Libya:
News and Views [ February 2005 ]


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Monday, 28 February, 2005: The Libyan authorities deported on Sunday 120 Egyptians, including 115 arrested recently while gathering on a Libyan farm in preparation for immigrating illegally to Italy, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported. Egypt's ambassador to Libya Mohamad El Tahtawi was quoted as saying the deportation process took place in coordination between the Libyan authorities and the Egyptian Embassy. [Xinhua]
Monday, 28 February, 2005: Forty Pakistanis deported from Libya arrived in Karachi on Sunday. They were reportedly sent to Libya in 2002 by agents on the promise that they would get jobs paying Rs 25,000 a month. However, when they got there their jobs paid only Rs 6,000 a month. When they refused to work for that pay, they were deported. [Daily Times]
Monday, 28 February, 2005: Long off the map for American cruisers, Libya is now a destination for several cruise lines. Oceania Cruises has added a second N. Africa cruise to the 2005 itinerary of its 684-passenger Insignia, which debuts this year. Libya, which officially opened to tourism on Saturday, also appears on the itineraries of several small-ship lines this year, including Clipper Cruise Line; and Travel Dynamics Int'l, which specializes in educational travel. [Buffalo News]
Letters: Sunday, 27 February, 2005





Sunday, 27 February, 2005: We'd taken a touristic gamble in visiting Libya, only recently declared a legal destination for U.S. passport holders after 25 years as a pariah nation. Now the bet was paying off big in the journey's grandest burst of ancient splendor. On the last of our 10 days in Qadhafi's North African dictatorship, we felt like privileged travelers on a mission of exploration. We were prowling Leptis Magna, which deserves its top billing among Libya's dazzling ruins. At its peak in the early third century, this was the largest and wealthiest Roman city in Africa, with a population approaching 100,000. Lonely Planet hails it as "one of the few (archaeological) sites where one can vividly picture a living city." [Universal Press]
Sunday, 27 February, 2005: President Bashar al-Assad is faced with Syria's worst crisis since he was hoisted to power in July 2000. Former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri's assassination on Feb. 14, four months after he closed ranks with the anti-Syrian opposition, has left prime suspect Damascus having to cope with the political fallout. A senior US official is reported to have warned Assad that he had to choose whether to follow in the path of reformed Libyan leader Qadhafi or that of Saddam Hussein, toppled in the US-led invasion of Iraq in April 2003. [AFP]



Saturday, 26 February, 2005: Assured of his place as the ruling party's candidate in elections in April, Togo's army-installed president has surrendered power to a parliamentary speaker. The EU, the US and Germany lent strength to demands that Gnassingbe step down and restore constitutional order, while former colonial power France did not. Visits Thursday with African heavyweights Omar Bongo of Gabon and Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi of Libya were the first indication that Gnassingbe was weighing whether to step down. [AFP]
Saturday, 26 February, 2005: A Taiwanese businessman has been arrested for allegedly smuggling missile components to Libya, a prosecutor said Friday. Hsieh Chin-yi, who ran a trade company in northern Taoyuan county, had exported missile parts disguised as general merchandise to Libya since 1999, said Chang Chin-feng, a spokesman for Taoyuan public prosecutors' office. Hsieh ordered the parts custom-made from local factories. In 2000, He was caught by Swiss police carrying some missile components in his bags at a Zurich airport. [AFP]
Saturday, 26 February, 2005: Libya's African Affairs Minister, Ali Al-Turiki following his arrival in Khartoum said that there are current contacts among Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Chad and Nigeria for holding a five- party summit over the next few days on Darfur. Al-Turiki asserted the Libyan government's refusal to the UN Secretary General's call on NATO to interfere to solve the Darfur crisis. A joint committee comprising all participating parties in talks would meet soon to take final and unanimous decision on Darfur. [Arabic News]




Friday, 25 February, 2005: By publicly prodding Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect political liberties and a free press, President Bush on Thursday made good on his inaugural vow to push for democracy around the world. But Americans should not expect quick change -- in Russia or anywhere else. Administration officials say they have only begun to grapple with the specifics of how and where to try to turn Bush's principled rhetoric into a credible foreign policy ... Regarding Libya, State Department's spokesman Boucher urged the government to free dissident Fathi el-Jahmi (photo), who has been in prison for 10 months without charges. The call came even though the Bush administration acknowledges its top priority with Libya is to ensure the country's continued cooperation on dismantling its nuclear program. [Los Angeles Times]
Friday, 25 February, 2005: The man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has been moved to a prison where he will mix with other inmates, it emerged yesterday. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), the Libyan who is serving a life sentence for the 1988 atrocity which claimed 270 lives, was transferred early yesterday morning to Greenock jail from the solitary unit at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow, Scotland, where he had been held since his conviction in January 2001. However, his lawyer said the switch was in breach of an agreement between the British and Libyan authorities to keep Megrahi away from other prisoners, and he was considering a legal challenge. Megrahi's £250,000 Barlinnie suite was built to house those charged in connection in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 before it was known how many people would stand trial or where the case would be heard. It is thought the unit, dubbed the Qadhafi Cafe, will be decommissioned. [The Scotsman]
Friday, 25 February, 2005: Faure Gnassingbe, the army-installed president of Togo, flew to Gabon and Libya on Thursday to discuss a way out of his growing international isolation with two of Africa's longest-serving leaders. Gnassingbe has been banned from travelling to West African states after he seized power in defiance of the constitution following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, on 5 February. Togo's parliament, stacked with members of the ruling RPT party, amended the constitution and electoral code retroactively to legitimise Gnassingbe's seizure of power and enable him to rule for three years without holding fresh elections. However, the constitutional changes were reversed on Monday under international pressure, to restore the provision for presidential elections to be held within 60 days of Eyadema's death. [IRIN]







Thursday, 24 February, 2005: Malta's Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi yesterday appealed to the US and the EU to seize on recent developments in Libya, in both political and economic spheres, saying this would help to strengthen the stability in a region vital both for the EU and Malta. Gonzi was speaking about recent Mediterranean and Middle East developments during a historic meeting between EU leaders and US President Bush. In an intervention during discussion time, Gonzi emphasised the need for a stronger effort to maximise the benefits of the Barcelona process, which is intended to bolster economic and political ties among the countries forming part of the Mediterranean basin. The meeting, the first between a US President and EU leaders, took place at the seat of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. [Times Of Malta]
Thursday, 24 February, 2005: Libya plans to change terms for the next round of oil exploration bids to boost incentives for firms that employ locals and are involved in the downstream oil and gas sector, the oil minister said on Tuesday. As a result of the planned changes, Libya was postponing its next exploration tender by up to three months, he added. Libya awarded its first post-sanctions oil acreage permits last month, but Fathi Bin Shatwan said the government was mulling the results for clues to revise the terms and give more incentives for companies participating in future bids. "We will add some terms ... like ones for increasing the employment of Libyans and linking downstream and upstream activities. Also it will be another incentive for bidders that accept to increase the country's reserves," he added. [Reuters]
LLHR : Letter To The Spanish Prime Minister


