Libya:
News and Views [ June 2005 ]


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Thursday, 30 June, 2005: A 45-year-old woman has been cleared of conspiring to abduct five children (photos) who were taken from England to their father in Libya five years ago. Wedad Ahmed, from Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, was found not guilty by a jury at Norwich Crown Court. The jury failed to decide whether her husband, Mustapha Abushima, 38, was guilty of the abduction conspiracy. Jurors will resume deliberations about him on Thursday. Prosecutors alleged Mrs Elgirnazi's estranged husband, Azzedin Journazi, was behind the abduction plot and that Mr Abushima and Mrs Ahmed were part of a gang who snatched the children. The children are living with their father in Libya in defiance of an order of a British court. [BBC]
Thursday, 30 June, 2005: British Petroleum (BP) CEO John Browne has been skeptical about Middle Eastern oil, but he is apparently excited about Libya. Browne flew to the country in late June for talks with its leader Qadhafi, at a secret location in the Libyan desert, BP confirmed to BusinessWeek. Browne may be hoping to land a major, exclusive deal in Libya, which has exciting prospects for the oil industry and is considered underexplored. By dealing directly with Qadhafi, he may also be trying to avoid the highly competitive auctions Libya is holding for exploration rights. BP submitted bids in the recent EPSA IV licensing round but didn't win any tracts. The outfit considered the terms of the winning bids too stiff. Occidental, which is negotiating to recover Libyan fields dating back to the 1960s, won 9 out of the 15 blocks on offer. [BusinessWeek]
Thursday, 30 June, 2005: Malta and Libya have agreed to present a joint "non-paper" on illegal immigration at the 5 + 5 meeting which starts today. The 5 + 5 is a forum between the five EU states of Malta, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy and the five African states of Mauritania, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco and Algeria. The joint "non-paper" is in harmony with EU proposals on illegal immigration but goes a step further in proposing that the discussions on the problem include the countries of origin, transition countries and reception countries. [Times Of Malta]


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Wednesday, 29 June, 2005: Tunisian border guards aborted an attempt to smuggle 50 kilograms of drugs through the Libyan-Tunisian border, reports said Tuesday. The Daily al-Sabah quoted security sources as saying the operation took place Sunday night when the border guards were tipped about the smuggled drugs, which they found in the trunk of a car trying to cross the border. The sources said the car belonged to a Libyan businessman who traveled frequently to Tunisia. The man was arrested and is undergoing interrogation. [UPI]
Wednesday, 29 June, 2005: South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, the world’s No.1 desalination plant manufacturer, has completed the construction of an evaporator for desalination facilities in Libya that will supply fresh water to an industrial and residential belt in the African country. The company won the order for the fresh water plant last May from Libya’s General Electricity Company. Located on a coastal area some 100 kilometers east of Tripoli, Libya’s capital, the plant is expected to play a key role in resolving the water shortage faced by the area, the company said. [The Korea Times]
Wednesday, 29 June, 2005: The European Commission has recommended the immediate launch of an action plan to help Libya deal with the growing problem of illegal immigration, Commission vice-president and EU justice and home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini announced on Tuesday. The joint action plan will allocate two million euros of aid to Libya - one of the main transit countries for would-be immigrants to Europe. Frattini's announcement follows an EU fact-finding mission to Libya last week, and a green light earlier this month from EU interior ministers to give Libya "progressive and concrete assistance". The action plan could include an early-warning system, mapping out areas in which to conduct search and rescue operations at sea and in the desert, coastal patrols, helicopters, emergency rescue units, and equipment checks. [AKI]
Wednesday, 29 June, 2005: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will attend the African Union summit in Libya next week and the annual summit of the world's top seven industrialized nations and Russia in Scotland. Annan was to leave New York on Wednesday for a ceremony in Scotland, to attend the 500th anniversary of the Royal College of Surgeons and receive an honorary fellowship. He then flies to Libya for the A.U. summit in Sirte on July 4-5. [DPA]
Wednesday, 29 June, 2005: Malaysia's Protasco Bhd, Tuesday formalised its international collaboration with its Chinese and Libyan partners as part of the group's offshore strategy ... During the event, Protasco also cemented its ties with its Libyan partners with the presentation of a letter of award by Libya's General National Company for Roads to Ikram Research Centre valued at RM2.2 million. The letter of award for the detailed pavement evaluation and rehabilitation design in respect of the maintenance of a 230-kilometre coastal road in Libya could pave the way for a bigger investment by Protasco there. [Bernama]
Khaleej Times : What About Libya?





Tuesday, 28 June, 2005: It's not every day a call is given to bring down the tyrannical regime in Libya. That is why when opposition groups met in London this weekend demanding an end to Libyan leader Qadhafi's regime, they invited global attention. The two-day conference was meant to send out a clear message to Libyan people and the world that there could be an alternative to the hopelessly corrupt and undemocratic regime in Tripoli. The London conference is perhaps the most serious attempt in decades to draw the world's attention to the disturbing state of affairs in the country ruled for the past three decades by Col Qadhafi. [Khaleej Times]
Tuesday, 28 June, 2005: South African Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma will leave for Libya, tomorrow to attend the 7th ordinary session of the African Union ministers. The meeting on Friday precedes the summit of heads of African state and government next Monday and Tuesday. The AU heads of state meeting takes place on the eve of the G8 summit and was expected to ratify recommendations to be made to the industrialised nations by African leaders. [The Herald]
Tuesday, 28 June, 2005: A delegation from the Libyan Ministry of Higher Education was in Malta discussing matters related to higher education with the Minister of Education, Youth and Employment, Louis Galea. The discussions focused primarily on English language teaching, consultancy, quality assurance and accreditation, exchange of technical expertise and training of personnel. The Libyan delegation also visited the University of Malta, the Institute of Tourism Studies and the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. [Times Of Malta]
Tuesday, 28 June, 2005: The Tunisian army said it destroyed more than 3,000 land mines on the Tunisian-Libyan border to pave the way for the construction of a pipeline. An army statement issued Monday said the operation is still ongoing, and 75 percent of the mines had been destroyed in the region of Ras Jadeer where 3500 lands have been planted on a three-kilometer-long distance on the border. construction of a pipeline for importing Libyan gas. [UPI]
Tuesday, 28 June, 2005: Egyptian-Libyan talks are to kick off today in Tripoli on the status of the Egyptian labor in Libya after the decision issued last month to fire the foreign workers and replace them by Libyan nationals. The decision includes the people working in coffee shops, stores, restaurants and hotels in particular. The talks will tackle the negative impacts on the Egyptian community in Libya that is estimated at about 500,000 people. [Arabic News]

