News and Views [ January 2005 ]

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Monday, 31 January, 2005: Some of the torch-bearers of Arab reform came to this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to debate the ripples of change stirring from the Atlantic to the Gulf. Almost every government had a tale to tell. Yet some Arab reformers say there may be less to the reform talk than meets the eye. The limits of change were highlighted when Egypt's President Mubarak, 76, hinted that after a quarter-century in power, he intended to run for a fifth term later this year. From Libya, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of Libyan leader Qadhafi, brought a message of radical economic reform to attract foreign investment. But he rejected the notion of multi-party democracy, saying it was ill suited to Libya's tribal desert society. [Reuters]
Monday, 31 January, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has complained that he has not been sufficiently rewarded by the United States and Britain for agreeing to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction program. "They promised, but we haven't seen anything yet," Qadhafi said in an interview with Time magazine, excerpts of which were released on Sunday. "Libya and the whole world expected a positive response, not just words, although they were nice words, from America and Europe," he said. When he was asked about the possibility of holding Western-style elections in Libya. "What for?" he replied. "Libyans are in paradise." [AFP]
Monday, 31 January, 2005: Woodside Petroleum is among a handful of companies to win drilling rights in the first batch of oil exploration licences granted by Libya in more than four decades. The winners of the 15 permits were announced on Saturday, following the country's first-ever auction of drilling rights. Woodside, Australia's second-largest producer of gas and oil, plans to spend more than $50 million exploring the four offshore permits it won. Woodside said it had committed to a five-year program that would include seismic work and the drilling of four wells. [News.AU]
Monday, 31 January, 2005: Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo will chair the 53-member African Union for another year. AU leaders decided to extend his term in behind-closed-doors talks at a summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja, sources said today. They also decided to hold their next summit in July in Libya and then in Sudan in January 2006. [The Australian]
Monday, 31 January, 2005: Algeria's Sonatrach National Oil and Gas Company won its first exploration agreement in Libya, a source close to Sonatrach told APS on Sunday. [APS]
Sunday, 30 January, 2005: Sweden said on Friday it had expelled a foreign diplomat and newspaper Expressen said the man came from Libya. "I can confirm that a diplomat has been asked to leave the country and that he has left the country," said a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry. Expressen said the man was from Libya. He was expelled with his wife for allegedly spying on local Libyan asylum seekers, the newspaper added. [Reuters]
Sunday, 30 January, 2005: If you want to find Qadhafi's man in Washington, look no further than Suite 705 of the Watergate Office Building. Since Dec. 9, 2004, this three-person mission has served as the interests section of [Libya] that for 17 years was blacklisted by the U.S. State Department. Amazing, as Ali Suleiman al-Aujali (photo) says, how times have changed. "We’re very optimistic," the gregarious diplomat declares with a big smile. "Our relations are warming up, and we hope we’ll reach full diplomatic relations between our two countries as soon as possible." Al-Aujali, director of the Libyan Interests Section [in the USA], spent over an hour in his first-ever interview with an American news outlet explaining why Libya decided to change its course, and what needs to be done to renew the friendship that existed long before Qadhafi came to power in 1969. [Washington Diplomat]
Sunday, 30 January, 2005: Libya awarded its first contracts to U.S. companies in 18 years Saturday, handing oil and gas exploration licenses to three American firms to draw a line under decades of int'l isolation. The U.S. eased its trade embargo on oil-rich Libya last spring as a reward to Tripoli for giving up weapons of mass destruction. The European Union swiftly followed suit. U.S. bid winners Occidental, Amerada Hess and ChevronTexaco were among more than 120 companies who registered bids or expressed interests on the offers. A total of 15 licenses were offered for onshore and offshore blocks. Libya produces about 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) and hopes to raise this to 2.1 million bpd by the end of this decade. [Reuters]
Sunday, 30 January, 2005: Libya said U.S. oil companies Occidental Petroleum, Amerada Hess and ChevronTexaco won the bulk of the drilling rights in the North African nation's first such auction in 40 years. "After the lifting of American sanctions, now American oil companies can come and participate, so this is a very significant step," said Saif al-Qadhafi, son of Libyan leader Qadhafi, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. European oil companies, which have done much of the drilling in Libya during the years of economic sanctions, were absent from today's winners. Libyan state-run National Oil Company chairman Abdullah al-Badri said Tripoli would offer 40 blocks in a second licensing round next month. [Bloomberg]
Sunday, 30 January, 2005: French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said that Libya is an interlocutor that can't be missed and should find its place in the "concert of Nations" as well as in the region. In an interview with the Tunisian daily Al-Shorouq to be published on Sunday, the French prime minister mentioned the major reorientation of Libya's diplomatic policy and said "these gestures show that Libya's will to find again a place in the concert of Nations. France encourages this reinsertion movement." "Libya is an interlocutor that can't be missed and it is desirable that it becomes again a whole partner in the region," he said. French President Jacques Chirac visited Libya in November 2004. [Xinhua]

Saturday, 29 January, 2005: Former pariah state Libya may be set to welcome U.S. companies back after two decades when the country awards licenses for oil and gas production Saturday. More than 60 companies, including most U.S. oil majors and many smaller independents, are expected to submit bids in Libya's EPSA-4 round for 15 production areas. Amongst the U.S. companies qualifying to bid in Saturday's round are ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips as well as Marathon Oil, Amerada Hess, and Occidental, Anadarko, Apache, Devon Energy, El Paso, Pioneer Resources, Unocal and Vintage Petroleum. Libyan officials have said privately that they would welcome U.S. companies and value their technical expertise. [Dow Jones]
Saturday, 29 January, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi appealed on Wednesday to the kidnappers of a US hostage in Iraq to release 56-year old contractor Roy Hallums. In a video broadcast on Tuesday, Hallums had pleaded for the assistance of Arab leaders, including Qadhafi, in securing his release, while one of his kidnappers pointed a rifle at his head. The Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera quoted Qadhafi as urging the kidnappers to be merciful: "As a response to the begging, we ask the Iraqi resistance in the name of Islam and Arabism to free him". [ISN]
Saturday, 29 January, 2005: African foreign ministers met in Nigeria ahead of a twice-yearly heads-of-state summit to discuss how the world's poorest continent could deal with its debilitating poverty, disease and conflicts. The ministers will also consider a proposal by Libya to speed up African unity and economic integration. 'Leaders of all the union's member-states are expected to attend the two-day heads-of-state summit, which starts on Sunday. [PA]