Wednesday, 23 February, 2005: Oil prices have climbed above $50 a barrel to a 12-week high, bolstered by a late bout of cold winter weather in Europe and the United States and a sharp decline in the dollar versus other currencies. Tuesday's statements from OPEC members Kuwait and Libya that there was currently no need for the cartel to cut output did little to curb the rally. U.S. crude oil jumped by $2.10 a barrel to $50.45, the highest level since November 30. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 23 February, 2005: The Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs met in Tripoli on Tuesday with the member of French Congress, a member of the political Committee of the Association of West Europe, Joust Dorou and her accompanying delegation currently visiting Libya. Libyan - French relations as well as the situation in Africa were discussed. The meeting also touched on the concept of the Great Middle East, geographically and politically, and its cultural and human content, Barcelona process and policies of neighborhood. [JANA]
Wednesday, 23 February, 2005: The Bush administration is continuing its drive for closer economic ties with the Middle East, restarting trade-related talks with Egypt this week and formally opening free-trade agreement negotiations with Oman and the UAE next month. Bush, as part of a broader post-September 11 strategy, in May 2003 proposed a Middle East Free Trade Area "to bring the Middle East into an expanding circle of opportunity, to provide hope for the people who live in that region." Many of the region's more populous, wealthy or influential nations still are far from signing on to the proposal ... Iraq faces myriad challenges as it rebuilds after Saddam's rule and a U.S. invasion to topple him [and] Libya is only slowly normalizing commercial relations with the world as it emerges from its terrorist past. [The Washington Times]

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005: French prosecutors are to start legal proceedings against one of Libyan leader Qadhafi's sons over a violent incident in a Paris hotel, a judicial source said Monday. Hannibal al-Qadhafi (photo) is suspected of "deliberate violence against a vulnerable person ... his pregnant partner..," as well as possessing an unlicensed weapon, the source said. He is to be summoned before a judge in Paris to respond to the accusations, the source said. Hannibal, who is aged in his 20s, was the subject of a formal protest by France to Libya early this month after he allegedly took part in scuffles in two luxury hotels in the French capital on the night of February 1 during which he produced a handgun. It was reported on Feb. 6 that Danish police were called three weeks earlier following a violent incident involving Hannibal at a Libyan diplomat's residence in the posh Copenhagen suburb of Gentofte. [AFP]
Tuesday, 22 February, 2005: Libya has apologized to Mauritania for allegedly supporting rebels who tried to overthrow President Moawiya Ould Tayeh last year, sources said. The sources said Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam Monday offered Libya's apology to Ould Tayeh at a meeting in Nouakchott. Libya had previously denied any involvement in the aborted coup attempt carried out by rebel former officers in the Mauritanian army. The apology is expected to warm up relations between the two Arab North African countries and boost efforts to reactivate the stalled Arab Maghreb Union. Ould Tayeh was expected to meet with Libyan leader Qadhafi to seal the reconciliation before the March 22 Arab summit in Algeria. [UPI]
Tuesday, 22 February, 2005: An investigation by the Irish police into a major money laundering racket linked to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) will take them abroad. "Prior to the recovery of the monies we have recovered in recent weeks we did conduct investigations which led us in certain directions," police commissioner Noel Conroy told reporters. "It's a bit too early at this stage to go into details on that, but we will be following up in relation to matters overseas," he said, without revealing any specific locations. The Observer newspaper reported Sunday that one line of inquiry was the channeling of "dirty money" out of Ireland into Libya and Bulgaria. [AFP]
Monday, 21 February, 2005: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia are expected to launch a regional federation for North Africa on 26 March. The new body will be called the Union of N. African Federations (Unaf) and have its headquarters in Tunis. Unaf's first president is expected to be the Tunisia football federation's chairman Ben Ammar Hamouda. The post of president will then be rotated among the five founding nations. The new body is expected to organize football competitions for clubs and the national teams of the five member countries. [BBC]
Monday, 21 February, 2005: Bulgarian ambassador to Libya Zdravko Velev visited the nurses, sentenced to death in Tripoli's Judeida prison. Velev was accompanied by Palestine's deputy ambassador, Spain's Ambassador Joaquin Villanova and Dimitar Dimitrov, an advisor in the Bulgarian embassy. The medics talked over two hours with their relatives in Bulgaria from the diplomats' mobile phones. In May 2004 Libya found the five Bulgarian health workers and a Palestinian doctor guilty of having deliberately infected more than 400 children at a Benghazi hospital with HIV. The nurses were sentenced to death. [SNA]
Monday, 21 February, 2005: The growing potential of the Libyan market and the numerous business opportunities for Maltese entrepreneurs which it offers will be discussed at a two-day conference which EMCS is holding jointly with Fimbank, at the Corinthia San Gorg Hotel on March 8 and 9. This is the first international conference which EMCS is organising in Malta, with the participation of prestigious guest speakers from Malta, Libya and UK, and participants from a number of other countries. Between 150 and 200 participants are expected at the conference. The conference - "Succeeding in a changing Libya: strategies for new business opportunities" - has the official blessing of the Maltese Foreign Minister, Dr Michael Frendo, and support from the Libyan-Maltese Chamber of Commerce. [Times Of Malta]








Sunday, 20 February, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Saturday wrapped up a three-day visit to Egypt after holding a series of talks with Egyptian officials on a wide range of issues, the official MENA news agency reported. Earlier in the day, Qadhafi met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the latest developments on the Arab and African arenas and bilateral relations between Egypt and Libya, according to MENA. On Friday, Qadhafi held talks with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazef and the ministers of defense, interior, irrigation, oil, electricity, tourism, foreign trade and industry. Qadhafi arrived in Cairo on Thursday. [Xinhua]
Sunday, 20 February, 2005: On the 40th anniversary of Gambia's independence, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) called on police investigating the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara to examine the possibility that it was political and that, in particular, it may have been carried out by group calling itself the "Green Boys" which has threatened other journalists. [Members of the group] were sent to Libya in the mid-1990s to be instructed in the use of firearms and receive religious training. Back in Gambia, they served as a support group for the ruling party. [RWB]
Sunday, 20 February, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak backed an African solution to the crisis in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region during two rounds of talks in Cairo, presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad said. The two leaders "agreed on the need to support efforts by the African Union to resolve the crisis in Darfur within an African framework," Awad said as Qadhafi left Cairo for Tripoli. At least 70,000 people and possibly tens of thousands more have died during two years of fighting in Darfur, where the government and its proxy militias have brutally battled a rebellion launched in February 2003. [AFP]
Sunday, 20 February, 2005: An energy contractor from the United Arab Emirates plans to participate in oil exploration projects in Libya. Liwa Energy Ltd said it was offered a stake in nine out of the 15 oil and gas exploration projects awarded in in Libya. Liwa, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Co., has been part of the U.S-led consortium, headed by Occidental Petroleum, which won the nine projects in Libya. "The success in Libya is in line with our objective to expand Mubadala's oil and gas portfolio in the region and internationally," Mubadala chief operating officer Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, said. [MENL]
Sunday, 20 February, 2005: Italian Foreign undersecretary Alfredo Mantica is visiting Libya and other countries charged by foreign minister Gianfranco Fini. He met in Tripoli with World Islamic Call Society (WICS) president, Dr Mohammed Sharif. They talked about the kidnapping of Giuliana Sgrena. Mantica asked the help of all the associations reunited in the WICS. [AGI]