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Monday, 27 June, 2005: Divisions over tactics and vision split Libyan opposition groups in exile, but participants at a two-day conference agreed Sunday to unite under a "national accord" aimed at ousting Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. In a final declaration, the groups addressed the United Nations, saying the global body was responsible for restoring Libya's constitution. The charter was drafted in 1951 as part of a U.N. resolution - but Qadhafi froze it after assuming power in a military coup and replaced it with martial law. "Bringing back constitutional legitimacy to Libya is a major factor towards building a stable political life," the declaration read. Those who boycotted the conference accused participants of using unrealistic language. "How would Qadhafi step down? It's not realistic," said Ashur Shames (photo), a leading opposition figure. "They (the conference) have no mechanism to oust Qadhafi unless they seek international pressure, or by the use of force." [AP]
Monday, 27 June, 2005: Pro-Libyan demonstrators (photo) on Sunday entered the hotel where opposition members were meeting to try to disrupt proceedings. Carrying the green Libyan flag and chanting pro-Qadhafi slogans, the protesters - mainly students - were asked by police and hotel security to leave the hotel. Some 200 people also rallied Sunday outside the embassy, waving Libyan flags and holding placards bearing Qadhafi's photo. They shouted "Look for peace together" and "Work for democracy together" in Arabic. [AP]
Monday, 27 June, 2005: A Libyan human rights organisation has said that the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has agreed to look into what is known as the "massacre of Abu Sleim prisoners," which happened on June 28 and 29, 1996, near Tripoli. In a statement issued on the 9th anniversary of the massacre in which about 1,200 people lost their lives, the group, which is known as "Al Tadhamun" [photo/logo,] meaning solidarity, said its efforts to get the UN body to accept to look into the dossier of the massacre was made possible with the support of the International Anti-Torture Organisation. [Khaleej Times]
Monday, 27 June, 2005: Libya overcame Morroco as they defeated them 1-0 to be close to football quarter-finals of the Mediterranean Olympic Games which hosted by Spain. Not until the last few minutes of the game when the Libyans scored, thanks to Walid Al-Mahaddabi. In group C Tunisia drew with Greece 1-1, but in group B penalties helped Spain to overcome Turkey 5-4 after. The first round of the tournament will be concluded tomorrow. [LJBC]


"On The Idea Of Organic Opposition"  By : Ghoma





Sunday, 26 June, 2005: To the strains of the national anthem that Qadhafi changed and flags (photo/flag) that predate his taking power, some 300 Libyan opposition members opened their two-day conference outlining their ideas for a constitutional state. "The regime suggests that the only alternative to Qadhafi would be the Islamic extremists," Abdel Hafedh Bin Sraiti of the Libyan National Movement told The Associated Press. "We are here to tell the world that there are many alternatives to Qadhafi, and none of them are extremists because we believe in democracy and we reject fanaticism." [AP]
Sunday, 26 June, 2005: About 300 Libyan opposition members are meeting under tight security to discuss efforts to oust Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and set up a democratic nation. Ibrahim Sahad (photo), leader of one of the largest Libyan opposition groups, said: "We have reached a conviction that no reform is possible while al-Qadhafi is still in power." Sahad's group, the National Front of the Salvation of Libya, and six others are holding the two-day conference. Among the main ideas to be addressed by the conference are stripping al-Qadhafi of his military, political and security powers; forming a one-year transitional government; and establishing a constitutional and democratic state where freedom, human rights, and rule of law prevails. But in a statement issued before the conference, the organisers stressed that the changes should be undertaken without any foreign interference and criticised the United States for its double standards. [Al-Jazeera]
Sunday, 26 June, 2005: Mohammed al-Senousi (photo) calls himself a prince, although he has had no throne since his grandfather was ousted in a 1969 coup by Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Al-Senousi, 42, joined hundreds of Libyan opposition members in London on Saturday to push for Qadhafi's ouster -- their first conference in exile to tell the world, they said, there is an alternative to Qadhafi that is not Islamic extremism. The organizers condemned the West, particularly the United States, for normalizing ties with Libya, charging Washington was practicing double standards when it came to human rights violations in the North African nation. "It forgot Libya and its bloody dictator regime" while urging reform in other Arab countries, a statement said. Al-Senousi, the self-described exiled prince, recalled the day -- Sept. 1, 1969 -- when Qadhafi and young officers launched the military rebellion, storming the royal ranch on the outskirts of Tripoli. They smashed the doors and climbed the stairs looking for his father, Crown Prince al-Hassan al-Reda, who was acting ruler while King Idris al-Senousi was undergoing medical treatment in Turkey. [AP]
Sunday, 26 June, 2005: The Muslim Brothers group in Libya decided to boycott the conference of the Libyan opposition groups held in London today because of its objection to lay prior conditions for the schedule of the conference. The leading figure in the group Naser al-Mane' (photo) said that the Muslim Brothers had hoped since their participation in the preliminary meetings for the conference more than one year ago that freedom will be given to all to take part and propose appropriate solutions for the Libyan situations, but the persistence of certain opposition groups to define these limits and frame the conference and drawing conditions for removing Qadhafi from authority and forming an interim government was a reason to push the movement to withdraw. [Arabic News]
Sunday, 26 June, 2005: About 150 delegates of opposition parties to the regime of Libyan leader Qadhafi gathered in London for their first-ever conference, a spokesman said. "This is the very first time such a meeting is held. Most of the delegates are living in exile, just a few of them are living in Libya, but for obvious security reasons, they want to remain anonymous," said Mohammed Ali, spokesman for the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), one of the participating parties. The meeting which was to continue Sunday had three main objectives: "the end of Qadhafi's regime, the formation of a transitional government leading to the third objective, which is establishing a constitutional democratically elected government," he said. [AFP]
Sunday, 26 June, 2005: A father who abducted his five children from Norfolk [UK] and took them to Libya told a court that he had not told anyone about his plan to take them from their mother until they were in Morocco. In a video interview shown by the defence to the jury at Norwich Crown Court, Azzedin Journazi said that it was only when they had driven across France and Spain and arrived in Morocco that he finally announced that he was not going back to Norfolk with the children. He said: "I deceived them." He denied that he had recruited Mustafa Abushima, 45 and his wife Wedad Ahmed, 38, to help get the children out of the country by pretending they were their parents. Abushima and his wife from Manchester, are accused of conspiring with others to abduct the children in June 2000. [EN24]