Friday, 28 January, 2005: Libya on Friday will unveil its most sweeping proposals for economic reform in 35 years as part of a new national strategy aimed at ushering the country into the modern economic era. The multi-pronged initiative would streamline government, speed up privatization and liberalize the media sector in a bid to begin a transition from what remains essentially an authoritarian regime to a more liberal economy, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi (photo), son of Libya's ruler Colonel Qahdafi, and Abdulhafidh al-Zlitni, the chairman of Libya's National Planning Council, said Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "The old times are finished and Libya is ready to move onto the new stage of modernization," Saif al-Islam said in an interview. "... But of course success can only be measured by the implementation," Saif al-Islam added. [IHT]
Friday, 28 January, 2005: Libya's Oil Minister Fathi bin Shatwan (photo) said Thursday that he sees no reason for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut its production ceiling when the group meets Sunday. "Most of us have the same view that nothing needs to be done now," Shatwan told Dow Jones Newswires. OPEC meets Sunday in Vienna to discuss its output policy against a backdrop of U.S. benchmark crude prices that have surged to nearly $50 a barrel. [Dow Jones]

Thursday, 27 January, 2005: After finalizing terms with Libyan negotiators, a consortium of U.S. companies is waiting for the Libyan government to approve the deal, Amerada Hess executives said Wednesday. "Negotiations terms are complete," said CEO John Hess. "We are waiting for the government to approve" the agreement, he said. "While it hasn't happened yet, we think it will be happening soon". In a further illustration of its confidence ... Amerada Hess has incorporated Libya spending into its 2005 capital budget and production forecasts. Amerada Hess expects to be allotted 20,000-25,000 barrels per day of production from the Libya project. [Dow Jones]
Thursday, 27 January, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi reportedly has urged North Korea to follow in Libya's footsteps and give up its nuclear ambitions. Qadhafi also advised Iran to abandon its nuclear drive in order to ease tensions in the int'l community, officials reported Wednesday, after Foreign Minister Ki-moon's visit to Libya. "The N. Korean nuclear problem is a serious and dangerous issue," Gadhafi told Ban during their meeting in Tripoli. "Qadhafi said N. Korea and Iran should take the same measures Libya took," a ministry official said. [UPI]
Thursday, 27 January, 2005: Serbian President Boris Tadic said on Wednesday in Tripoli that in his talks with Libya's top state officials it was agreed to raise the level of economic cooperation and he called on Serbian firms to activate maximally their capacities for cooperation with Libya. "Now it is absolutely necessary to maximally activate our capacities," Tadic told representatives of several dozen Libyan and Serbian firms gathered at El-Kebir Hotel in Tripoli. [Tanjug]

Wednesday, 26 January, 2005: Ten Libyan police officers accused of torturing five Bulgarian nurses into confessing they had given children AIDS-tainted blood are to go on trial in Libya in March. "The hearing was postponed on Tuesday until March 22 and is based on a complaint by the nurses," Bulgaria's foreign ministry said. In May, a court in Benghazi sentenced the five Bulgarians and a Palestinian doctor to death for allegedly infecting more than 380 Libyan children with AIDS and causing the death of 46 others while working at a children's hospital. [AFP]
Wednesday, 26 January, 2005: Libya has flown 30 tonnes of insecticide and 12 vehicles equipped with spraying equipment to the small West African state of Guinea-Bissau to help the local authorities step up their fight against an invasion of locusts. Two transport planes carrying the pesticide, the vehicles and 17 Libyan locust control experts arrived in the capital Bissau on Tuesday. The Libyan teams will join five others from Senegal which arrived last week. [IRIN]
Wednesday, 26 January, 2005: US officials said Tuesday they were studying a purported hostage tape broadcast on Arab television to determine if the man seen on the recording was an American contract worker missing in Iraq since November. In the video, the hostage had a gun to his head as he sat cross-legged on the ground admitting he was working for US forces in Iraq and seeking the help of Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and other Arab leaders. [ AFP]

Tuesday, 25 January, 2005: The U.S. has determined that the Iraqi embassy in Syria serves to facilitate the flow of insurgents to fight the coalition in Iraq. U.S. officials said the Iraqi embassy in Damascus has refused to submit to the authority of the interim government in Baghdad. The Iraqi embassy in Damascus has been one of at least two embassies that have refused to come under the authority of the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad and remain aligned with Saddam Hussein loyalists. The other Iraqi embassy was that in Libya. [MENL]
Tuesday, 25 January, 2005: Bulgarian parliament speaker Ognian Guerdjikov called on EU legislatures to help save five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya in a scandal over AIDS-tainted blood. In a letter to his fellow speakers at EU state parliaments, Guerdjikova said he was "deepy concerned about a recent declaration by the (parliament) in Libya" calling for the sentences to be carried out. Guerdjikova also called on the legislatures to "support efforts to provide immediate aid to Libyan children contaminated with AIDS and their families". [AFP]

