News and Views [ March 2005 ]

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Thursday, 31 March, 2005: Reporters Without Borders says a 52-year-old bookseller was arrested by Libyan authorities for publishing criticism of the government on a Web site based in the UK. The press freedom organization said cyber-dissident Abdelrazek Al-Mansouri (photo) was detained in Tobruk, Libya on Jan. 12. It has had no word about Al Mansouri since. Reporters Without Borders has chronicled a growing list of cyber crackdowns against bloggers and cyber-journalists around the world in the last year. The group said Libya's government "already control all the traditional media and now they are trying to gag the Internet, the last window on the outside world still accessible to Libyans." Al Mansouri began posting articles about social conditions inside Libya last year. [CNET]
Thursday, 31 March, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi flew home on Tuesday evening after a nine-day stay in the capital Algiers that surprised many Algerians and kept government officials busy. Qadhafi unexpectedly extended his sejour to get to know Algerians of all walks of life, especially those who fought colonialism, after a summit of Arab heads of state ended on March 23. Influential newspaper El Watan on Wednesday claimed it was the longest time Libya's ruler spent on an official visit abroad. His stay had thrown into disarray the schedules of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and senior government officials, local media reported. [Reuters]
LLHR: The Case Of Mr. Fathi Al-Jahmi Before The 61st Session Of The UNCHR

Wednesday, 30 March, 2005: Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor have appealed to a Libyan court against their death sentences imposed for infecting 426 children with HIV. Relatives of the victims protested outside the court waving banners demanding "Death to the child killers". Prosecutors say the medics deliberately injected the children with contaminated blood as part of an experiment. Defence lawyers say the children had the virus which causes Aids before the nurses arrived to start work at the hospital in Benghazi. The court said it would deliver its judgement on 31 May. Several of the HIV-infected children joined the 60 demonstrators outside the court, wearing mock military uniforms and carrying fake pistols (photo), reports the AFP news agency. Libyan leader Qadhafi recently said he would not pardon the nurses. [BBC]
Wednesday, 30 March, 2005: A celebration was held yesterday in Tripoli to mark the beginning of works at the new project “sea tower.” The sea tower, to be built on Tripoli’s eastern coast line of 7 hectares on the shore, is designed to include three towers. The first tower, of 40 floors, is a five star hotel of more than 400 rooms. The second tower, of 25 floors, is a residential one of about 100 flats, while the third one, is an administrative compound of 18 floors. [LJBC]
Tuesday, 29 March, 2005: The U.S. acknowledged on Monday that it has failed to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, or resolve two major rights cases in Libya as it issued a report on its efforts to promote human rights abroad. The annual State Department report, "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy," is a companion to its country-by-country human rights assessments released on Feb. 28. Presenting the report, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Michael Kozak said ... the U.S. had not seen any "forward movement" from Libya on Fathi al-Jahmi, a Libyan man imprisoned last year after advocating free speech and democracy, or on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death for allegedly infecting children with AIDS. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 29 March, 2005: Libya, holder of Africa's largest crude oil reserves, will offer in early May 44 plots of land for oil and gas exploration, the official news service JANA said. The decision was taken at a government meeting yesterday. It will be the second bidding round for oil drilling rights in the North African state. Libya concluded the first on Jan. 29, awarding foreign companies exploration rights in 15 plots covering 127,000 square kilometers, or 50,000 square miles, about the size of the U.S state of Louisiana. Libya wants to put decades of economic sanctions behind and draw $30 billion of investment to double production capacity to 3 million barrels a day before the end of the decade. It is Africa's second largest crude oil producer, after Nigeria. The first oil bidding round marked the return of U.S. oil groups to Libya, 19 years after they left. [Bloomberg]
Tuesday, 29 March, 2005: The lawyers of the Bulgarian defendants in the HIV trial in Libya have been denied access to their clients, locked up at Judeyda prison. Plamen Yalnuzov, Hari Haralampiev, Georgi Gatev waited more than an hour outside the prison to meet the five Bulgarian nurses, but were informed they might meet them on Wednesday. Libya's Supreme Court convenes Tuesday for the appeal hearing against the death sentences passed on five Bulgarian nurses for allegedly infecting with AIDS more than 400 Libyan children. [SNA]
Tuesday, 29 March, 2005: Libya has reaffirmed its position for a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem. The country's stance was set out by Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam during a meeting in Tripoli with Cyprus Foreign Ministry Secretary Sotos Zackheos. [CNA]