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Saturday, 25 June, 2005: The Libyan opposition holds a conference in London [Today] including more than 200 persons aiming at "Pressuring Libyan leader Qadhafi to give up the authority." The conference aimed at adopting three demands: al-Qadhafi giving up his revolutionary, political, military and security authorities, and forming a provisional government to run the country for a period not to exceed one year and "establishing a democratic constitutional country built on political and cultural pluralism and rotating presidency of the authority". [Arabic News]
Saturday, 25 June, 2005: The "Jon Afrique Intelligence" magazine reported that the new Libyan ambassador to Mauritania was seeking to establish secret contacts with his Israeli counterpart Buez Basmout, in preparations for establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. [UPI]
Saturday, 25 June, 2005: The Libyan solidarity "al-Tadhamun" committee for human rights (photo/logo) issued a statement on the occasion of the 9th annual anniversary of the "mass killing incident" that took place in Abu Salim central prison south west of the capital Tripoli on June 29th, 1996 which claimed the life of large number of prisoners. In its statement, the organization accused the Libyan authorities of being reluctant to make investigations to explain the implications of the massacre and reasons behind it and being responsible for it as well as the attempts of distorting facts surrounding the incident. The organization appealed to the families of the victims to contact it so as to discuss this issue with specialized international organizations to make investigations to find out the side responsible for this "massacre". The Libyan authorities alleged it formed an independent investigation committee under the supervision of the UNHCR to follow up on this issue. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 25 June, 2005: The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot on Thursday issued excerpts from a secret report for the Israeli foreign ministry demanding allowing the available opportunity for establishing relations with Libya. The report concluded that Israel had to invest in the window of opened opportunities before it, and to take successful steps to crystallize its official relations with Libya. It recommended establishing secret academic contacts channel. The report was prepared by the political planning department of the Israeli foreign ministry and also assessed recent changes in Libyan foreign policy. It concluded that policy towards Israel was a key element in this change. The report noted that the son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Seif al-Islam (photo), said recently "I cannot be a Palestinian more that the Palestinians themselves." Israel had read that as a call to establish links, after the Palestinians started to negotiate with Israel, the report said. [UPI]




Friday, 24 June, 2005: The European Union and Libya yesterday started technical discussions in order to finalise, as soon as possible, an accord on close cooperation in a bid to curb the flow of illegal immigrants from Libyan coasts to the EU. A high level EU mission led by Director General Jonathan Faull, appointed special envoy for Libya on behalf of the Justice Commissioner, had preliminary talks with the Libyan authorities. On Tuesday, Security Commissioner Franco Frattini met the Libyan Ambassador in Brussels to initiate the dialogue. [Times Of Malta]
Friday, 24 June, 2005: Chevron Corp. is still keen on Libya and is considering participating in the second round of bidding for exploration blocks since U.S. sanctions were eased last year, a top executive said on Wednesday. "We are looking, we've got bid documents, it'll be a function of what does it technically look like that'll drive our decision," George Kirkland, Chevron's global head of exploration and production, said at the Reuters Energy Summit. Earlier this year, Chevron successfully bid on one onshore block in Libya's first exploration license round. But though U.S. oil majors are eager to invest in Libya, some in the industry have said the investment terms under which access to resources has been granted are expensive or even uneconomic. [Reuters]
Friday, 24 June, 2005: A fifteen-member delegation of European parliamentarians is to visit a detention centre on the Italian island of Lampedusa on 28 June, to observe at first hand the conditions under which hundreds of 'irregular migrants' and asylum-seekers who have reached the island from nearby Libya are held, pending deportation. "The expulsions from Libya are continuing. On Wednesday morning, 45 migrants were put on a flight to Tripoli," said Francis Wurtz, president of the parliament's Communist grouping, who is leading the mission. The MPs' visit to Lampedusa comes on the heels of a highly critical report on Italy's "temporary stay and assistance centres" released this week by leading rights group Amnesty International. [AKI]
Friday, 24 June, 2005: Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo), football-playing son of Libyan leader Qadhafi has joined Udinese, which finished fourth this season in Italy's top Serie A division. The transfer marks the 32-year-old Saadi's second stint in the Serie A. His first in 2003-2004 when he was a Perugia player was marred by a back injury and a ban for testing positive for the anabolic steroid, nandrolone. During that season, Saadi played in just one league match when he came on as a second-half substitute. [AKI]
Friday, 24 June, 2005: Egypt's Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs Ambassador Muhammad al-Ghabari leading a delegation from the foreign and manpower ministries will head on Friday for Libya for talks with officials in the Libyan Foreign Ministry. The meeting will tackle the position of Egyptian workers coming to Libya in light of Libya's decision to replace foreign workers with Libyan manpower. [MENA]
Friday, 24 June, 2005: Rights groups showed a smuggled video Thursday of hundreds of thousands of poor Zimbabweans living in the open in the winter cold after the government tore down their homes in what it describes as an urban renewal project. At news conferences in Africa and at the United Nations, more than 200 international human rights and civic groups said the campaign, known as Operation Drive Out Trash, was "a grave violation of international human rights law and a disturbing affront to human dignity." The rights groups urged the African Union, which is meeting in Libya next month, and the UN to act against Zimbabwe. [AP]