Saturday, 19 February, 2005: The brother of a law student held in Guantanamo Bay has pleaded for him to receive "proper justice". British resident Omar Deghayes, 35, has been held at the US military base, in Cuba, since 2002. As the family (photo) appealed to the British government for efforts to secure his release, lawyers said he had been made blind in one eye by US military police. The family fled Libya after his father was assassinated. On Thursday, they called for him to "have a fair trial". Investigators have claimed Mr Deghayes helped recruit young men in Brighton for extremist groups, and that he was involved in the Madrid bombings and the September 11 terror attacks. But his brother, Taher, 38, said: "He wouldn't harm a plant let alone innocent people." His sister Amani, 30, said he had always "cared about justice", and was "fair" and "well-meaning". [BBC]
Saturday, 19 February, 2005: Libya refused to extend the deadline of the Lockerbie compensation deal in a possible bid to pressure Washington to drop it from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, people close to the deal said on Friday. Libya had agreed to pay up to $10 million in phases to the families of the 270 people killed when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland in Dec. 1988, with the final $2 million contingent on Tripoli getting off the terrorism list. A lawyer for the families, two U.S. officials and the father of one victim said Libya declined to extend the agreement. It expired on Thursday after having previously been extended seven times because of Tripoli's desire to keep improving relations with Washington. [Reuters]






Friday, 18 February, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Cairo, Thursday on an unannounced three-day visit to Egypt, the official MENA news agency reported. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak received Qadhafi at the presidential palace. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the Mideast peace process after the Palestinian-Israeli summit was held at Egypt's resort of Sharm el-Sheikh last Tuesday. They also dealt with the situation in Lebanon after former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated Monday. [Xinhua]
Friday, 18 February, 2005: Libyan authorities have jeopardized the anticipated visit of Bulgarian journalists in Tripoli's Judeyda prison to meet with the Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death. After a week of lingering with formalities, the reporters have not been allowed to a meeting despite earlier promises of that. Meanwhile, Spanish Ambassador to Ttripoli Joaquin Villanova had received permission to visit the prisoners in the prison on Sunday. [Novinite]
Friday, 18 February, 2005: [Libya's Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem] has met in Tripoli with International Monetary Fund's continental official and chancellor. Cooperation between Libya and IMF in banking fields were discussed in the meeting. The meeting also reviewed IMF contribution in presenting consultations related to the banking sector, developing the national sector and improving the economic infrastructure. [LJBC]
Friday, 18 February, 2005: Vietnam will send more guest workers to Libya, a Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs official, Mr Nguyen Nhu Tuan, has said. Mr Tuan, who is deputy head of the Marketing Department of the ministry’s Department for Administration of Foreign Employed Labour, returned from Libya on February 15 after a visit to survey the labour market there. Currently, around 1,000 Vietnamese are working in Libya. [VietNamNet]
Friday, 18 February, 2005: France is intensifying contacts with Libya, introducing military officers as part of a "strategic cooperation pact" between the two countries. The move followed a visit to Libya early this month by French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who said the treaty signed in November will consist of "all aspects of cooperation." Under the pact, France will create a better air cover over Libyan territory with sales of aircraft and combat helicopters, and improve Libya's arsenal, much of it bought from France about 30 years ago. [UPI]
Friday, 18 February, 2005: China's export to and import from Libya reached 27,418,000 US dollars in December 2004, and the trade in January-December (2004) reached 671,670,000 US dollars, up 211.4 percent year on year. [Xinhua]



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Thursday, 17 February, 2005: A British resident held by the US in Guantanamo Bay was directly threatened with murder by Libyan secret services while in captivity, it was claimed yesterday. Omar Deghayes, 35, was born in Libya but fled to Britain as a child after his father was murdered by the Qadhafi regime. Mr Deghayes also alleges beatings and ill-treatment by the US that left him blinded in one eye after a soldier plunged his finger into it ... Mr Deghayes grew up in Brighton and studied law at Wolverhampton University and then in Huddersfield. His family say he had given sermons in a mosque condemning terrorism and violence in the name of Islam. His brother Taher said: "He has been blinded. It is terrifying what he has been going through. I'm amazed at his strength." "I fear for him, that he's tortured, losing his dignity, and the biggest fear is if they send him back to Libya." [The Guardian]
Thursday, 17 February, 2005: The Libyan Foreign Ministry has expressed regrets over the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In a statement issued Tuesday, the committee described the late Hariri as "one of the national symbols of Lebanon". [Angop]
Thursday, 17 February, 2005: The activities of the first gathering of Khutaba (preachers), Imams (Chaplins), Holy Quran teachers, and Sufi centers sheikhs have concluded in Tripoli. According to Jana, the gathering was organized by the General Endowment and Alms Authority under the theme; "For Moderate Activation Of The Religious Discourses". [Albawaba]
Thursday, 17 February, 2005: Several African leaders wrapped up summit talks in Chad, agreeing on steps to ensure respect of a ceasefire in the western Darfur region of Sudan. They urged the executive of the joint ceasefire Commission on Darfur to send a fact-finding team to verify positions occupied by the opposing sides. Nigeria sent African Integration Minister Lawan Gana Guba. Libya and Egypt were also represented. [AFP]