Monday, 24 January, 2005: More than three decades after banning Western music from Libya, Qadhafi has agreed to let the casbah rock. And an American band will do the honors. Next week in Tripoli, California's The Heavenly States will launch a six-day tour to spread its buoyant, Bush-baiting pop from the Roman ruins at Leptis Magna to the streets of Benghazi. The last Yanks to light up the Libyan stage? USO mainstays Anita Bryant and Les Brown. [Newsweek]
Monday, 24 January, 2005: Serbian President Boris Tadic will visit Libya on January 25-27. It will be the first official visit by a Serbian president to Libya, the president's press service said on Sunday. Tadic will on that occasion hold talks with Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, as well as with other top state officials and leading Libyan businessmen. [Tanjug]
Monday, 24 January, 2005: A French legal team has agreed to help five Bulgarian nurses facing the death penalty in Libya on accusations they infected hundreds of children with HIV, Bulgaria's Justice Minister said. The team from int'l human advocates Lawyers Without Borders will go to Libya next week to meet the medics. The verdicts, based on confessions the nurses say were extracted by torture, drew angry reactions from Washington and Brussels and have hampered Libya's efforts to renew ties with the West after decades of diplomatic isolation. [Reuters]
Monday, 24 January, 2005: German police arrested two suspected al-Qaida members Sunday believed to have plotted a suicide attack in Iraq. German Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm told a news conference the men, a 29-year-old Iraqi, believed to be a senior al-Qaeda figure, and a 31-year-old stateless Palestinian from Libya, had been planning an attack in Iraq. [Reuters/AP]
Monday, 24 January, 2005: The new-rich, oil-blessed nations of the Middle East and North Africa have come under fire for their relatively tightfisted response to the tsunami tragedy in south and southeast Asia. Stung by mounting criticism of its "stinginess", the government of Kuwait has increased its contribution ten-fold: from $10 million to $100 million ... But there is rising pressure on countries such as Qatar ($25 million dollars), the UAE ($20 million), Bahrain, Libya and Algeria ($2 million each), to bolster their contributions. [IPS]
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Sunday, 23 January, 2005: On the occasion of the Holy Eid Al-Adha, the Higher Council of the Judiciary Corps at the [Ministry of Justice] issued decision No 1 for the year 2005 regarding the release of some convicts in various civil cases including Libyans, Arabs and foreigners totalling 832. The decision stated that those who benefitted had served half of their sentences. [JANA]
Sunday, 23 January, 2005: Italian police on Thursday started a joint operation with colleagues in Libya and Egypt to crack down on a gang of alleged people smugglers who are believed to have links with Islamic extremists from the Al-Qaeda group, the ANSA news agency said. Anti-Mafia prosecutors had issued warrants for the arrests of 29 people. ANSA said the smuggling network was believed to send boats full of would-be immigrants to Europe from the coasts of Libya, with many of the people transported first being brought together in Egypt. [AFP]

Saturday, 22 January, 2005: US President Bush began his second term with the pledge that US relations with other countries will depend on how they treat their own people. If he adheres to the words in yesterday's inaugural address, it could mark a shift in his administration's policies. Bush has been a champion of liberty in countries hostile to the US, such as Iran, North Korea and Cuba. But he has been less vocal about authoritarian tendencies when US strategic interests are at stake ... The Bush administration has been improving relations with Libya since dictator Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi agreed to give up his nuclear program. The State Department says Libya's human rights record is poor and blames it for "numerous, serious abuses". [PA]
Saturday, 22 January, 2005: Jason Azzopardi, chairman of the foreign and European affairs committee of House of Representatives [Malta] was in Libya where he met Libyan Foreign Affairs Minister Suliman Elshahumi. The government reported Mr Elshahumi as saying that Libya favoured the Maltese government's request for the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly to be located on the island. In his role as current president of the Maghreb Union, Mr Elshahumi said he would be calling on Maghreb countries to support Malta's bid. [The Times]

Friday, 21 January, 2005: Why did Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi suddenly decide to give up his doomsday weapons? Sen. Joseph Biden said Wednesday he posed that question to Qadhafi during a meeting in Tripoli last year. Biden described their discussion to Condoleezza Rice, Bush's nominee to be secretary of state, at her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing ... Biden reported Qadhafi as saying, if he used nuclear weapons, "you'd blow me away," referring to the U.S. ... "You make a deal with the French, they say 90-10 and they take 95. The Americans, you say 50-50, they only take 50," Qadhafi said. Qadhafi was, Biden said, "the most candid guy I ever spoke with." Biden cited his encounter with Qadhafi in urging Rice to open negotiations with Iran on ending the country's suspected nuclear weapons program. [AP]
Friday, 21 January, 2005: New achievements in the field of eyes surgery in Libya has been reported on Tuesday in Ophthalmology Hospital in Tripoli in cooperation with the Eye Tissues Bank in the USA. According to the Libyan official news agency JANA, six Libyan patients undergone for the first time in the Ophthalmology Hospital in Tripoli, cornea transplantations. The operations were carried out by a number of Libyan professors and doctors specialized in eye surgery with the participation of Dr. Amal Wartani from Tunisia and Dr Adel Abdel Fatah from Egypt. The Director of Eyes Hospital, Dr. Soad al-Fituri , told Jana that the six corneas used in the operations were sent by the Eye Tissue Centre in America. [Al-Bawaba]
Friday, 21 January, 2005: A series of arrest warrants have been issued by magistrates in Catanzaro for 29 people who are believed to belong to a criminal organisation bringing immigrants into Italy illegally. The suspects, some of whom are suspected of crimes of enslavement and kidnapping, are considered responsible for an intense flow of immigrants from Libya towards Italy. The suspects are of North African origin, and are all accused of criminal association, human trafficking and aiding and abetting the entry of illegal immigrants into Italy. [AGI]
Friday, 21 January, 2005: Global Environmental Energy Corp. today announced that it will file an 8K with the Securities and Exchange Commission confirming that Biosphere Development Corp. had signed and exchanged a Letter of Intent with a STIAG Ltd. to deploy a Biosphere Process System to a hospital in Libya. STIAG Ltd. is working as a subcontractor to Technoexport stroi, on a project to complete a 180 patient maternity hospital in Tripoli, Libya. STIAG would like to employ Biosphere Development Corporation's Biosphere Process to consume all waste materials from the hospital, including all medical and hospital waste while generating electrical power to be used in the hospital and its surrounding area. [Business Wire]
Friday, 21 January, 2005: More than 2 million Muslim pilgrims began arriving at Muzdalifah, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday evening ahead of a stoning ritual in this year's haj, which has been overshadowed by the Asian tsunami disaster. Pilgrims said they were praying for nations ravaged by the giant wave and earthquake which killed more than 226,000 people, mainly Muslims. The kingdom's top Muslim cleric urged worshippers during a sermon to "thwart the enemies of the Muslim nation" and "protect the nation and rally around its leaders." The government also fears protests by pilgrims from Iran and Libya, which Riyadh accuses of trying to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah. The Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha begins Thursday, with the slaying of livestock in commemoration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail at God's command. [Reuters]
Thursday, 20 January, 2005: North Korea reiterated its opposition Thursday to the United States demand that it follow Libya's footsteps and abandon its nuclear arms program in exchange for political and economic benefits. The North Korean weekly Yonhap called the United States demand a "shameless" move, claiming that Libya has won almost nothing by accepting the U.S. proposal to scrap its nuclear program. [Yonhap News]
Thursday, 20 January, 2005: Five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya for infecting children with HIV will sue police officers for torturing them. The Dnevnik newspaper reported the five signed a joint claim against police they accuse of torturing them into making false confessions. The five, along with a Palestinian doctor, were sentenced to death last May. They have maintained their innocence all along and int'l rights groups say the trials were grossly unfair. [UPI]