"A Parley Or A Parlay: That's The Riddle?"  By : Ghoma

Thursday, 23 June, 2005: With change building in other parts of the Middle East, exiled opposition leaders want to bring some of that momentum to Libya and one of the region's most entrenched leaders, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Qadhafi's opponents, battered by political division and weakened by long exile, are gathering for the first time this weekend in London. They say they are seeking help from the United States and others in removing Qadhafi. "We want to come out with one clear message - that Qadhafi can no longer stay in power," said Fayez Jibril of the National Front for The Salvation of Libya (NFSL). The conference, being held Saturday and Sunday with some 300 participants expected, will propose plans for a transition to democracy within two years of Qadhafi's ouster. A transitional governing council would be installed, then elections held for an interim national assembly to draft a new constitution. But first they have to get Qadhafi out. And there is little sign they're any closer than they have been over the past three decades. The West - including the United States, which long denounced Qadhafi as a pariah - shows little interest in helping push him out, especially as the Libyan leader is coaxing international business in to invest and help revamp the ruined Libyan economy, said Libyan political analyst Mahmoud Shamam (photo). [AP]
Thursday, 23 June, 2005: Libyan Islamist groups in exile have expressed their displeasure at the ongoing preparations for the opposition conference to be held in London on 25 th June. According to informed sources, these groups consider themselves, both in term of policy and ideology, to be the predominant force on the streets of Libya and want their clout to be reflected in the meeting. So far, four Libyan groups have refused to take part in the conference. They are the Islamic Fighting Group, the Libyan Brotherhood, the Libyan Islamic Group and the Salafis. A spokesman for the Libyan opposition involved in organizing the conference told Asharq Al Awsat that the conference will discuss ways of "consolidating the democratic constitutional legitimacy in Libya." The conference will include the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, the Libya Alliance, the Republican Grouping, as well as the Libyan National Movement, and the Amazigh Grouping. According to the spokesman, only the Libyan Brotherhood had announced its boycott. The conference, sources revealed, will focus on three main issues: President Qadhafi relinquishing all his political, military, and revolutionary responsibilities, the formation of a transitional government in exile, and the preparation of a new constitution. [Al-Sharq Al-Awsat]
Thursday, 23 June, 2005: Libya's Garnatha ship caught fire on Tuesday while undergoing maintenance in Tripoli Port. The fire, which broke out in one of the ship's electrical generators, was caused by an electrical shock, sources at the General Committee for Transportation said. The crew of the ship were on board when the fire erupted and no damages were reported. Security officials set up a probe into the incident to know why the fire broke out in the ship. [LJBC]
Thursday, 23 June, 2005: The Egyptian embassy in Libya deported 3,000 Egyptian workers for Egyptian and Libyan construction companies on Tuesday. According to Egyptian Ambassador to Libya Muhammad Rifa'a al-Tahtawi, the workers came to Libya via contracts with two Egyptian companies and a Libyan one. The three companies did not give any of the workers their salaries, the ambassador said, adding that the companies further held their passports. The diplomat clarified that the embassy intervened but failed to get back more than 1,500 passports. [MENA]





Wednesday, 22 June, 2005: The Libyan opposition holds a conference in London on June 25 and 26 including more than 200 persons aiming at "Pressuring the Libyan leader col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to give up the authority." The congress aimed at adopting three demands which are al-Qadhafi giving up the authorities and his revolutionary, political, military and security authorities, and forming a provisional government to run the country for a period not to exceed one year with the basic mission of returning back the country into constitutional life, and "establishing a democratic constitutional country built on political and cultural pluralism and rotating presidency of the authority," according to the statements of the committee which prepared for the conference. One of the conference organizers, Mohammed Bashir Saleh (photo) -- one of the army officers who carried out the military coupe attempt in October 1993 -- said "it is time for the departure of al-Qadhafi after he had spent 36 years in the rule. "He [Qadhafi] failed in all fields..." Saleh indicated adding that the convening of the conference came "in response to what is taking place in the Libyan street" and has no connection to "foreign pressure on Libya." [Arabic News]
Wednesday, 22 June, 2005: Answering a question on apparent US hesitation to deal with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, especially after it was proven that he planned to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday the US was dealing with the Libyans. She said that despite Washington welcoming Libya's decision not to develop weapons of mass destruction, "Libya is still on the US terrorist list and will remain there until a number of issues have been cleared up to our satisfaction." She emphasized the importance of what Libya had done and said that it should not be underestimated. She said the US continues to seek more commitments from Libya. [Arab News]

U.S. Department Of State: Assistant Secretary of State Visit To Tripoli



Tuesday, 21 June, 2005: A husband and wife were recruited to abduct five children and take them to Libya, a court heard today. Mustafa Abushima, 45, and his wife Wedad Ahmed, 38, who had eight children of their own, were seen as perfect candidates to fool customs officers, Norwich Crown Court heard. They were recruited – along with four other people – by the father of the children, Azzedin Journazi, a Libyan national married to a British woman, Anita Elgirnazi. Mrs Elgirnazi, from Norwich, was granted a resident’s order for the children after the couple split in 1999, but feared they would be snatched by their father. The court was told the children, Rumaysa, then 11, Safiya, then nine, Ali, then seven, Hamza, then four, and Aisha, then two, were taken out of Dover and then through France and Spain. The jury was told that a re-trial had been ordered after the case collapsed in April. The trial continues tomorrow. [The Scotsman]