Monday, 28 March, 2005: Islamic sources said the United States facilitated the transfer of two Islamic operatives to Libya over the last few months. The sources said the two were members of Al Jama'a Al Islamiya Combatant Group, regarded as the leading insurgency gruop in Libya. The two men were captured in China and Thailand in 2003, the sources said. They said the operatives were extradited to Libya in 2004 and interrogated regarding any link to Al Qaida. One of the insurgents was identified as as Sami Mustafa Al Sa'edi, also known as Abu Monzer Al Sa'edi. The sources said Al Sa'edi was regarded as a leading member of the Arab mercenary community in Afghanistan trained and supported by Al Qaida and Taliban. [MENL]
Monday, 28 March, 2005: Egypt got their revenge against Libya with a 4-1 win in a FIFA World Cup qualifier on Sunday to keep their hopes alive in a tough African zone Group Three. Emad Metab scored two goals and Mido and Ahmed Hassan added one each to help Egypt stay in the qualifying race with 10 points in Group 3 -tied with Libya also on 10 but above them in third on goal difference. Egypt's win – secured by second-half goals from Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam, an Emad Motab double and Ahmed Hassan – takes them above Libya into third place on goal difference with 10 points from six games behind Ivory Coast on 15 and Cameroon who have 11. [AP]
Monday, 28 March, 2005: Libya seldom springs to mind as a leading holiday destination but next year things could be very different. The totalitarian Jamahuriya, which combines strict penalties for criticism of the state or its leader Qadhafi, with a total and strictly enforced ban on alcohol, is the Mediterranean's least popular holiday destination. However, all that will change next year with an event that is expected to propel Libya to the top of the heap, albeit temporarily. Libya is in prime position for the solar eclipse that will take place a year tomorrow. "It is a very, very beautiful event and I defy anybody not to be moved by it," says Brian McGee, of the British holiday company Explorers. [The Independent]
Terrorism Monitor: From Mujahid To Activist: An Interview With
A Libyan Veteran Of The Afghan Jihad ( An Interview With Noman Benotman )

Spotlight On Terror: Libya, Radical Islam And The War On Terror:
A Libyan Oppositionist's View ( An Interview With Ashur al-Shamis )

Sunday, 27 March, 2005: The wife and family of the Lockerbie bomber have returned to Libya permanently because of concerns his children were not being educated properly in Scotland. Eddie MacKechnie, the lawyer of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), said his client’s wife, Aisha, and children had left the £500,000 safe house in Newton Mearns, near Glasgow, and had not been in Scotland since January. MacKechnie said the UK authorities had banned the children from using “any educational facilities” and had telephoned the headteacher of a local primary school warning her not to educate al-Megrahi’s children. But news of the move has fuelled fresh speculation the bomber may be about to be transferred to Libya or another Muslim country. [Sunday Herald]
Sunday, 27 March, 2005: Today, Egypt will be hosting Libya in the 5th round of the world cup qualifications. It is worth to mention that Egypt has the best offence in the group scoring 11 goals in 5 matches. Egypt has no injuries to worry about with full team and are ready to grab the 3 points in this match. Libya on the other hand are a good team with very good results so far beating Egypt in the first leg and drawing with cameroon and not to mention they have beaten both Sudan and Benin. The real problem is that they only depend on two players to provide their football (Eltayeb and Kara). If Egypt can mark those two, then it is all over for the visitors. [AS]
Sunday, 27 March, 2005: Lebanon's Kesrouan MP Neamatallah Abi Nasr urged Libyan leader Qadhafi Thursday to stop interfering in Lebanon's domestic affairs. During a news conference at Parliament, Abi Nasr criticized recommendations made by Qadhafi regarding the political scene in Lebanon during the Arab League summit in Algeria. Speaking during the final session of the Arab summit, Qadhafi warned Arab leaders that Lebanon's security situation could worsen after Syria's pullout. Abi Nasr accused Qadhafi of kidnappings and violence, blaming him for sparking Lebanese discord after the disappearance of national Shiite leader Imam Moussa Sadr and his companions. The MP blasted: "Shut up! Silence is golden, Mu'ammar!" [The Daily Star]
Sunday, 27 March, 2005: South Korea signed an agreement with Libya for long-term cooperation on electric energy production, a South Korean company involved in the project said Sunday. The agreement was signed between the two countries' state-owned electricity producers, the Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) and the General Electricity Company of Libya. The KEPCO will transfer its technology to Libya over the next six years through consultations and on-site training in the North African country, the firm said. [Yonhap]