Wednesday, 16 February, 2005: Libyan leader Qadhafi has attacked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for the European Union (EU) and NATO to help end the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, saying it risked creating a second Iraq. Annan urged NATO and EU officials at a security conference in Germany on Sunday to help in Darfur, arguing that the African Union mission in the region was inadequate to the scale of the challenge. "The brother Kofi Annan's statement is very dangerous and stops us from pursuing the African efforts. If his statement were to be implemented that will make Sudan a second Iraq," Qadhafi said. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 16 February, 2005: Afrimpex Navigation Company's Managing Director, Abd Assalam N. Aweti last Saturday disclosed that Libya would provide two more ferries for Sierra Leone to help ease sea transport difficulties. He says Afrimpex is owned by the Libya Foreign Investment Company currently operating in 25 African countries. "The Libyan government is prepared to help the country and Libya's investment in this country is the result of President Kabbah's interest in ameliorating the country's present status," he said, adding that the Libyan government has given Afrimpex Company the task to invest in Sierra Leone. [Concord Times]
Wednesday, 16 February, 2005: The health test results of the five Bulgarian nurses in Libya give no cause for concern, it emerged on Tuesday. The Bulgarians, sentenced to death for allegedly causing HIV outbreak at a children's hospital in Benghazi, underwent medical tests under tight security out of Tripoli's Judeyda prison, where they are locked up. The five tested negative for HIV and other diseases. Bulgarian journalists in Tripoli say Libya's Justice Ministry continues to obstruct their access to the prison. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 16 February, 2005: The husband of Nasya Nenova, one of Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya, voiced concerns that his wife might commit suicide. I am afraid that she might kill herself, she badly needs a psychiatrist, Ivan Nenov told local Darik radio. He also explained that all nurses are desperate following the latest news that the trial might drag on for another three years. Nenov is positive that even if Bulgaria accepts the demands of the relatives of the HIV infected children it would not put an end to the lingered trial. [SNA]

Tuesday, 15 February, 2005: They didn't want to go back to Libya, to put it mildly. It took 36 Norwegian police guards to escort 19 Libyans out of the country, after their attempts to win asylum in Norway were turned down. Here's one of the Libyans who didn't want to board the flight out of Norway (photo). The Norwegian immigration agency also chartered a jet to transport the Libyans back home, because it wasn't considered safe to take them on board a regularly scheduled carrier. The would-be Libyan refugees were denied asylum after Libya started cooperating with western nations. A consul at the Libyan embassy in Copenhagen, which has responsibility for Norway, said none of the men sent back to Libya last month faced political problems, and claimed all were now home living with their families. [Aftenpolten]
Tuesday, 15 February, 2005: Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., the world's No. 1 manufacturer of desalinization plants, said Tuesday it has won a US$6.5 million order from Libya to build a desalinization plant. Under the deal, Doosan will construct the plant in Zawia, by May of next year to provide 550,000 gallons of fresh water a day, a company spokesman said. [Yonhap]
Tuesday, 15 February, 2005: The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations will work for the release of five Bulgarian medics sentenced to death in Libya, it became known Monday after the US businessmen met with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy. The 50-member delegation paid a two-day visit to Bulgaria upon the invitation of Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg. The US businessmen expressed their belief that once the rights of a single person are violated, that is actually a violation of the rights of all mankind. [SNA]




Monday, 14 February, 2005: The government of Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is lobbying to block the imminent transfer of Lockerbie prisoner Abdel Baset al-Megrahi (photo) from Glasgow's Barlinnie prison to a facility 30 miles away as part of a campaign to have him serve his life sentence in Libya or another Muslim country. Libyan government officials have written to the United Nations claiming that transferring Megrahi from Barlinnie jail breaches the agreement that led to Tripoli handing over two suspects for trial. Libya has also complained to Britain. Saad Djebbar, a London lawyer who has represented the oil-rich country over the Lockerbie case, said: "[The Libyans] said if this is about cost, this is an opportunity for us to take him to a third country." [The Independent]
Monday, 14 February, 2005: A Libyan family whose two daughters died of AIDS after being in a hospital hit by an outbreak of the deadly virus went to court to sue the state over their deaths, a legal source said. The parents, whose children Marwa and Safa had spent time in the Benghazi paediatric hospital in 1998, is suing the state and its medical institutions for five million dinars (nearly US$4.5 million) in compensation. "This trial has been started by the parents of Marwa and Safa Faraj Abdel-Tawwab who died between the end of 1998 and 1998," Ramadhan al-Fituri, head of the association representing the child victims of the outbreak, told AFP. [AFP]
Monday, 14 February, 2005: Libyan families of HIV-infected children voiced willingness to negotiate passing life sentences on the five Bulgarian nurses who are on the death row for allegedly causing HIV outbreak at a hospital in Benghazi. At a meeting with Bulgarian journalists at the Benghazi hospital the families laid down their conditions - that Bulgaria acknowledges the nurses' guilt and pay compensations, to include free treatment of the children in EU clinics, free medication during their life and building a specialized AIDS hospital in Benghazi. The parents will also seek financial indemnities, ranging from Eur 10 M to Eur 100 M for each child. [Novinite]
Time : 10 Questions For Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi








Sunday, 13 February, 2005: The protracted HIV trial of the five Bulgarian nurses in Libya may drag on for another three years, should the Supreme Court refer back the case during its March session. The lawyers of the Bulgarian defendants have tabled a complaint, which exposes objectively oversights of the Libyan court that they hope to lead to a new review of the case. Among the listed omissions is the search in Kristiana Vulcheva's home, where banks containing HIV-infected blood plasm were found. Libyan lawyer Osman Bizanti (photo) warned that the defense will be helpless if the supreme court upholds the death sentences. Only active diplomatic moves by state officials could make any difference then, he said, hinting for the first time at the political aspect of the trial. [SNA]
Sunday, 13 February, 2005: Parade magazine's yearly list of the planet's 10 worst living dictators has named Sudan's Omar Bashir as the head of world's most ignominious class. Following Bashir are, in order: Kim Jong Il (N. Korea), Than Shwe (Myanmar), Hu Jintao (China), Crown Prince Abdullah (Saudi Arabia), Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (Libya), Musharraf (Pakistan), Niyazov (Turkmenistan), Mugabe (Zimbabwe) and Nguema (Eq. Guinea). Parade magazine's contributing editor David Wallechinsky developed his list by consulting such human rights groups as Freedom House, Amnesty Int'l, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders. [UPI]
Sunday, 13 February, 2005: The Executive Director of The International Qadhafi Foundation for Charity Association, Salah Abdulssalam, met this morning [Thursday, 10 February, 2005] with Donald Andrson, chairman of the British Foreign Affairs Committee and his accompanying delegation currently visiting Libya. Salah Abdussalam briefed the British delegation during the meeting on the humanitarian activities of the foundation at local, regional, and world levels. The foundations' relations with charity institutions in Britain were also discussed. [JANA]
Saturday, 12 February, 2005: The United States said Friday that Libyan diplomats can travel freely in the country, a latest sign of improving relations between the two longtime antagonists. Libya is similarly lifting its reciprocal restrictions on American diplomats, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told a regular news briefing. "These steps will ease our ability to conduct normal diplomatic functions in Libya and Libya's ability to do the same here," Boucher said. Washington has canceled most economic sanctions after Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi agreed in December 2003 to abandon his quest for WMDs. But Libya remains on a US State Department list of countries that are sponsors of terrorism. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 12 February, 2005: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi is not happy with Italian oil major Eni's operations in Libya. Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi said in an interview published on Friday that he had discussed the issue with his father, who agreed "100 percent". "I tell you a secret: personally I'm not happy with how Eni behaves in our country," Seif al-Islam told Panorama. Until the end of sanctions against Qadhafi's regime, Eni was one of only a handful of int'l producers with significant investments in Libya. "This has transformed their managers into arrogant characters, with no sensitivity to their environment, the society, the needs of the Libyans, and no flexibility," Seif al-Islam said. He said Eni now faced Canadian, British and U.S. competition, which meant it needed Libya as much as the reverse. Eni, in Libya since 1959, was left out last month in Libya's first round of oil exploration licensing since U.S. sanctions were eased in 2004. [Reuters]
Saturday, 12 February, 2005: The US Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East William Burns has urged Libya to free the five Bulgarian nurses on the lingered HIV trial. William Burns held a meeting with Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Thursday. Earlier this week, it became known that the Supreme Court in Tripoli would hear the case against the medics on March 29. [SNA]