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Monday, 20 June, 2005: Cameroon beat Libya 1-0 with a goal from Achille Webo in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday to keep up the pressure on Group Three leaders Ivory Coast. The breakthrough came in the 37th minute when Webo sent a powerful close-range header past keeper Luis Alejandro from a cross by midfielder Geremi to delight the 45,000 crowd. The win keeps Cameroon within two points of the Ivorians ahead of their top-of-the-table clash on September 4 that will probably decide who goes to next year's World Cup in Germany. [Reuters]
Monday, 20 June, 2005: The American Hospital Dubai has announced plans to expand its services into the North African region, beginning with a marketing campaign in Libya later this year to promote its new Heart Centre Programme. The private hospital, which already provides world-class medical care across the Middle East, will initially focus on introducing its US standard healthcare services to the re-opened Libyan market at the 'UAE in Libya' exhibition being held in Tripoli in November. The hospital will promote state-of-the-art surgical procedures such as those currently offered by the US board certified physicians at the Heart Centre in Dubai. [AME]
Monday, 20 June, 2005: A suicide bomber walked calmly into a popular Baghdad kebab restaurant at lunchtime Sunday and killed at least 23 people ... Most of the suicide attackers are thought to belong to extremist groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq, which has justified killing other Muslims, including women and children, in their quest to destabilize the Shiite-led government ... Troops on the ground said they found numerous foreign passports and one round trip air ticket (photo) from Tripoli, in Libya, to Damascus, Syria. They found two passports from Sudan, two from Saudi Arabia, two from Libya, two from Algeria and one from Tunisia. [AP]
Monday, 20 June, 2005: As you read about yet another Iranian "election" - in which candidates have been carefully vetted by the ruling mullahs - keep in mind that the real story in Iran is that the government has tightened its grip on power in recent years. An interesting contrast in the same region is Libya, surely the strangest country to be taking baby steps toward reform. Once a key sponsor of terror, it is now opening up its economy, welcoming tourism and trade, presenting economic-reform plans and even talking about political changes. While all these steps are small and easily reversible - Libya is still ruled by a wacky megalomaniac - there is some real movement here. [NewsWeek]






Sunday, 19 June, 2005: African Union (AU) Ministers of Interior are meeting in Tripoli, Libya, to discuss issuing unified African passports and Identity. The meetings are attended by the Secretary of the General People's Committee for Public Security, Chairman of the AU Commission, Alpha Umar Konare, the Cen-Sad Secretary General Dr. Mohammed al-Azhari, and AU Political Affairs Commissioner, Juliana Duli. The meetings aim at facilitating measures for the movement of individuals by issuing unified African passports and Identity. [LJBC]
Sunday, 19 June, 2005: Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), South Korea's power monopoly, said Friday it has signed a technology cooperation pact with Libya, making inroads into Africa. "KEPCO signed a deal to offer technical consulting on power transmission and supplies to Libya's General Electricity Co. for 32 months, which is worth US$7.64 million". [Yonhap]

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Saturday, 18 June, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi held talks on improving relations with Washington with the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs on Thursday, Libya's official news agency reported. Assistant Secretary David Welch met Qadhafi for more than an hour at the end of a three-day trip to Libya, JANA reported. The report said Welch expressed Washington's appreciation of Libya's efforts to bring peace to Darfur, the west Sudanese region where a rebellion and counter-insurgency has led to the death of at least 180,000 people during the past two years. Welch also said the United States was interested in developing economic and political relations with Libya, JANA reported. [AP]





LLHR: Libya; Violation Of The Right To Life Of A Libyan Journalist

Friday, 17 June, 2005: Libya has acquired about half of Uganda's National Housing & Construction Corporation (NH&CC) as part of a deal to pay off Uganda’s two loans worth US$84m borrowed from it in 1989. The loans had accumulated to US$184m by May 13, 2005. Uganda and Libya signed the deal on June 5, 2005 in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, in which Libya acquired 49% of the construction parastatal. According to the agreement, "Libya cancelled almost 89% of the accrued interest and penalty interest of US$88,695,418 and adopted US$95m as the full and final settlement of the outstanding debt." [The New Vision]
Friday, 17 June, 2005: African Fire, Safety and Security Exhibition Libya 2005 - AFSEC 2005 for short - will be held at Tripoli Fair Ground from December 5 to 8. Organisers report that AFSEC is the only trade show held in Libya which is exclusively dedicated to security, safety and emergency services market after nearly 20 years of various sanctions and embargo. This exhibition is organised by ITE Group Plc and supported by General Union of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Libya, in co-operation with: The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce; and Franco-Arab Chamber of Commerce. [Professional Security]

AI: Libya; Amnesty International Concerned By Death Of Journalist


WSJ: Will Anyone Answer?




Thursday, 16 June, 2005: Amnesty International (AI) has called on the Libyan government to provide details of the official inquiry that it says is being held into the murder of Dhaif al-Ghazzal (photo), whose mutilated body was found on 2 June 2005 in a suburb of Benghazi. His hands were reportedly tied behind his back, his fingers had been cur off, he had bruises and stab wounds to the body, and he had been shot in the head. AI expressed its concerns at reports that al-Ghazzal was arrested in Benghazi on 21 May by two men who identified themselves as members of Libya's Internal Security. Before his arrest he had received anonymous death threats which he believed were a result of his writings about corruption and the need for political reform. The Libyan authorities, however, have denied that he was detained by security officials and say that there was no official involvement in his death. [AI]
Thursday, 16 June, 2005: Cameroon’s national squad continue camping in Yaounde as they prepare to host Libya in a Group 3 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Sunday. The team has two training sessions per day in Yaounde, either in the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium, venue of Sunday’s game or at the sports grounds of BEAC, the Central Africa Central Bank. [FECAF]
Thursday, 16 June, 2005: Libya Prime Minister Dr. Shokri Ghanem (photo), has held talks in Tripoli with John Manley, ex-deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Chairman of the McCarthy Institution for Economic Operations. The talks focused on cooperation between Libya's business and economic sectors and McCarthy Institution in the fields of post, communications, energy, aviation, in addition to McCarthy contribution in enhancing the performance of Libyan economic sectors. [LJBC]