Saturday, 26 March, 2005: The United States promised Friday to do all it can to persuade Libya to free five Bulgarian nurses convicted of and sentenced to death for injecting the virus that causes AIDS into 400 children. International observers said the charges were contrived and extracted by torture. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi that the Bush administration would "do everything possible, everything within our power, to obtain the release of these prisoners who have been in Libyan prisons for much too long and without justification," department spokesman Adam Ereli said. [AP]
Saturday, 26 March, 2005: South Korea denied a news report yesterday that it was informed by the U.S. earlier this year of the intelligence that N. Korea had been paid by Libya after exporting nuclear material via Pakistan. The Dong-A Ilbo, one of the country's major conservative dailies, reported in its morning edition that Washington delivered the information to Seoul through a diplomatic channel last month right after U.S. National Security Council officials' visit on Feb. 2. Since the Washington Post reported Sunday that it was not N. Korea, but Pakistan which had sold uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to Libya, there has been growing speculations that the U.S. might have misled its allies in Asia with false intelligence to pressure the North. [The Korea Times]
Saturday, 26 March, 2005: An opposition group called a silent vigil in front of Libya's embassy in Sofia next Tuesday, when the Arab country's Supreme Court is to hear an appeal by five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death on charges of causing an AIDS outbreak. Earlier in the day, parliamentary parties failed to agree on an opposition-proposed declaration meant to respond to a recent speech by Libyan leader Qadhafi, who dismissed international pressure on him to free the nurses. The ruling coalition left the multi-party talks, thwarting adoption of any document. [BNN]
Saturday, 26 March, 2005: Cameroon must defeat Sudan in Yaounde Sunday to keep alive hopes of a fifth consecutive World Cup appearance. A series of disappointing away results have left the 'Indomitable Lions' four points adrift of pacesetters Ivory Coast. Libya held Cameroon 0-0 in Benghazi, Egypt triumphed 3-2 in a Cairo and Sudan were deprived of a shock win in Omdurman by a last-minute equaliser from striker Joseph-Desire Job. [The Star]

International Human Rights Groups Examine Seriously ill
Libyan Political Prisoner And Call For His Immediate Release

