire and founder of the worldwide Scout movement. According to Qadhafi's memoirs, to be published next month, Baden-Powell's 1908 book Scouting for Boys influenced his mother to enrol him in the Scouts. He spent seven years in a troop while he was at school in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte in the 1950s. The book, My Vision, runs to 263 pages and was largely dictated by Qadhafi to Professor Edmond Jouve, an Africa specialist at Rene Descartes University in Paris. [The Sunday Times]

Sunday, 7 August, 2005: Libya's state-owned National Oil Corporation said Libya exported 10,463,000 barrels of crude oil during the week between July 22 and July 28. [APD]
Sunday, 7 August, 2005: Libya is willing to boost cooperation with China in various fields, Libyan leader Qadhafi said Saturday while meeting with a senior Chinese official in Sirte, Libya. Voicing satisfaction with the smooth development of Sino-Libyan ties, Qadhafi told visiting Assistant Foreign Minister Lu Guozeng that he hoped the bilateral ties would undergo greater development in the future. He also reiterated Libya's adherence to the one-China policy. [Xinhua]
Sunday, 7 August, 2005: Pakistan's Interior Ministry sources told Online that 56 ambassadors of Islamic countries have been informed about the government's decision of expelling foreign students studying in Pakistan's religious seminaries. Sources told that maximum foreign students studying in religious seminaries hail from Afghanistan and their numbers are estimated to be above 300 closely followed by Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Tunis and Morocco. [PakTribune]
Sunday, 7 August, 2005: Representatives of 32 nations will attend Saturday's Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city, officials said. But the U.S., which dropped the bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, will not be officially represented. U.S. officials said their delegates were engaged in official duties. Libya, which gave up its nuclear program in 2003, is set to attend, as will Russia, the only nuclear power to attend. [Asahi]
Sunday, 7 August, 2005: The Libyan Iron and Steel Company (LISCO) has realized a record figure in both production and sales during the first quarter of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004. The achieved total production of finished products (reinforcing steel bars, sections, hot-rolled coils) amounted to 294.893 tons compared to 183.910 tons in the same period in 2004, i.e., up by 60%. According to the figures obtained from an authorized source in Libyan Iron and Steel Company, the achieved total sales of finished products during the first quarter of 2005 amounted to 167.860 tons compared to 95.426 tons in the same period in 2004, i.e., up by 76%. [MESteel]
Sunday, 7 August, 2005: Libyan leader Qadhafi has this week saluted the concern for the cohesion of African and Arab peoples, urging them to uphold their responsibility in the face of the "quake" currently rocking social and cultural structures in the world. Qadhafi recalled that going by historical discoveries, Africa is the cradle of humanity and is a single nation... "The latest Arab migration wave to the continent dates back to more than 1000 years so that Arabs in Africa have become Africans," he assured. Qadhafi said Arabic, which is spoken by northern and eastern Africans, is no foreign language and represents the language of African Arabs. [Angop]

Saturday, 6 August, 2005: Libyan Ambassador Saad El-Shelmani was reluctant to say whether his country was prepared to accept the repatriation of illegal immigrants from Malta, insisting that Libya itself was the biggest victim of the mass African exodus. "We can't even protect ourselves, so how can we protect the rest of Europe," Dr El-Shelmani told The Times in an interview. As scores of desperate migrants continue to land on the island, Malta is trying to put pressure on Libya to do its part to help stem the tide. The Libyan ambassador was summoned to an urgent meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Frendo last Monday and asked to inform his government that Malta was no longer in a position to accept irregular immigrants. An estimated 1.5 million asylum seekers have poured into Libya, most of them from its six bordering sub-Saharan countries, as they flee wars, persecution and poverty. [The Times Of Malta]
Saturday, 6 August, 2005: Qadhafi is now moving Libya toward a Western-style free market system. Barriers to foreign investment have been or will be eased, and there are plans to privatize many state-owned companies soon... There are still many unanswered questions. Will the sometimes fickle Qadhafi change course yet again, setting back recent progress? Even if not, what will the country look like after he is gone? Some say Qadhafi has chosen as his successor his son, Saif, who many believe is encouraging his father's new pro-Western policies. But as Libya becomes more economically and politically connected to the rest of the world, Libyans could become increasingly unwilling to live in an undemocratic country. While in some ways Libya's current autocratic system has actually made reform easier - government policies in democracies can rarely be changed so drastically, so quickly - it will increasingly become an impediment. Political destabilization is never good for business; hopefully Libya will eventually be able to make a smooth transition to a more stable form of government. [The Daily Star]

Friday, 5 August, 2005: U.S. says it has solid evidence of a nuclear black market. The Bush administration can "scientifically prove" Libya acquired North Korean uranium through the nuclear black market that a Pakistani scientist helped set up, according to high-level sources. Japanese officials were informed of this in January by Michael Green, senior director for Asia on the White House National Security Council, the sources said. Green, according to the sources, said the United States can show that North Korean uranium was transported to Libya via the nuclear black market that Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan helped establish. [Asahi]
Friday, 5 August, 2005: Ford Motor Company has officially entered Libya with the appointment of Shaheen Business & Investment Group (SBIG) as its importer responsible for sales, service and distribution and dealer network development in the country. The Jordan based business house will open a Ford dealership facility in Tripoli. The fully integrated facility will feature a Sales & Parts Centre and Customer Service Centre supported by a 2000 square-meter showroom and customer area. It will also include a 5000 square-meter workshop. [Strategiy]
Friday, 5 August, 2005: Italy's navy searched on Thursday for a boatload of more than a hundred people reported drifting off the country's southern shores, on a busy but perilous route used by thousands of would-be migrants from Africa. On Thursday evening another boatload of 168 migrants landed on the nearby island of Linosa. Some of them said they had set off from Libya along with another boat which had run into difficulties along the way. [Reuters]