Wednesday, 15 June, 2005: The families of Libyan children with HIV insisted on implementing death sentences against five Bulgarian nurses convicted of infecting them. The families said in a statement released Tuesday the sentences served by a court in Benghazi last year should be carried out, rejecting any negotiations to find a suitable settlement for both sides. They accused Bulgaria and the European Union of interfering with Libya's sovereignty by trying to put pressure on its independent judicial system to amend the sentence. In the meantime, the Libyan High court Tuesday postponed its ruling over the appeal made by the nurses until Nov. 15. The nurses, who maintain their innocence, were convicted of giving HIV to more than 400 Libyan children. [UPI]
Wednesday, 15 June, 2005: Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni will chair the mini-summit of the African Union (AU) that opens today at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, to study the proposal by Libya to have one government for Africa. The 4th summit of AU that sat in Abuja in January 2005, accepted the Libyan proposal as forward-looking and in line with AU's vision. [New Vision]
Wednesday, 15 June, 2005: Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) has reached yet another landmark in their expansion drive by introducing International Schools in Libya and Jordan that will offer a holistic educational environment to suit the needs of the local communities. Both schools will commence all operations for the following academic year in September 2005. The schools in Libya and Jordan will offer the National Curriculum of England and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Initially, the schools will function up to Year six and seven respectively and then eventually up to Year 13. [Strategiy]
Wednesday, 15 June, 2005: Edwin Wilson, a disgraced former CIA officer freed from prison last year after serving 22 years in connection with the sale of arms and explosives to Libya in the 1970s, is going back to court, and this time he says he hopes to clear his name once and for all. Wilson now says that his former employers at the CIA not only knew of his clandestine int'l arms trafficking but directed much of his activity. Some of Wilson's claims have already been validated by a U.S. judge in Houston, who ruled in 2003 in a related case involving the sale of explosives to Libya that Justice Department prosecutors and CIA officials had fabricated evidence against him in denying that the agency had any knowledge of his arms dealings. [The New York Times]
Wednesday, 15 June, 2005: [Libya's] Secretary of Higher Education has held talks with US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Thomas Farrell, to promote educational cooperation between the two countries. The two sides discussed during their meeting ways and means to bolster cooperation in educational, scientific and cultural fields. They also reviewed previous stages of such cooperation, and agreed on activating cooperation mechanisms between the two countries according to a defined time frame, develop cooperation between the Libyan and American universities and hold a scientific gathering between the high educational institutions in both countries during the coming months in Tripoli. [LJBC]
Tuesday, 14 June, 2005: British scholars have described an "extraordinary" 2000-year-old Roman mosaic found five years ago in Libya but kept secret for security reasons. The mosaics show with remarkable clarity four young men wrestling a wild bull to the ground, a warrior in combat with a deer, and an exhausted gladiator staring at his slain opponent. The mosaics decorated the pool of a bathhouse within a Roman villa at Wadi Lebda in Leptis Magna, one of the greatest cities of antiquity, The Times of London said Monday. Although the discovery was made in 2000 by Marliese Wendowski of the University of Hamburg, it was kept secret to ensure the excavations were not disturbed by looters. [UPI]
Tuesday, 14 June, 2005: Libya plans to roll out national ID cards based on chip and biometric technology, Card Technology has learned. The North African state has issued at least two requests for tenders for the project. Although details are sketchy, one source, who has seen the tender, says the cards would be “sophisticated.” The chips will store one or more biometric identifiers along with other data on citizens and residents. The cards will help the government, which is a military dictatorship led by Col. Qadhafi, keep better track of its 5.8 million people, says a source. Another West African state, Morocco, is also considering a biometrics-based smart card ID, the source says, although it hasn’t asked for tenders. [CardTech]
Tuesday, 14 June, 2005: Libya's Oil Minister Fathi bin Shatwan said Monday that he expects the country to hike its crude capacity some 18% before the year is out, but is currently pumping at maximum. Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires as he departed Tripoli for an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna, Shatwan said: "At the moment, we're doing 1.7 million barrels a day and I'm hoping we'll be able to do probably 300, 000 barrels a day more late this year." OPEC meets Wednesday and is expected to sanction a 500,000 barrels-a-day increase in its production ceiling. [Dow Jones]






History And Religion; By: Ghoma




Monday, 13 June, 2005: Germany, India, Japan and Brazil still hope for a vote in June for enlarging the prestigious 15-member U.N. Security Council but acknowledged on Friday the date could slip into July. The four, who want permanent seats on the council, have put forth a plan that would enlarge the body from 15 to 25 seats. Timing is crucial as African nations hold a summit in Libya on July 4-5 to decide on their candidates. [Reuters]
Monday, 13 June, 2005: Al Wafa Hall in Sirte, Libya, is to host on 12th and 13th of June, a scientific seminar on human rights in which over 250 participants are to take part including scholars from Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Yemen, Jordan, Senegal, Djibouti, and Palestine. Secretary and members of the Arab Lawyers Union, and chairman of the African Jurists, Director of Human Rights at the Arab League would also take part in the seminar organized by the legal affairs and human rights at the General People's Congress." [Arabic News]
Monday, 13 June, 2005: In its efforts to expand the public shareholding base of Sahara Bank and to boost private sector investments, the Central Bank of Libya announced that it will make a public offering of its entire stake in this bank at the price of LD 10 per share. [APO]



Sunday, 12 June, 2005: US assistant secretary for commerce, William Lash, has lauded the "remarkable development" of trade relations between America and Libya, reaffirming his commitment to strengthening this fruitful cooperation. He was speaking to journalists Wednesday shortly after meeting Libyan finance minister Mohaamed Ali Haweij in Tripoli at the start of a working visit. The meeting, attended by the chairman of the US liaison office in Libya, Gregory Berry, and an official of the Libyan Foreign Ministry', examined prospects in the relations between the two countries in the financial sector, mainly in the area of banking. [Angop]
Sunday, 12 June, 2005: Libyan leader Col. Qadhafi donated money to Uganda's National Resistance Movement organisation (NRM) to cover its campaign expanses, Bukoto East MP alintuma Nsambu has said. He said part of the money was used to open NRM branches country-wide.Nsambu, who is also the NRM assistant in charge of foreign affairs (external wing), said this at the Luvule Catholic Parish day in Bukoto East, Masaka, on Sunday. Nsambu denied reports that the money used to open party branches was from tax payers. "Qadhafi gave us a lot of money when the President visited him recently," he said without revealing the figure. [New Vision]