Wall Street Journal: The Qadhafi Exception



Friday, 11 February, 2005: The top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East had "productive" talks with Libyan officials in Tripoli this week as the two nations continue to work to improve relations, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns met Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo) and other officials on Wednesday and Thursday. "Burns held productive and thorough discussions in Tripoli ... continuing the step-by-step process of improvement in U.S.-Libyan relations," the department said in a statement. "He reaffirmed the goal of fully normalized relations, as the U.S. and Libya build cooperation on counter-terrorism, the peaceful resolution of regional conflicts, and economic and political modernization," it added. [Reuters]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: North Korea boasted publicly for the first time Thursday that it has nuclear weapons and said it will stay away from disarmament talks. The Bush administration called on Pyongyang to give up its atomic aspirations so life can be better for its impoverished people. North Korea's announcement came one week after administration officials, speaking anonymously, said there was strong evidence that N. Korea sold processed uranium to Libya. [AP]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: Libyan all cargo carrier Tobruk Air Transport has appointed UK-based Ana Aviation Services as its Cargo General Sales Agent for Europe and North America. The Banghazi-based Tobruk Air Transport operates three IL76 freighter aircraft on regular and ad-hoc flights throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including a weekly service linking the UAE, Libya and Chad. Tobruk has been approved to start charter flights to Europe, and plans to start weekly flights between London Gatwick – Tripoli and Benghazi on February 28th, using a 65-ton payload DC10 wet leased from DAS Air Cargo. [Eye-For-Transport]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: The Bush administration lashed out at China before an international audience on Monday for not stopping its munitions companies from selling missile technology to Iran and other "rogue states." Speaking to a conference in Tokyo sponsored by Japan, US Undersecretary of State John Bolton said Washington would move aggressively to suspend business with companies that provide sensitive weapons technology to Iran and other countries. Chinese companies were blamed for providing ballistic missile technology to Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Libya, and the problem was continuing. [The Taipei Times]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: The Secretary of Foreign Liaison [Abdelrahman Shalgam] has met in Tripoli with Judder Pavil Reisak, the Czech ambassador to Libya. The Secretary of Foreign Liaison also met with Spain's ambassador to Libya, Joachim Peter Pea Nova. [LJBC]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: Top U.S. Army analysts believe the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, to be "ruthless and cunning" ... One of Israel's most outrageous "false flag" operations involved a wild propaganda story aimed at discrediting Libyan leader Qadhafi. In the early months of Ronald Reagan's administration [1981], the American media began 'promoting' a story that a "Libyan hit squad" was in the U.S. to assassinate the president. It goes without saying this piece of 'fact' inflamed public sentiment against Libya. Suddenly, however, the "hit squad" stories vanished. It was discovered that the source of the story was one Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former Iranian Savak (secret police) agent who had very close ties to the Mossad. [Aljazeera.Com]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: Frustrated at coming close to be the first American rock band to play public concerts in Libya since Qadhafi took power 35 years ago, a California group wants to try again, its manager says. The Heavenly States, an indie rock group from Oakland, travelled to Libya last week. Libyan authorities scuppered their plans, saying there was a problem with the group's visa. The group did play, however, a private gig at the home of a British diplomat with proceeds going to a relief fund for the tsunami victims, said the band manager. [Reuters]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: The ink is barely dry from Libya's most recent oil and gas licensing round, yet companies are already looking forward to their next opportunity to bid for exploration and production opportunities in the energy-rich but under-explored North African country. Industry executives and advisers are keen to see what properties will be up for grabs when Libya launches its next bidding contest next month. The high quality of Libya's light, low-sulfur crude, ideal for gasoline production, and the relatively quick travel time to the U.S. - about half the time it takes Saudi crude to arrive at Gulf Coast refineries - adds to the attraction. [Dow Jones]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: Hari Haralampiev, a lawyer defending the five Bulgarian nurses in Libya, said Thursday that he believed in [Libya's] Supreme Court's fairness. "I have always said that I believe in justice, and that includes the Libyan justice as well," the solicitor told Sofia News Agency (SNA). Haralampiev confirmed reports about March 29 being set as the date for the Supreme Court hearing of the HIV trial against the Bulgarians. Last May, they were found guilty of deliberately infecting more than 400 Benghazi children with HIV, and were sentenced to death by firing squad. The trial lingered for more than five years. "Things happen slowly in Libya, and solutions often come in the very last moment," the defender told SNA. [SNA]
Friday, 11 February, 2005: A partnership contract was signed in Tripoli earlier this week to implement a world tourist resort in Farwa island between Libya's al-Niqat al Khamis municipality, Farwa for Tourism, and the Italian Norman group. According to JANA, part of the resort will be built on Farwa island itself, and the other part on the coast. The remaining area of the island will be preserved as a natural reserve and will include six big hotels, two 5-star hotels and four hotels of 4 stars. An oasis of 70 tents equipped with the most modern services will also be set up along with floating tents, a golf course, two Yacht platforms, and other services. The project will spread on an area totaling 471 hectares and will cost 300 million euro. [Mena Report]



http://www.pi-libya.com


Thursday, 10 February, 2005: US Middle East pointman William Burns reportedly held talks in Tripoli with Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam (photo) on the situation in Iraq after the elections. Shalgam and US assistant secretary of state also discussed the situation in the Middle East as well as bilateral relations, the state news agency JANA reported. The Libyan minister said his country hoped the January 30 elections would contribute to the recovery of Iraq's full sovereignty and the withdrawal of the US-led multinational forces from the country, JANA reported. For his part, Burns was quoted as praising Libya "for its role toward installing peace in Africa", while Shalgam said US authorities were to soon lift restrictions on the movements of Libyan diplomats in the US. [AFP]
Thursday, 10 February, 2005: The NSW all Stars today beat the Libyan national team (1-0) in their exhibition match in Sydney. Central Coast Mariners defender Andrew Clark netted the winner in the third minute against the Libyan side who are visiting Australia to maintain fitness ahead of a key World Cup qualifier with Egypt next month. Libyan football chairman and son of his country's president Saadi al-Qadhafi missed the match due to injury. [AAP]
Thursday, 10 February, 2005: Libya's Supreme Court will hear the appeals of the five Bulgarian nurses on March 29, Bulgarian media said late on Wednesday. The announcement was confirmed by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gergana Grancharova. Also on Wednesday evening, a Bulgarian reporter in Libya said that the nurses had left prison to undergo detailed medical testing at a hospital outside the Tripoli's Judeyda complex. [Novinite]
Thursday, 10 February, 2005: Terrorists including those belonging to al-Qaeda have reportedly threatened the Libyan Embassy and its staff in Islamabad, Pakistan, sources told Daily Times on Wednesday. The Libyan Security Forces Department briefed Libyan diplomats in Pakistan of possible terrorist threats including bombings, sources added. [Daily Times]