Wednesday, 19 January, 2005: Libya's judicial authorities will have final say in the case of Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for transmitting HIV to children, officials said. Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem told UPI Tuesday the judiciary is totally independent and will not be influenced by outside parties when it decides the fate of the convicted nurses. "Calls by the General People's Congress (parliament) to impose the harshest punishment against the nurses will not affect the proceedings of this case by the judicial authorities," Ghanem said.[UPI]
Wednesday, 19 January, 2005: A Libyan court on Tuesday postponed an indemnity lawsuit local families have launched against five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death on charges of causing an AIDS outbreak at a children's hospital, an official said. The court in the city of Benghazi didn't immediately schedule a new hearing, Maria Donska, a Bulgarian foreign ministry spokeswoman said. The court has put off the case for being too busy, Donska said. On last Dec. 29 the court has postponed a similar lawsuit launched by other families against the medics. [BNN]
Wednesday, 19 January, 2005: Saadi al-Qadhafi will captain Libya on a two-match tour of Australia next month, Australian officials said on Tuesday. The son of the Libyan leader is expected to line up against a New South Wales 'All-Stars' selection on 9 February and Premier League club Sydney United on 13 February. Saadi, who made his Serie A debut for Italian club Perugia last season, is also chairman of the Libyan Football Federation. [BBC]
Wednesday, 19 January, 2005: Oil India Ltd., and Indian Oil Corporation will jointly bid for an exploration block in Libya by the end of this month under the newly-revised Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) terms of the North African country. "We will jointly submit the bid under EPSA 4 for exploration of a new block in Libya by the end of this month," OIL Chairman and Managing Director, R K Dutta, told reporters. [India Daily]
Wednesday, 19 January, 2005: Indonesia will be chosen today to chair the U.N. Human Rights Commission. The archipelago nation is not exactly a beacon of human rights and self-determination, say Western diplomats and human-rights advocates, but they also say it is not as embarrassing as seeing Libya elected to the same position two years ago. [Washington Times]

Tuesday, 18 January, 2005: It is possible that a technical mistake at the translation of Libyan Congress declaration is made, according to former defence of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death. After its session last week Libyan Parliament (General People's Congress) vowed in a declaration to pursue compensations on the AIDS-striken children and to work for the execution of the death sentences imposed on those found guilty of the infection. It is more likely that Libya wanted either compensations, or execution of gravest sentence, rather than both, lawyer Vladimir Sheitanov told private Nova TV on Monday. [Novinite]

Monday, 17 January, 2005: Lawyers Osman Bizanti and Plamen Yalnazov have met Sunday the Bulgarian nurses in Tripoli's Judeida prison. Bulgarian Ambassador in Tripoli Zdravko Velev and the diplomat Dimitar Dimitrov also attended the meeting. Earlier on Sunday Velev has attended the regular meeting of the European ambassadors, informing them on the latest development of the AIDS case and the declaration of Libya's People's Congress regarding the case. [Novinite]

LLHR : Libya; A Judiciary Without Justice

AI : Libya; Abolition Of People's Court Is An Important Step

Queens Journal : Alumnus Imprisoned In Libya

Sunday, 16 January, 2005: The European Commission renewed Friday a call for Libya to act to secure the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death in an AIDS-tainted blood scandal. The EU's executive made the appeal as Libya's parliament called for the heaviest possible punishment for those responsible in the case, in which nearly 400 children were infected with AIDS. "We would like everything to be done by the Libyan authorities to put an end to this situation," said commission spokeswoman Francoise Le Bail. [AFP]
Sunday, 16 January, 2005: The Indonesian government reaffirmed Friday all foreign troops must leave the tsunami-hit Aceh province no later than March 26, but foreign volunteers are allowed to continue their humanitarian missions. Last week, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta warned ambassadors of the United Stated, Japan, Sweden, Singapore, and Libya not to intervene in the issue of separatist Free Aceh movement. [Xinhua]