Thursday, 4 August, 2005: The deputy secretary at the Libyan Foreign Ministry, Said Hefyana, on Monday discussed the UN reform with the ambassador of China, the chairman of the US liaison board, the ambassador of France, the representative of the embassy of Great Britain and the ambassador of the Russian Federation in Libya. Hefyana handed to representatives of permanent members of the UN Security Council to Tripoli, messages from Libyan leader Qadhafi sent to Presidents Hu Jintao of China, George Bush of the US, Jacques Chirac of France, Vladimir Putin of Russia and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Libyan official sources said. [Angop]
Thursday, 4 August, 2005: African heads of state and government are due to hold an extraordinary summit in Addis Ababa Thursday to discuss the proposed reform of the United Nations, the African Union Commission announced Tuesday. At their ordinary assembly last month in Sirte, Libya, the African leaders deliberated on the issue and agreed to seek two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats in the UN Security Council. [Angop]

The "Minority" Question In Libya;  By : Ghoma

Wednesday, 3 August, 2005: Malta yesterday made strong representations with Libya over illegal immigration, saying it was "not in a position" to accept more migrants leaving from Libyan shores. As the island grapples with one of its worst immigration crises, Foreign Minister Michael Frendo summoned Libya's Ambassador to Malta, Saad El-Shelmani, to an urgent meeting and asked him to "urgently" transmit this message to the authorities in Tripoli. Dr Frendo underlined the need for Libya to cooperate with Malta on the matter. [The Times Of Malta]
Wednesday, 3 August, 2005: U.S. Representative Donald Manzullo urged North Korea on Tuesday to follow the example of Libya and scrap its nuclear weapons in exchange for aid and diplomatic recognition. "We believe that North Korea can come into the family of nations, disarmed and at the same time ready for economic development, ready for trade, ready to become a member of the international community where they don't have to have the nuclear program ... something similar to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi of Libya," Manzullo told a news conference in Beijing. Libya announced in December 2003 that it would abandon plans to develop weapons of mass destruction and allow international weapons inspectors into the country. The United States relaxed its trade embargo on Libya in April 2004 to allow U.S. companies to buy the north African country's oil and invest in its economy for the first time since 1986. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 3 August, 2005: The various land, harbors and airport entrance gates in [Libya], have begun implementation of the resolution of the General People's Committee for Finance number 83 for 2005 on abolishing custom tariff on all imported goods and commodities. [LJBC]
Wednesday, 3 August, 2005: A senior Egyptian official underlined that Cairo exerted full efforts to avert the execution of Egyptian nationals in Libya. Ambassador Mohammad Ghabari told reporters the Egyptian embassy in Tripoli had exerted a lot of efforts to delay the execution to give families of the accused a chance to settle the case with families of the victims. He said the Libyan authorities executed four Egyptians after all attempts to settle the case failed. The four executed among five people charged with murder. Efforts succeeded in reducing the sentence against the fifth Egypt to life imprisonement with hard labor. Ghabari said said there were 11 Egyptians in Libya condemned to death. Negotiations are ongoing to settle their cases. [KUNA]

Tuesday, 2 August, 2005: Major General (Retd) Ali Baz Khan and Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Iqbal Haider Ambassadors designate to Indonesia and Libya respectively called on Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz Monday and discussed matters relating to their new responsibilities. The Prime Minister said Pakistan and Libya enjoy close diplomatic, defense, economic and cultural ties. He also emphasized on the need to explore new job opportunities for Pakistan's in Libya besides working for the welfare of the large number of Pakistanis already working there. [APP]

Gaddafi and the Abandoned Constitution; By : Mohammed Ben Ghalboun

Monday, 1 August, 2005: Libya will award new exploration licences in October for 40 blocks in the North African country's second licensing round since the United States eased sanctions last year, an energy ministry official said on Sunday. "Some 120 foreign oil firms, including from the U.S., are bidding for block permits. We will open the awarding round for licences in October when the winners will be named," the senior official told Reuters. He declined to be named. Occidental Petroleum Corp. and other U.S. firms won most of the exploration licences Libya awarded in January, and the official said Occidental was among the bidders this time. [Reuters]
Monday, 1 August, 2005: Libya's state-owned National Oil Corporation said the country exported 6,987,000 barrels of crude oil during the week between July 15 and July 21 with an average price of $54.06 per barrel. [APD]
Monday, 1 August, 2005: The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) will hold a gathering of Omani-Libyan companies in Tripoli from September 26 to 28 to promote and support national products. The gathering will provide Omani companies with an opportunity to conclude contracts and agreements and find dealers for their products in Libyan markets. [Times Of Oman]

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