Wednesday, 9 February, 2005: The case of Bulgarian nurses sentenced for deliberate AIDS infection of children in Libya seems to near its possible end, according to a Tunisian online edition. Tunis Hebdo announced Libya had agreed to free the five medics in exchange for the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi convicted in 2001 over participating in the Lockerbie explosion. [Novinite]
Wednesday, 9 February, 2005: A team of Emirates Post (EP) led by Director General Abdullah al-Daboos recently visited Tripoli. The delegation held talks with top officials from the General Corporation for Posts and Telecomm (GCPT), Libya. EP highlighted the scope for increased cooperation in postal, financial and electronic services, with a focus on EP's state of the art infrastructure and the strategy of offering innovative services through the postal network. The Libyan side was represented by Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed Albuaishi, Director General, Postal Affairs, GCPT, Dr. Sami Al Bakbak, member, Telecomm Committee, Mr. Mohammed Omar Dakheel, Director Postal Services and Mr. Hadi al-Soodi, Director, Financial Services. [AME]
Wednesday, 9 February, 2005: Four soldiers from the African state of Niger - who were held hostage for five months by Tuareg rebels in the country's northern desert - were to return home on Tuesday from Tripoli after Libya helped secure their release. The four had been taken hostage by a rebel group called the FLAA (Liberation Front for the Air and Azawak) based in the north, which sought the release of an ex-minister. The four, three paramilitary personnel and a regular soldier, were set to return home aboard a special flight, said an official of the Qadhafi foundation, run by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, a son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [IOL]
Wednesday, 9 February, 2005: Greece launched the 4th Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean in the southern Greek city of Najplio. The conference, which began on Sunday, has been attended by senior officials of European Union and Mediterranean states. Organizers said the Middle East countries in the conference include Algeria, Republic of Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. They said the Palestinian Authority was participating for the first time as a full member. [MENL]
Tuesday, 8 February, 2005: Italy and Libya are planning to set up joint teams of investigators to tackle people-smuggling gangs. The move would bolster their cooperation on illegal immigration, with Libya often a source and Italy a target of thousands of immigrants seeking to make their way into Europe. Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu held talks Sunday in Tripoli with Libyan National Security Minister Nasser al-Mabruk and Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam to review joint measures adopted last year to stem the flow of mainly African migrants. [MENL]
Tuesday, 8 February, 2005: Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi has revealed former Perugia teammate Zeljko Kalac told him to quit the Italian club when he sought the Aussie goalkeeper's advice last season. The pair are now close friends, but al-Saadi revealed at a media conference yesterday: "He was very friendly (so) I asked him to come to my room and give me some advice. "And you know what he said? Go home. "Every day he sends me messages on the mobile phone. "He say, 'Oh, I wish I was with you, in my city, in my country'." Al-Saadi is in Sydney with the Libya national team for a series of games, though an injury means he will have sit out the tour. [TribalFootbal]
Tuesday, 8 February, 2005: As many as 1,550 Pakistani workers have been deported from Libya and Oman on charges of illegal entry since July 2004, reveals an official report of the Labour Ministry. 1,213 Pakistanis were deported from Oman and 336 from Libya. [HiPakistan]
Tuesday, 8 February, 2005: Publicly listed energy company PT Medco Energi Internasional said it has won a tender for oil explorations and production in Libya. The result of the tender on Jan 29 is awaiting a final approval from the Libyan state-owned oil company (NOC) and the government, Medco said in a statement. If approved, Medco hopes to immediately carry out oil and gas explorations in Ghadames Basin over a concession of 6,182 square kilometers, the statement said. Medco won the tender in cooperation with a publicly listed company from Canada, Verenex Energy Inc. which will act as the operator under a 50:50 interest split agreement. [Antara]
Tuesday, 8 February, 2005: Bulgarian nurses, who are in the Tripoli's Judeida prison, are to be visited next days by foreign diplomats accredited in Libya. Monday it has been five years since Libya's People's Court has charged six Bulgarian medics and a Palestinian physician with deliberately infecting over 400 Libyan children with HIV, and with a conspiracy against Libya. The medics were sentenced to death over the deliberate HIV infection in a Libyan hospital, but the defendants later claimed their confessions were extorted with torture. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 8 February, 2005: Faure Gnassingbe was sworn in as president of Togo on Monday, two days after the death of his father - Africa's longest-reigning leader - despite international criticism that the son's accession was unconstitutional. Western diplomats in the capital, Lome, boycotted Monday's brief, 15-minute swearing in, although diplomats from Libya, Egypt, Congo and Gabon and members of parliament were present. [AP]


Monday, 7 February, 2005: As the race for lucrative business deals in this recently rehabilitated pariah state has intensified, so has French diplomacy. Just over two months after President Jacques Chirac made a symbolic first official trip to Libya, the French defense minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, went to Tripoli to sign a letter of intent on military cooperation and procurement late Saturday. Libya, long ostracized for bankrolling terrorists and seeking nuclear weapons, has become a popular destination for Western officials in search of new markets ever since the European Union and the United States lifted economic sanctions last year. Libya has Africa's largest proven oil reserves and about $20 billion in foreign exchange reserves. [IHT]
Monday, 7 February, 2005: Libyan leader Qadhafi's professional footballer son arrived in Australia on Saturday to begin a tour of soccer diplomacy in which he will meet government officials in between playing for his national football team. Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi arrived in Sydney with the Libyan national football team and plans to meet Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Trade Minister Mark Vaile, along with oil, agriculture and film industry officials. [Reuters]
Monday, 7 February, 2005: Two oil tankers collided off the coast of Egypt spilling 9,000 barrels of crude into the Mediterranean Sea. The Singapore-registered M.T. Trijata lost 3,000 barrels of oil through a gash five meters (16 feet) above the water line, said GBLT Ship Management spokeswoman Allison Lim. The other tanker, US-based Genmar Kestrel, lost 6,000 barrels of crude oil. The M.T. Trijata was on its way to China from Libya when the accident occurred. [AP]
Monday, 7 February, 2005: A Snowflake [USA] woman recently had a close brush with an Internet scam. Linda Hayward listed a horse for sale with an Internet service and received an e-mail from someone who said he was from Spain and was interested in buying the horse. He said he would pay $5,450 for the horse and that someone from New York would pick it up," Hayward said. "They wanted me to send them $1,500 to give to the person in New York and they would send me a cashier's check to cover everything." Her Caller ID indicated the call came from Libya, not Spain. Eventually the cashier's check came but when she contacted the bank on which the check was drawn, they refused to cash it, saying it was worthless. [WMIC]