Saturday, 15 January, 2005: Idris Ben-Tahir has never met Ali Sadegh Elhouni (photo), a Queen's graduate imprisoned in Libya since 1998. But Ben-Tahir, chairman of the Ottawa-based Islamic Council of Academics and Professionals, feels strongly connected to the man, prompting him to actively lobby for Elhouni's release. "If Canada wants to have good relations with Libya and open up their commercial relations, in the due course of commerce we should also look at the human rights record of the country,” he said. "Its one of the most dismal humans rights records in the world." The Libyan Canadian Committee for Civic Liberties and Human Rights also urged the Prime Minister to discuss human rights abuses with Col.Qadhafi, Libya's president of 35 years, when he visited him in December of last year. Khaled Elghul, chairperson of the group, said they are still waiting for details on any progress made during the visit. [Queens Journal]
Saturday, 15 January, 2005: Bulgaria's president said Friday circles in Libya tried to politicise a case of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, who appeal death sentences they were handed for allegedly causing an AIDS outbreak at a children's hospital. Georgi Parvanov reacted to an earlier statement by Libya's parliament that vowed to seek compensations for the families of the infected children and urged execution of the medics. Speaking to Bulgaria's state radio during a visit to Brazil, Parvanov described the statement as "an alarming signal". "This is the latest proof that there are certain circles, who would like to politicise the trial". "I'd like to express my and all Bulgarians' confidence that the court in Libya will be independent," he added. [BNN]
Saturday, 15 January, 2005: Libya's parliament has called for the heaviest possible punishment for those responsible for an AIDS epidemic at a hospital in which nearly 400 children were infected, the state news agency JANA said. The assembly, which has no powers to intervene in court matters, did not say what punishment it envisaged, but five Bulgarians and a Palestinian are on death row on charges of infecting the children in a Benghazi hospital. [AFP]
Saturday, 15 January, 2005: Amnesty International (AI) warmly welcomes the resolution passed by the Libya's Parliament to abolish the People's Court. The abolition of this exceptional court, known to try political cases, is an important step forward for human rights in Libya, which should contribute to effective and durable human rights protection in the country. AI is yet to receive a copy of the text of the resolution or details about plans surrounding its abolition. The organization hopes that these plans will provide for the abolition of related institutions, including the Popular Prosecution Office, and the transfer of all pending cases to the jurisdiction of the ordinary criminal court system. The organization also calls on the authorities to review all cases of prisoners who were tried by the People's Court in the past. They should be retried before ordinary courts, in full compliance with international standards for fair trial, if they are not to be released. [AI]

Friday, 14 January, 2005: Libya has handed to Italy plans and maps of the coastal highway, to be constructed by Italy as compensation to the Libyan people. The Director of Roads and Bridges, and Head of Libyan-Italian [Committee] at the [Foreign Ministry], handed to the Italian Interior Minister, G. Pisanu, and P. Lunardi, Minister of Transportation, plans of the highway linking Ras Ejdaer in the west, to Imsaed in the east. The two countries signed a joint accord in 1998, in which Italy offered an official excuse to the Libyan people and promised compensation. [LJBC]
Friday, 14 January, 2005: Having led his country back into the international mainstream after renouncing ambitions to build WMDs, Libyan leader Qadhafi is now being immortalised by a leading British opera company. The as-yet unnamed work, commissioned by the English National Opera (ENO), "examines the creation of a myth", according to a statement by the London-based company. It is about "a man of humble origin, born into a Bedouin tribe who became a powerful and influential political leader... the volatile relationship between the Middle East and the West and... int'l politics and their representation in the media of both worlds", the ENO said. [AFP]
Friday, 14 January, 2005: Libya, newly freed from two decades of international sanctions, emerged in 2004 as by far the top draw for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa, a senior United Nations economist said on Wednesday. FDI flows last year to Libya, ruled for nearly 35 years by Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, totalled some $4 billion, one fifth of all investment in Africa and ahead of fellow oil giants, Angola and Nigeria, according to UNCTAD, the UN development agency. "It has been quite a remarkable turnaround given that until 2003 disinvestment had been the rule for Libya for at least a decade, and foreign companies were pulling out rather than going in," UNCTAD economist Karl Sauvant told Reuters. [Mmegi]
Friday, 14 January, 2005: On the Arab foreign ministers meeting due to start in Cairo on Thursday, al-Mustaqbal daily reported that the meeting would be "incomplete" after six ministers from the 22-member Arab League said they would not attend. The paper, owned by former Lebanese President Rafiq Hariri, said the ministers of Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Comoros Islands would not show up. It added that efforts also failed in trying to arrange a meeting between the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Libya in a reconciliation move between the two countries, whose relations suffered following reports that Libya was involved in an assassination attempt against Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah last year. [UPI]
Friday, 14 January, 2005: Here's a shocker for those who track the winners and losers in the global economy: The U.S. no longer ranks among the 10 freest economies in the world, and has slipped to 12th place. The U.S. is still one of the most dynamic economies, and still the biggest, according to the Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, which rates the world's economies on a broad range of fiscal, regulatory and free enterprise measurements ... The least free economies: Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Iran, Cuba, Laos, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Libya, Burma and North Korea. [Washington Times]