Friday, 25 March, 2005: Citing rapidly failing health and a need for immediate access to better medical care, today Physicians for Human Rights and the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations (PHR/IFHHRO) called on the Libyan government to release prominent political prisoner, 63-year-old Fathi el-Jahmi (photo), on humanitarian grounds. His isolated confinement and sporadic and inadequate medical treatment constitute cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, the groups said. Mr el-Jahmi has been held at an undisclosed location since his re-arrest in March 2004. In response to numerous reports of his ill health, PHR/IFHHRO sent a Dutch physician and prison health expert, Dr. Joost Den Otter, to evaluate Mr. el- Jahmi’s condition. The organizations have released a detailed medical report: Medical Assessment of Mr. Fathi el-Jahmi. Click here for more details. [PHRUSA]
Friday, 25 March, 2005: Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has invited Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov to visit Tripoli, a day after the Libyan leader criticized Western attempts to free Bulgarian nurses who are on death row after being convicted of infecting hundreds of children with AIDS, the president's office said in a statement. Libyan Ambassador to Bulgaria Tahir Benchaban made the invitation on Qadhafi's behalf during talks with Parvanov over Qadhafi's speech Wednesday at the Arab League summit in Algiers. "The Bulgarians have killed our children. I swear by Allah that some Western officials come to me and say, 'We want to take them (the nurses) back today, so release them,'" Qadhafi said Wednesday. [AFP]
Friday, 25 March, 2005: Libya's Embassy in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, expressed surprise at the rashness with which Bulgaria's media gave publicity to the pledge of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi not to release the Bulgarian medics, as wrongly translated and circulated by Reuters and AFP. In a statement sent Thursday to the Bulgarian News Agency, the Embassy said the journalists were too quick to accuse [Qadhafi]. The correct translation of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's words are "In the name of God, officials from the West come to Libya and tell me "we want to take them with us. Release them", Libyan Embassy to Sofia said. [SNA]
Friday, 25 March, 2005: The Basketball Federation of Libya, which is affiliated to FIBA since 1961 and was a traditional powerhouse in the North African region, is back on the international basketball stage again. In the past years, the federation was not very active, but has recently started a couple of important activities to improve the level of the game in the country and on the continent. This week FIBA Sports Director Mr. Lubomir Kotleba, assisted by Mr. Boujemaa Jdaini, President of the Technical Commission of FIBA Africa, visited the country for a FIBA Africa referees clinic. The Clinic was held on 20th - 24th March 2005 in Tripoli, Libya with the participation of 46 Referees and Referee Candidates from Algeria, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Sudan and Tunis. 73 local observers, players, coaches and teams officials were also present. [FIBA]
Friday, 25 March, 2005: A full-page ad in London’s Guardian daily costs £17,425. So, if you are going to spend that kind of money on getting your message across, you’d better make sure it’s worth it. And what did [Qadhafi] have to say to Guardian readers last week? The Libyan leader addressed the problem of reforming the UN, and concluded by asserting: “The world will ruin itself if it thinks of broadening the Security Council and disdains the General Assembly, as is the case at present. A powerful call for the withdrawal from the UN will appear prominently and on a wider scale. I personally will be the first of those calling for it.” [Khaleej Times]
Friday, 25 March, 2005: The head of the U.S. delegation to a key meeting in The Hague to review nations’ efforts to destroy chemical weapons says the United States welcomes the ambitious plans of the governments of Libya and Albania to eliminate their stockpiles. U.S. Ambassador Eric Javits, head of the U.S. delegation to the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said the United States strongly supports both nations in these efforts. Javits, who made his remarks March 15 during the council’s 40th session in the Netherlands, said the examples of Libya and Albania “highlight the importance of universal adherence” to the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). [USInfo]
Friday, 25 March, 2005: The sentences of the Bulgarian medics in Libya will be cancelled, said the coordinator of the defense team of the Bulgarian medics in Libya Trayan Markovski in an interview for BNR. “The defense team of the Bulgarian medics is ready to bring to the Supreme Court a well-grounded thesis. We hope that it will be heard and that sentences will be cancelled”, Markovski said adding that re-animating the topic after Wednesday’s statement of Libyan leader Qadhafi could not affect the trial and change tactics. [FIA]