LCU: An Open Letter To The Head Of The Libyan Jewish Community In The UK

Saturday, 11 June, 2005: As part of its emergence from political and economic isolation, Libya is converting to an open-market economy after decades of socialist-style policies. Among the most unpopular steps taken by the government so far has been cutting subsidies, which has triggered widespread anger among Libyans. According to Libyan economists, however, the majority of Libyan households have not yet felt the impact of such growth; they live on an average of $200 per month, as public wages have not risen in 30 years and unemployment stands at about 25 percent. Subsidy cuts became a reality in early May when the Libyan authorities imposed a 30 percent hike on fuel prices and a 6 percent increase on diesel prices. During the same month the government doubled the price of electricity for consumers of more than 500 kilowatts per month. Such increases have set off rises in the price of many goods and services as well. [The Daily Star]
Saturday, 11 June, 2005: The European Commission has seen the decision by a Libyan appeal court to clear nine policemen and a doctor accused of mistreating five Bulgarian nurses currently in jail in Tripoli as "a matter for serious concern." In a statement the European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner expressed the extreme disappointment of the EC with the procedures in this trial. She reminded that lawyers from Avocats sans Frontieres were denied visas, and therefore were not able to be present in court or to assist their clients in line with the normal international standards of law. [SNA]

http://www.al-haqiqa.com/aids.htm



http://www.geocities.com/abdoulr/LYA/fweb.html


http://www.geocities.com/ajdabiya_online2/






Friday, 10 June, 2005: The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the recent killings of one journalist in Libya and another in Somalia and urged authorities in the two countries to respect the rights of the press. "Freedom of expression is fundamental to good governance and rule of law - torturing and silencing those who denounce problems does not make the problems go away," UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said in a statement condemning the torture and murder of Libyan writer and journalist Daif Al Ghazal (photo). Mr. Al Ghazal, 32, was a journalist for the London-based online newspaper Libya Al-Youm (Libya Today). According to the nongovernmental organization Reporters Without Borders, he was kidnapped on 21 May and his body was found on 2 June, "barely recognizable" due to "many signs of torture." [U.N. News Center]
Friday, 10 June, 2005: Italy's Polgai Pescara (judicial, administrative and investigation police school) is one of the seats chosen by the Police Chief to instruct some Libyan Police officers within a cooperation programme, signed in December 2000, to fight off terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking. Overall, 19 Libyan officers, including 2 colonels, are attending a general training class at Polgai, following the methods used there. In July 2004, the Italy-Libya Pact was given further momentum with the agreement signed by Interior Minister Pisanu and his Libyan counterpart, on cooperation for boat patrolling, to prevent illegal immigration. [AGI]
Friday, 10 June, 2005: The son of Libyan leader Qadhafi has appealed a four-month suspended prison sentence handed down by a Paris court for hitting his partner, judicial sources said today. The court sentenced Hannibal al-Qadhafi in absentia for "voluntary violence on a vulnerable person", referring to his pregnant partner, and carrying an unlicensed firearm. The court had also ordered him to pay a 500 euro ($800) fine. Charges against the 28-year-old emerged from scuffles in two luxury Paris hotels on February 1 during which he produced a handgun. His pregnant partner pressed charges against the son of the Libyan leader, saying he had hit her landing her in hospital for treatment. She later withdrew the charges. France formally protested to Libya and the French foreign ministry ruled that he did not have diplomatic immunity. [AFP]






Thursday, 9 June, 2005: The Tripoli court ruling to acquit the torturers of the Bulgarian medics may be a prelude to a possible confirmation of the nurses' death sentences, according to a renowned Paris lawyer from the international Lawyers without Borders organization. "The clearing of the ten Libyan defendants bears more weight for Libya than the trial against the foreign workers and is a key move for the state," Emmanuel Altit told the BBC. "It aims to show the world there is no violence in the country, prevent further clashes inside the country and paves the way for a possible confirmation of the death sentences against the five Bulgarians." [SNA]
Thursday, 9 June, 2005: The Libyan Football Federation (LFF) has admitted that it had dragged its feet in honouring a US $200,000 pledge which was part of a four-year agreement it signed with Fam (Malawi Football Association) in 2002, but fell short of committing itself on when it would open the tap. Fam president Walter Nyamilandu said that he held a meeting with the LFF general secretary Abdulmajid Aboushwesha last week where the Libyan official lamented the delay to effect the agreement. "... LFF general secretary attributed the delay in implementing the agreement to change of leadership". [NationMalawi]



Tibra Foundation: Tibra Awardee In The News
www.tibra.org/mlist/2005/06/tibra-awardee-in-news.htm




Wednesday, 8 June, 2005: Nine Libyan policemen and a physician were cleared yesterday of torturing five Bulgarian nurses to force them to confess to deliberately infecting hundreds of children with HIV. A Libyan court last year sentenced the nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death by firing squad for infecting 426 children in a hospital in the eastern town of Benghazi. Bulgarian officials had hoped for guilty verdicts against the policemen and the physician which could have helped the nurses in their appeal against conviction. [The Scotsman]



Send Letters To Your Congressmen And Your Senators; By: Saleh Butelaq

LCU: A Return To Constitutional Life Or Back To "Square One"

Tuesday, 7 June, 2005: A 26-year-old Libyan was arraigned in court accused of the attempted murder of another Libyan in an apartment in Bugibba, Malta, last Friday. Ashraf Kalifa Egmati pleaded not guilty for the accusations brought against him. However, the police said that the accused had confessed that he stabbed Hasan Germag with a blade in his neck, since the latter owed him Lm30. The police also said that Egmati told them that this story will continue in Libya. According to police investigations, the accused has been living in Malta without permission and without a passport for the past year. Egmati has not a permanent rresidence. [MaltaMedia]
Tuesday, 7 June, 2005: Libya insisted that it had no hand in the murder of a dissident journalist in Benghazi, blaming the killing on unknown kidnappers who passed themselves off as security personnel. "We deny any link with this incident," Justice Minister Ali Hasnawi told AFP. "Al-Ghazal, who is of Egyptian origin, was kidnapped by persons who claimed to be members of the security services while he was out in central Benghazi late on May 21 with his friend Mohammad al-Mirghani," the minister said. Hasnawi said several suspects were already being questioned by investigators and there were "indications that the culprit will be unveiled soon." [AFP]
Tuesday, 7 June, 2005: China said it was willing to engage in international cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, but denied that it had any such dealings with Iran, North Korea or Libya. "The cooperation between CNNC and foreign counterparts is for peaceful uses of nuclear power. We will actively carry out such cooperation," Kang Rixin, general manager of the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), told journalists. [AFP]