Thursday, 13 January, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has called on parliament to set up a special committee for settling the cases of exiled Libyans opposed to the regime. "The committee would verify the cases of all Libyans abroad, including those who have immigrated and chosen to stay in exile," Qadhafi told parliament Tuesday night. "We do not want any Libyan to live in bad conditions abroad or to be forced to side with the enemy against his country," he added. Qadhafi also urged parliament to abrogate martial law and the special people's court, which were introduced 35 years ago following the 1969 revolution that toppled the Libyan monarchy. [UPI]
Thursday, 13 January, 2005: Libyan security officers will face trial on charges of torturing five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death on charges of causing an AIDS outbreak at a hospital, an official said Wednesday. Four Bulgarian lawyers, who have defended the medics in their trial, will bid to be allowed as their legal representatives in the case against the officers scheduled on Jan. 25, one of the lawyers Harry Haralampiev told state radio. "If it is established in a categorical manner that the confessions of our nurses have been extorted by violence, the fate of their case may turn around by 180 degrees," Haralapiev said. [BNN]
Thursday, 13 January, 2005: North Korean officials told a U.S. congressman visiting Pyeongyang that the case of Libya could not be considered a model for solving the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Last year, Libya gave up developing WMDs and opened the country to weapons inspectors, leading to better international ties. A spokesman for Representative Tom Lantos, D-California, said in an interview given to Radio Free Asia that North Korean officials expressed a negative view of the "Libya model." The U.S. congressman met with high-ranking North Korean officials, including North Korea's foreign minister, Paek Nam-sun. [JoongAng]
Thursday, 13 January, 2005: German police stepped up their crackdown on Islamic extremism Wednesday, detaining 22 people during raids of apartments and mosques allegedly used by a network that provided financing and other support to terrorists. About 700 officers searched dozens of apartments, mosques and call centers in five German states, discovering militant Islamic propaganda and forged passports and visas, authorities said. The suspects included German citizens and nationals of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Bulgaria, Bavaria's police investigator Gerhard Zintl said. Their ages ranged from 17 to 46, and five of the suspects were female. [AP]
Thursday, 13 January, 2005: Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon will head for Africa on Sunday for successive visits to four nations, including Libya, where officials say he will seek the country's "constructive role" in resolving the North Korean nuclear problems. Ban said during a press briefing Wednesday that he will embark on the African trip that includes stops in Algeria, Tanzania and Kenya, where he will discuss with the leaders of the African countries ways to improve bilateral relations as well as global issues. [Korea Times]
Thursday, 13 January, 2005: The motives for the death sentences against five Bulgarian nurses in Libya say the women were more evil than Satan himself, according to a Bulgarian daily. A correspondent of the Trud daily says he had managed to get hold of the papers, which contained ludicrous texts about the convicts. "They got beyond Satan on the path of wickedness, and now he has to catch up with such people who were deliberately killing innocent ones," the document reportedly said. The medics were also referred to as "poisonous snakes who inject venom into young and fragile bodies." In May 2004, Libya sentenced the five Bulgarians and a Palestinian doctor to death for deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV. [SNA]
Thursday, 13 January, 2005: Three Japanese oil companies, including Nippon Oil Corp, will be among 63 firms taking part in international auctions set for January 29, for 15 oil and natural gas development projects in Libya, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported without citing sources. The two other Japanese companies are Teikoku Oil Co and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co, the business daily said. "Should any of the three companies win, it would mark the first time that Japan would participate in an oil development project in the African nation, which has the world's eighth-largest oil reserves," the newspaper said in a report posted on its English-language Nikkei Net Interactive website. Results will be announced within a day, the Nikkei said. [AFX]

Wednesday, 12 January, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said that there were no prisoners of conscience in the country and that he was open to any calls for an international investigation. "Those who accuse us of holding prisoners of conscience are wrong. Those (countries) in the world that wish to come and check, may come," he told the Peoples Congress, or parliament in Syrte. "We are holding only heretics, those who use religion to foment coups d'etat and attack societies and the entire world," he added, a reference to Islamic extremists. In a report published in April 2004, Amnesty International reported that the Libyan authorities had released nearly 300 prisoners between 2001 and 2002. However Amnesty also said that Libya continued to violate basic human rights and that a "climate of fear" persisted in the country. [AFP]
Wednesday, 12 January, 2005: He has joined the War on Terror. He has shown Tony Blair around his tent. And now Qadhafy has found a new way to ingratiate himself with the west - supporting its indie bands. On January 29, Californian four-piece the Heavenly States - career high, a split single with Coldplay - will arrive in Libya to play the first concerts by an American rock band. Starting with a charity show in Tripoli, they will take their pop-punk melodies, distorted violins and Bush-baiting lyrics across the country, playing among the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna and in city streets, hoping a leafleting campaign will bring in the crowds. Only a handful of Libyans - or western music journalists for that matter - have heard of them. [The Guardian]

Tuesday, 11 January, 2005: Korea Express, a leading South Korean transportation company, is participating in the third-to-fifth construction phases of Libya's mammoth waterway project through a joint venture, the company's president said Monday. "We are already working on the US$2.3-billion project through ANC (Al Nahr Co.)," Korea Express CEO Kwak Young-wook said in a meeting with reporters. ANC is a joint venture between Korea Express and the River Project Office of Libya. Korea Express was a subsidiary of Dong-Ah Construction Co. that undertook the first and second phases of the Great Man-made River project. Dong-Ah Construction became insolvent in 2000 and was liquidated thereafter. Late last month, Korea Express signed a contract with the Libyan office to complete the second waterway and repair its first man-made river. Kwak said ANC will win a $6-billion order to undertake the sixth-19th phases of the project. [Asia pulse]

Monday, 10 January, 2005: For an administration whose three-point energy policy could accurately be summarized as "Drill, drill, and drill," the hordes of U.S. oil executives now fawning all over Libyan governmental officials in Tripoli amount to a dream come true. The transformation of Libya from a hated dictatorship to major oil supplier obviously was on the minds of President Bush and his White House handlers a little over a year ago when they sealed a deal to lift economic sanctions in exchange for a promise by Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to not develop WMDs. Now, executives for American oil companies, many of them run by Mr. Bush's friends and campaign donors, line up daily as supplicants for possible drilling rights in the Libyan desert. The pay-off could be immense. The North African nation holds oil reserves of an estimated 36 billion barrels, enough black gold to supply the United States for eight years. [The Blade]

Sunday, 9 January, 2005: The Arab world's "deafening silence" on the genocide in Sudan carried out by Khartoum's Islamist regime is a result of pan-Arabism, says an Arab human-rights activist. Abu Khawla, former chairman of the Tunisian section of Amnesty International, notes that "The chief culprit in this particular case seems to be pan-Arabism, the fascist movement that rose to power half a century ago through military coups. Nasserism took over Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Northern Yemen, and Libya, while Baathism took care of Syria and Iraq. In all these countries, the previous reformist-modernist attempts of the first part of the 20th century came to an end. The whole social strata of people of liberal leaning was decimated. Through intimidation and terror, its members were either silenced or forced to emigrate abroad". [Yemen Observer]