Sunday, 6 February, 2005: Signals that Libya is willing to trade the lives of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death strengthened during this past weekend when Qadhafi told Serbian president Boris Tadic that the country was expecting compensation. According to the Tanjug news agency, Tadic, during hid visit to Libya, raised the issue with Qadhafi. Tripoli's position was that "the victims' families may receive compensation ... the infected may be given medical treatment in co-operation with the EU ... then the case may be reviewed," Tanjug reported. [Sofia Echo]
Sunday, 6 February, 2005: Brisbane music manager Eugene Bari has failed in his bid to bring rock 'n' roll to Libya, after a visa mix-up scuttled a tour by US indie band the Heavenly States. The Heavenly States, a Californian band, arrived in Libya on February 1 to play three concerts. The fact that the band's lyrics have a dose of rhetoric criticising US President Bush was not officially mentioned as a possible reason behind the cancellation of the the concerts. [ABC]
Sunday, 6 February, 2005: The Pentagon's chief investigator is looking into the military's practice of paying journalists to write articles and commentary for a Web site aimed at influencing public opinion in the Balkans. The Balkans Web site, called Southeast European Times, as well as a second aimed at audiences in north Africa, have no immediately obvious connection to the U.S. government but contain a linked disclaimer that says they are "sponsored by the U.S. European Command." The second site, called Magharebia and aimed at the Maghreb region that encompasses Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, still is in development. Both sites carry news stories compiled from AP, Reuters and other news organizations. [AP]
Sunday, 6 February, 2005: French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie held talks with Libyan leader Qadhafi Saturday on a two-day visit to restore defence ties that France broke off in the early 1980s after Libya invaded neighbouring Chad. French diplomats described the talks as "very good" and said they also focused on EU concerns about clandestine migration from Libya into the 25-nation bloc. Alliot-Marie signed a framework agreement with Libyan defence chief General Abubaker Yunes Jaber which set up separate committees to consider future strategic dialogue, military cooperation and arms sales. [AFP]

http://www.streamload.com/masoudb100/EL/4MR168WT66/Funeral_of_Abdel_Rahim._0001.wmv



Saturday, 5 February, 2005: Chicago-based Boeing announced today it has a preliminary agreement with Libya's Buraq Air to buy as many as six airplanes in a deal that could be worth $369 million. Under the agreement, the Tripoli-based airline will buy three 737-800s, with the option to buy three more. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Boeing's Web site lists prices for the planes at between $61.5 million and $69.5 million. [AP]
Saturday, 5 February, 2005: Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is expected to have tea and scones with the son of the reformed terrorist Colonel Qadhafi next week. Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo), 31-year-old third son of the infamous Libyan leader, flies in to Sydney today aboard his private jet to lead the Libyan soccer team. Colonel Qadhafi was once regarded as one of the world's most notorious terrorists and head of a country which until recently was regarded by the US as a "threat". But how things change. After Libya promised to stop building nuclear bombs, al-Saadi al-Qadhafi and Downer are now friends. "Nothing unites people like sport," al-Saadi said. [The Daily Telegraph]
Saturday, 5 February, 2005: The French government confirmed on Friday that it was protesting to the Libyan government over the "repeated incidents" caused by Hannibal al-Qadhafi, the son of the Libyan leader Qadhafi. Hannibal was involved in a number of incidents in recent weeks, including high-speed and dangerous car stunts on the Champs Elysees avenue in central Paris, and a number of other incidents involving domestic violence and violence against French police. The police union has vociferously protested the antics of the 28-year-old Libyan, who was flaunted a diplomatic passport on each occasion police have been called for his behavior. In one incident, Hannibal Lebanese wife alleged she was beaten by her husband and has sought to press charges. Police sources said Friday they were considering pressing charges now, especially as the French Foreign Ministry has denied Hannibal is covered by diplomatic immunity.[KUNA]
Saturday, 5 February, 2005: A day after absolving Pakistan of the charges of selling nuclear material to Libya, the US media are once again dragging Islamabad into the controversy, claiming that the International Atomic Energy Agency is not yet willing to let Pakistan off the hook ... In a similar turnaround, the Washington Post reported on Thursday that the UN nuclear watchdog is challenging US claims North Korea sold converted uranium to Libya. [Dawn]
Saturday, 5 February, 2005: While many in the West see Arabs as exporters of terrorism, they forget that Arabs are also its biggest victims. Saudi Arabia is hosting the largest int'l conference on counterterrorism beginning today. The worst affected of the Arab states has been Algeria where some 150,000 people have died in the violence triggered by terrorists. Terrorism has also claimed at least 25,000 lives in Egypt since 1980. The current wave of terrorism in Iraq, which started almost 18 months ago, has already claimed over 11,000 lives. There are few estimates for the number of victims in other Arab states most affected, especially Libya where the insurgency in the Jabal Akhdhar (Green Mountain) area has gone largely unreported. [Arab News]