Monday, 6 June, 2005: Al-Raqib for Human Rights has said that Libyan journalist Dhayf al-Ghazal (photo), missing since 21 May, has been killed. The rights monitor said the body of al-Ghazal was found in Qanfudha area, west of Benghazi. Al-Raqib's statement also said the body bore signs of injury and that the report of the medical examiner showed that al-Ghazal had been tortured. Al-Ghazal, who was a contributor to al-Zahf al-Akhdar publication and a member of the Revolutionary Committee, was forced to stop writing in Libyan newspapers after he strongly criticised the government of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. His most hard-hitting pieces appeared in the paper "Libya Today". [Al-Jazeera]








Sunday, 5 June, 2005: Europe and Africa need each other and unless they work together there would not be peace and stability in the region, Ambassador Abuzaid Dorda, a former Libyan Prime Minister, said yesterday. Giving a talk to students of diplomacy and seasoned diplomats at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies at the University, Mr Dorda said change was coming to the Mediterranean region. Such change, he said, had already started in Egypt during the past few weeks with protests calling for a reform and creating unrest. Some western countries had started dealing with certain religious parties in Egypt, which was dangerous. The religious organisations, he said, were extremists and should not be helped into power. [Times Of Malta]
Sunday, 5 June, 2005: Libyan leader Qadhafi said on Thursday any intervention in Sudan's Darfur region from outside Africa would exacerbate the crisis. "We are against any foreign intervention in Darfur because that would do nothing but pour oil on the fire," Qadhafi said after a summit of heads of state from West and North Africa in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou. U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday he was concerned about genocide in Darfur, where U.N. officials say some 180,000 people have died, but stopped short of offering military support beyond the aid Washington already provides. [Reuters]
Sunday, 5 June, 2005: Libya joined the growing list of countries which have lifted their bans on imports of beef from the United States and has resumed imports of U.S. beef and beef products from animals under 30 months of age. After the discovery of a BSE-infected cow in the United States, $4.8 billion worth of beef exports were banned. To date, USDA estimates that it has recovered $1.9 billion of the banned amount. [AgReport]

http://www.libya-watch.org/lwhr05_PR_Daif.html





Saturday, 4 June, 2005: After months of discussion, EU interior ministers on Friday agreed to give the Libyan authorities "progressive and concrete assistance" to tackle illegal immigration to Europe from North Africa. Among the measures agreed is the creation of temporary EU "operational units" equipped with ships and planes to give swifter aid to migrants in difficulty aboard the traffickers' boats. The European Commission will also deploy a new fact-finding mission to Libya in the next few days, and the EU assistance could begin this month. [AKI]
Saturday, 4 June, 2005: Austrian politician Peter Sichrovsky has vehemently denied ever being an agent for the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. However, Sichrovsky, a former close aide to Austrian far right leader Joerg Haidar, confirmed having held many meetings with Israeli officials, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Friday. The Austrian weekly Profil published an article earlier this week accusing Sichrovsky, the former secretary-general of Joerg Haider's Freedom Party, of having worked for the Mossad and given it information about Iraq and Libya. [WPH]
Saturday, 4 June, 2005: Ivory Coast's World Cup hopes took a knock as they could manage only a goalless draw away to Libya. The Elephants dominated the play, but found it difficult to break down Libya's packed defence until the later stages of the game. When they did create chances, the Ivorians snatched at them - Didier Drogba twice came close, as did Tiene and Dindane. However, the draw maintains their lead in Group Three of the 2006 qualifiers. [BBC]



Friday, 3 June, 2005: Overtures to Israel by Seif al-Islam (photo), the son of Libyan leader Col. Qadhafi, do not reflect official Libyan policy, according to Libya's deputy foreign minister. Libya's unchanged position, said Dr. Said Hafiana, is to support a single state solution, the so-called "Isratine" long advocated by Col. Qadhafi, as the permanent means for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Interviewed in his office in downtown Tripoli, Hafiana related to Seif's readiness to enter dialogue with Israel, as restated by the colonel's son at World Economic Forum in Jordan, and to reports that Seif al-Qadhafi shook hands there with Israel's Foreign Minister Shalom. [The Jerusalem Post]
Friday, 3 June, 2005: Addressing the 10th Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit in Kigali, Uganda's President Museveni said the countries improved in macro-economic programmes ... Libya became the 21st member of COMESA. [New Vision]



Thursday, 2 June, 2005: Leaders from the Community of Sahel and Sahara states gathered for their seventh summit Wednesday in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso. The two-day summit gathered leaders from Libya, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Eritrea, the CAR, Senegal, Gambia, Djibouti, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Somalia, Togo, Benin, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia. Enditem . [Xinhua]
Thursday, 2 June, 2005: "Professional Fitness centers are opening up in the Middle East like nothing I've ever seen before" says Steve Paterson, President of Used Gym Equipment.com in Gardena California. "Our customers are Businessmen, and tell us they are not political. "The buyer for Libya actually lives in West Germany but is the investor in a hotel fitness project in Libya where he was born and raised;" informs Adam Stewart. [PrWeb]




Wednesday, 1 June, 2005: Bulgaria and the EU have welcomed a legal development in the case of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, sentenced to death in Libya for allegedly infecting hundreds of children with HIV. The Libyan Supreme Court has delayed until Nov. 15 a ruling on an appeal by the defendants. Bulgarian foreign minister Solomon Passy, in Luxembourg for an E.U. meeting, was cautious in his reaction to the news, but gave a positive interpretation. "Obviously, the court did not confirm the verdict. So we have the reading that the court is listening more carefully to the arguments of the defense. We believe this postponement to be the last one. We hope so. We hope to have our people back in Bulgaria this year," he said. [VOA]









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