Saturday, 8 January, 2005: It is common knowledge that 83 political prisoners have been sentenced to face various penalties in Libya. Among them are two universities intellectuals, Dr. Saleem Abu Hanak and Dr. Abdullah Izzedin, who both received death sentence. The remaining 81 prisoners received sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. They are reportedly being held incommunicado, tortured and denied access to their lawyers. We of the Muslim Right Concern (MURIC), a Nigeria-based Muslim rights organisation, view these sentences as gross abuse of the fundamental and Allah-given rights of these Libyan citizens. [This Day]
Saturday, 8 January, 2005: Libya, an oil-rich nation that recently got out of int'l isolation, is again hoping to attract Finnish companies to trade with the country. Finland's Minister for Foreign Trade, Paula Lehtomaki is set to take representatives of more than 20 Finnish companies on an export promotion tour of Libya during the weekend. Lehtomaki said that in her discussions during the visit she would also take up issues involving human rights and democracy. She also said that she believes that trade ties can promote fundamental rights in Libya, if economic development remains positive, and if the local population also benefit from it. [Helsingin Sanomat]
Saturday, 8 January, 2005: The Government was last night accused of abandoning Ulster's victims of Libyan-inspired terrorism. DUP MLA Ian Paisley Jnr made the allegation after the Government confirmed there are no plans to pursue the issue of compensation for the families of people murdered by the IRA with Libyan weapons. He was informed of the position by Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons, in a letter. He said the British Government was guilty of a serious "dereliction of duty" with regard to the rights of the victims of terrorism in Northern Ireland. Baroness Symons wrote: "It was a requirement of the United Nations that Libya accept responsibility for Lockerbie and pay victims' families appropriate compensation. No such mechanism exists in respect of Libyan supplied arms to the IRA. [NewsLetter]
Saturday, 8 January, 2005: Chairman of Bulgarian Parliament Prof. Ognyan Gerdjikov has asked the chairman of the Chamber of Representatives of Federation "Malaysia" for support for the AIDS case of the Bulgarian nurses in Libya, Darik Radio announced. Malaysia is to preside the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year. [FIA]
Friday, 7 January, 2005: Libyan Envoy said it is only through discussion that the Ethio-Eritrea border dispute would be resolved. Dr. Ali al-Triki, Special Representative of African Affairs with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Libya made the remark while delivering a message sent to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi from Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [ENA]
Friday, 7 January, 2005: Saudi Arabia has asked Libya's ambassador to the kingdom to leave, a Libyan Foreign Ministry source said on Thursday, in the latest escalation of a diplomatic row over an alleged assassination plot. "Saudi Arabia asked yesterday the Libyan ambassador to Riyadh to leave. Since Saudi Arabia is the host state, the Libyan ambassador will return to Libya," a Libyan Foreign Ministry source said. Libya has denied the assassination plot and Libyan leader Qadhafi has blamed the tensions between the two countries on "baseless US press reports". [Reuters]

Thursday, 6 January, 2005: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to try to end a row between Riyadh and Libya over an alleged plot to assassinate the kingdom's de facto ruler. Egypt's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Kassem, told Reuters Mubarak's visit was aimed at tackling "controversial issues still unresolved between Arab countries. "The president is calling on Libya and Saudi Arabia to continue holding back from attacking each other through their media". Newspapers in the two countries have been waging a war of words since Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador in Tripoli in December. [Reuters]
Thursday, 6 January, 2005: Libyan leader Qadhafi hailed a fresh start in relations with Warsaw Wednesday after talks with Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka. Qadhafi told reporters after meeting Belka in a Bedouin tent adjacent to his Bab Al-Aziziya palace in Tripoli that there were now "great prospects to re-establish cooperation with Poland". "In the past, we cooperated and now we will resume this cooperation and can work together not only on the bilateral level but also in Africa," Qadhafi said. Belka, the latest European leader to visit Libya since Qadhafi announced it was abandoning its drive for WMDs, was accompanied by a large delegation. [MENL]
Thursday, 6 January, 2005: The State of Qatar has taken part in the 9th session of the signatories to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which wound up here on Monday. Qatar's delegation was led by 'Nasser Al Khalifa, the representative of Qatar at the OPCW. The Qatari delegate also welcomed the accession of Libya to the OPCW as a support for the drive of peace in the world. He also supported Libya's proposal to turn Al Rabitta Plant into a pharmaceuticals plant to produce medicines to cure some dangerous diseases. [QNA]

Wednesday, 5 January, 2005: Libya has ordered a $13 million telescope from France, the French magazine Sky and Space reported today. The magazine says the telescope was ordered by Libyan Leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who has a passionate interest in astronomy. Built by Sagem, a French electronics group, the telescope will be remote-controlled. It will be housed in an air-conditioned building, with a network of four weather stations deployed at a distance of 10 kilometres around it to warn of impending sandstorms that could damage its fragile optics. [AFP]
Wednesday, 5 January, 2005: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in Saudi Arabia Tuesday on a visit which Egyptian officials said was aimed at smoothing out strained ties between Riyadh and Libya. Mubarak was greeted at the airport by Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, an Egyptian diplomat told AFP. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and his political adviser Osama al-Baz. Officials in Cairo said Mubarak would hold talks with Prince Abdullah in a bid to defuse tensions between Riyadh and Libya over an alleged Libyan plot to assassinate Abdullah. [AFP]
Wednesday, 5 January, 2005: A special envoy from Libyan leader Qadhafi is in Uganda to convey a message to President Yoweri Museveni. Dr. Ali al-Triki arrived at Entebbe Airport yesterday. He is to meet the President today. He was received by the Libyan ambassador, Abdallah Bujeldian, Libyan embassy officials and officials from the foreign affairs ministry. Speaking to The New Vision, al-Triki said the message contained issues pertaining to African conflicts in Ivory Coast, in Darfur in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. [New Vision]
NYT : Looking Upon Qadhafi's Works, Half-Sunk in the Sands