Friday, 4 February, 2005: French Police were investigating Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's youngest son after he allegedly injured his pregnant companion and damaged a hotel room in a rampage. The Foreign Ministry said France expressed its "displeasure" to authorities in Libya about "repeated incidents" involving Hannibal al-Qadhafi, 28. Hannibal and his companion, Aline Skaf, 24, were involved in a violent dispute at the Grand Hotel Intercontinental in Paris before dawn on Wednesday. Hannibal was questioned by police and released. He subsequently left France by plane for Denmark, where he is enrolled at the Copenhagen Business School. [PA]
Friday, 4 February, 2005: French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie will pay a two-day visit to Libya beginning next Saturday, but no arms contracts will be discussed between the two sides, Defense Ministry officials said. While there will be no discussion of arms sales now, there will be an examination of bilateral defense relations in the future and a "letter of intent" will be signed to set up a framework agreement for these relations, Defense Minsitry spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau said. Alliot-Marie will meet her Libyan counterpart while in Tripoli, but she will also hold talks with Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Discussions at that level will revolve around strategic interests in the Mediterranean and in Africa, officials said. [KUNA]
Friday, 4 February, 2005: The Sudanese government and allied militia have systematically abused civilians in Darfur, a U.N.-appointed commission says, but Khartoum has not pursued genocide as Washington contends. The commission identified suspected perpetrators of atrocities in a sealed annex to the report. They included government officials, rebels and "foreign army officers acting in their personal capacity." There was evidence some fighters with the militia were from Chad and Libya, it said. [Reuters]
Friday, 4 February, 2005: Four army officers convicted of masterminding a raft of coup plots against Mauritanian President Maaouya Ould Taya were sentenced to life in prison as a two-month mass trial drew to a close on Thursday. Ould Taya has accused Burkina Faso and Libya of helping to plan and finance these rebellions, a charge both countries have denied. [UN-IRIN]
Friday, 4 February, 2005: Korea Express CEO Kwak Young-wook is ... busy talking about how he resolved a huge financial risk that threatened the company's survival. On Dec. 27 last year, the Libyan government withdrew a $1.3 billion damages claim against Korea Express, allowing the nation's largest logistics firm to take over construction of waterways in Libya. Its bankrupt former parent Dong-Ah Construction Co. was in charge of the project previously. "I think Libyan officials gave up the damages claim and permitted us to take over the project because of our successful business in recent years," Kwak told The Korea Herald. [The Korea Herald]
Friday, 4 February, 2005: A leading hawk in the Bush administration said on Tuesday he hoped that diplomatic pressure would be enough to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. US Undersecretary of Defence Douglas Feith, an architect of the Iraq war, said Washington would continue to back the diplomatic engagement of Iran by the European Union. He said Libya, which pledged in Dec. 2003 to abandon its own WMDs, should be a model for Iran. Tripoli's decision ended its international isolation. "If the international community could get the Iranians to decide to follow that model, the world would be better off," Feith said. [Daily Times]
Friday, 4 February, 2005: South Korean officials on Thursday played down the significance of fresh reports that North Korea has crossed the "red line" in nuclear proliferation by exporting processed uranium to Libya. While Seoul declined to comment openly on the new evidence of nuclear proliferation by Pyongyang, officials speaking on condition of anonymity questioned the reliability of the intelligence, which was disclosed by the New York Times, and suggested it might have been leaked by U.S. officials to put pressure on Pyongyang. [Korea Times]





Thursday, 3 February, 2005: Regardless of its flaws and how it came about, Iraq's first free election on Jan. 30 was an historic event, the start of a liberation process from which there will be no return. For Arab and Middle Easterner rulers, the time of arrogant posturing towards Iraqis is over. A sea change of rebellion has been under way ever since Arab freewheeling satellites with the leadership of al Jazeera began to free the mind and challenge the people and the leaders over the past few years. The Lebanese are openly demanding an end to Syrian occupation. Egyptians are raising their voice in objection to a perennial presidency by one man ... Interestingly, the autocratic governments of Syria, Egypt, Libya and many other countries are all talking loudly about reforms to escape a heat that is not going away soon. [UPI]
Thursday, 3 February, 2005: Hit by a wave of deadly attacks since 2003, Saudi Arabia is to host an international counter-terrorism conference to improve its image abroad. Delegations from more than 50 countries will discuss over four days starting Saturday the causes of terrorism, in addition to the relation between terror and money laundering as well as arms and drug trafficking. Fifteen Arab countries are due to show up, with Libya and Iraq the main Arab absentees. [AFP]















Wednesday, 2 February, 2005: Scientific tests have led American intelligence agencies and government scientists to conclude with near certainty that North Korea sold processed uranium to Libya, The New York Times reported on its Web site on Tuesday, citing officials with access to the intelligence. The newspaper said the determination, which has circulated among senior government officials, has touched off a hunt to determine if North Korea has also sold uranium to other countries, including Iran and Syria. The article said the conclusion about Libya, which is contained in a classified briefing that has been described to The New York Times, could alter Washington's debate about the assessment of the North Korean nuclear threat. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 2 February, 2005: Brazil's state-owned oil giant Petrobras said Tuesday that by mid-February it will sign a contract with Libya's National Oil Corporation to explore and possibly produce oil and gas off the African country's Mediterranean coast. Petrobras Energia Participaciones SA has a 70 percent stake in a consortium that won a bid for Area 18 exploration and production block off the Libyan coast, the company said in a statement. [AP]
Wednesday, 2 February, 2005: Norwegian Statoil and Hydro both failed to gain a foothold in Libya when the country's leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi this weekend issued licenses for oil and gas exploration in the North African nation. Statoil's planned establishment in Libya may now be postponed. However, this is a question the company will be considering in the next few weeks, NRK reports. Hydro is already established in Libya, by the takeover of Saga's interests in the country, through the merger. Both of the Norwegian companies say they have taken note of the fact that they faced strong competition, and did not achieve their goals at this time. [NRK]
Wednesday, 2 February, 2005: Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said Tuesday he hoped five Bulgarian nurses on death row in Libya would be freed this year. "Together with the international community, our partners of the EU and the U.S., we hope for a fair resolution of the case of our compatriots and hope that 2005 will be the year of their homecoming," Passy was quoted by the BTA news agency as saying. The five, along with a Palestinian doctor, were sentenced to death for allegedly infecting more than 400 Libyan children with the HIV virus. [UPI]
Wednesday, 2 February, 2005: Yemen's Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr al-Qerbi received on Tuesday an official letter from Libyan counterpart Abdelrahman Shalgam requesting support for its suggestion for holding the 60th meeting of the UN General Assembly in the UN headquarters in Geneva. The letter was handed to the Yemeni Ambassador to Tripoli Ali Abdul-Qawi al-Ghafari by the Libyan Secretary of Foreign Affairs Saeed Rashowa during their meeting. [Saba]

Tuesday, 1 February, 2005: Foreign oil companies would pay Libya $132.9 million when they signed contracts awarding them rights to explore 15 plots of land auctioned three days ago, Libyan figures showed. The companies would spend $298.7 million exploring the plots, according to figures obtained yesterday from the exploration department of the National Oil Corporation, the state company that ran the auction in Tripoli. If the companies found oil or gas, they would take shares ranging from 10.8 percent to 38.9 percent of production. The government would get the rest. The auction saw the return of US companies to the country after two decades of absence. Libya, the holder Africa's biggest oil reserves, wants to draw $30 billion of investment to double production capacity to 3 million barrels a day before 2010. [Business Report]
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005: Two Indian oil companies have won a contract to look for oil in Libya, the Press Trust of India reports. State-owned Indian Oil Corp. and Oil India Ltd. have won a license to explore a 7,087 sq km block in the oil rich Sirte Basin. The Indian companies will get 18.4% share of any future production in the block with the remainder going to Libya's national oil company. It is the first time Libya has allowed foreign bids for oil exploration. [BBC]
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005: Libyan Ambassador to Zambia Khalifa Omar Sweixi has asked the Zambia Investment Centre (ZIC) to facilitate the acquisition of land for Libyan investors to engage in commercial farming and tourism activities. ZIC public relations manager Sharon Sichilongo said yesterday in Lusaka that the Libyan envoy held discussions with ZIC director general Jacob Lushinga on Thursday. Ms Sichilongo said the Libyan envoy also requested ZIC to facilitate acquisition of land for Libyan investors to build a five star hotel. [The Times of Zambia]
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