Tuesday, 4 January, 2005: Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka is to travel to Libya on Wednesday for a two-day visit that will include talks on Polish-Libyan cooperation in the oil sector, officials said. "Poland is looking to diversify its sources of gas and oil supplies and Libya could become a potential source," said deputy foreign minister Boguslaw Zaleski. Belka will be accompanied by a large delegation from the Polish oil industry. Poland is anxious to re-establish the close economic ties it had with Libya when the Communist Party was in power in the 1970s and 1980s. In those two decades, some 130,000 Poles worked in Libya. The two countries are also trying to resolve the question of Poland's 30-million-dollar debt to Libya. [AFP]
Tuesday, 4 January, 2005: The Swiss ambassador to Tripoli and his wife have paid a New Year's visit to the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya. Ambassador Markus Peter met with the medics on January 2, to assure them that the international diplomatic community will persist in their support and insist for a quick and fair end of the trial. The Bulgarian women were sentenced to death in May, 2004 over charges of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV. Appeals have been tabled against the verdict, but Libyan court has failed to fix an exact date for the next session. The nurses are currently in the Libyan capital's Judeyda prison. [Novinite]
Tuesday, 4 January, 2005: American oil executives have recently been flocking to Libya, crowding the lobby of Tripoli's only luxury hotel and literally standing in line to meet local officials. The executives are bent on finding out whether this oil-rich North African country -- long walled off from foreign investment because of its anti-American regime and ties to terrorist organization -- could become the next frontier for exploration. [The New York Times]

Monday, 3 January, 2005: Many countries are believed to want nuclear weapons. But Libya is a rare case: a country that was well on its way to getting them, then dropped its effort. The idea of nuclear weapons in the hands of an autocratic leader of a country that has supported international terrorist groups is the stuff of nightmares. Those nightmares nearly became reality. But, instead, early in 2004, Libya abruptly renounced nuclear, as well as chemical and biological weapons. Now it has become the emblem of disarmament. But why Libya wanted such weapons in the first place remains something of a mystery. Former chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay said Libya faced no threat from any neighbor, and does not have a sizeable military force. "One had a hard time figuring out what the Libyans would have done with a nuclear weapon if they had gotten it". [VOA]

Sunday, 2 January, 2005: The world's biggest energy companies are preparing to fight it out for a stake in Libya's lucrative oil and gas industry. Less than a year after it was welcomed back into the international fold, Libya will later this month hold a multi-billion pound auction of drilling rights to some of the world's largest oil and gas reserves. The stakes are high. The major oil companies are desperately seeking new regions to explore. Over 60 companies, including Royal Dutch/Shell and BP, have been given the green light to bid in the auction, which takes place in Tripoli on Jan. 29. A host of American oil giants, including ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and Occidental, are also expected to take part in what will be the first big opportunity for American companies to do business in Libya since the US lifted trade sanctions in September after 18 years. [Telegraph]
Sunday, 2 January, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi yesterday dismissed suggestions that Tripoli needed help to repair relations with Saudi Arabia after Riyadh recalled its ambassador over allegations of a plot to kill the kingdom's de facto ruler. Speaking to Al Jazeera television, Qadhafi blamed what he said were baseless U.S. press reports for the spat. "There is no need for any mediation. There is nothing (wrong) between us and Saudi Arabia. If an American newspaper says something, why should we insult each other," Qadhafi said in reaction to reports Egypt was mediating between the two. In October, a U.S. court sentenced prominent U.S. Muslim activist Abdurahman al-Amoudi to 23 years in jail for illegal financial dealings with Libya and for his role in the alleged assassination plot. [Reuters]
Sunday, 2 January, 2005: Egypt has claimed success in convincing Saudi Arabia and Libya to stop reciprocated media attacks in an attempt to contain relations of tension between the two states. The first sign of the success, it said, is that the media of the two countries have stopped attacks against each other. According to the Middle East News Agency, the Egyptian mediation succeeded actually in containing this situation. The crisis erupted between the two countries after Riyadh last week withdrew its ambassador from Tripoli and the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador accusing Libya of conspiring to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah. Reports in the US press said last year that the Libyan intelligence led in 2003 an assassination attempt that targeted the Saudi crown prince and the Libyan leader Qadhafi was involved. [The Gulf Today]

Saturday, 1 January, 2005: Libyan leader Qadhafi renewed his criticism of what he described as a lack of Arab unity. "The relationship between Libya and Italy is one thousand times better than its relations with Egypt, its sister," he said during an interview with Al-Jazeera. The Libyan leader described the pan-regional 22-member Arab League, which Qadhafi has previously threatened to withdraw from, as a "mockery", saying "there is no respect for any resolution from the Arab League". But when asked about the latest diplomatic rift between his country and oil-rich Saudi Arabia, he responded by saying "there is no problems at all between the two countries". [AAP]
Saturday, 1 January, 2005: Maltese and Libyan nationals who frequently travel between the two countries will now benefit from a 3-month multiple entry visa following an agreement between both governments, the Foreign Minister Michael Frendo said. During a press conference, he stated that the Maltese government will also be providing 6-month multiple entry visas, while Libyan government intends to change the law to allow similar visas. This agreement was concluded during the last technical meeting between officials of the two countries in Tripoli. [Di-ve]
Saturday, 1 January, 2005: Some 150 Pakistanis residing illegally in different cities of Libya were deported to Pakistan by Libyan authorities on Tuesday through a chartered plane. The deportees were taken into custody by the FIA authorities at the Jinnah Int'l Airport soon after their arrival, however 24 of them were released for having passports and visas. The Deputy Director FIA passport Cell, Mohammad Maalik told Online that most of the deportees had been serving jails in different cities of Libya for traveling and staying there illegally. [PakTribune]
Saturday, 1 January, 2005: Libya favored world peace by renouncing its WMDs, Libyan leader Qadhafi reportedly said. "Libya favoured peace in the world by abandoning its WMDs," Qadhafi told the Al-Jazeera. "Libya gave up its program in its interests and in those of its security," he added. But the Libyan leader said he regretted the lack of cooperation by the int'l community with his country in the civil nuclear field. "The US, Britain, Japan, China and the EU must in return cooperate with Libya to use nuclear energy for technical and peaceful means," he said. [AFP]
Saturday, 1 January, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has played down speculation that he is grooming his son to replace him, telling a New Year's Eve TV talk show that succession is not part of his North African republic's political makeup. "There is no succession in the (Libyan) republic's regime," the 61-year-old Qadhafi said when asked by a presenter from the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network whether his son, Seif al-Islam, would succeed him. While Seif al-Islam, one of Qadhafi's eight children from two wives, has previously rejected talk of any future succession, his father has rarely gone public to play down the notion. [AAP]
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