Thursday, 24 March, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has rejected calls for the release of Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for injecting children with the HIV virus. "Everyone from the west comes to Libya, and says to me release the Bulgarian nurses. This means that our children died and this was not considered as important," Qadhafi said. "I swear to God I will not release them," he told an Arab League summit in Algiers. Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death last year after being found guilty of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the deadly HIV virus. The verdicts were based on confessions that the nurses - who remain jailed - say were extracted under torture. "When the court sentenced the Bulgarians to death by hanging there were demonstrations (in Benghazi) supporting this sentence," Qadhafi said. "They (the west) consider our people cheap." [Reuters]
Thursday, 24 March, 2005: Bulgaria will ask the United States to step up pressure on Libya to free five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor it has sentenced to death on charges of causing an AIDS outbreak, an official said Wednesday. "The subject of Libya will be central in the forthcoming visit of Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy to the U.S.," Deputy Foreign Minister Gergana Grancharova said. Passy, who is currently in Brussels, is scheduled to travel to the U.S. later Wednesday and meet U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday. [BNN]
Thursday, 24 March, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi grabbed the spotlight at an Arab summit on Wednesday, calling Israelis and Palestinians idiots for seeking separate states and saying the UN Security Council was a terrorist organisation. The Algerian hosts of the two-day meeting gave the maverick leader a star role on the closing day, allowing him to vent at length on Arab grievances about international relations. He said the world should thank Syria for maintaining peace in Lebanon and argued that what he called "Islamic terrorism" was mainly the result of the West's cultural arrogance. But Qadhafi went against the grain, preaching the minority view that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is for the two peoples to live together in a single state. His targets, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, took it lightly, chuckling at his one-hour speech. [The Times]

Wednesday, 23 March, 2005: In its Index of Political Freedom, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) paints a picture of a "strikingly varied" democratic spectrum in the Middle East. The study determines that Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Syria are among the most repressive in the region, followed by Tunisia and the UAE. They regard Israel as the most free and democratic, followed by Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Kuwait, and post-election Iraq. The EIU's work consisted primarily of evaluating 15 indicators of political and civil liberties, including elections, rule of law, and press and religious freedoms. [RFE/RL]
Wednesday, 23 March, 2005: Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi grinned and puffed a cigarette during speeches at the Arab summit Tuesday in what is becoming the maverick Libyan leader's ritual show of disdain for the gathering. As Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali opened the summit with an address at the podium, Qadhafi asked an aide for a cigarette and lit up. At last year's summit in Tunis, Qadhafi pulled the same stunt, smoking a cigarette on the conference floor. Asked later why he did it, he replied, "I am disgusted. It's because of what's going on in reality." On Tuesday, Qadhafi snubbed the Arab League's secretary general, Amr Moussa of Egypt - shaking Ben Ali's hand but then ignoring the nearby Moussa. [CP]
Wednesday, 23 March, 2005: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its annual economic review said: "the [Libyan] authorities" - who included Shukri Ghanem, Finance Secretary Mohammed Ali Al-Huwej, Central Bank governor Menesi, and the ubiquitous Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, according to the IMF's meetings schedule - "agreed with the staff that higher growth rates and diversification... could only be achieved through deregulation, a significant scaling down of the dominant role of the public sector, and the development of the private sector." The reform team wanted the IMF and World Bank to take "leading roles" to help them achieve this. [Menas]
Wednesday, 23 March, 2005: Libya's oil-driven economy needs to reform and diversify, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concludes in its annual economic review. Libya's economy, which remains largely state controlled and heavily dependent on the oil sector, however grew solidly in 2003–04, "reflecting favourable developments in world oil markets," the IMF says. According to statistics revealed in the latest edition of 'IMF Survey', the Fund's internal journal, economic growth has indeed been strong since Libya started opening up to the world. While growth was between 1 and 4.5 percent from 2000 to 2002, it has picked up during the last two years. Real GDP growth in 2003 reached 9.1 percent, while preliminary calculations indicate a growth of 4.4 percent last year. Despite these successes, however, the IMF in its annual economic review holds that the Libyan government needs to reform its economy. [Afrol]
Wednesday, 23 March, 2005: Cyprus Foreign Secretary Sotos Zackheos will pay a two-day visit to Moscow on March 23 - 25 and then will travel to Libya on March 26 and 27. [CNA]
Wednesday, 23 March, 2005: Under the theme "Development of the Railways in the CEN-SAD states", the activities of the rail transportation sector conference - within the community of the Sahal-Saharan States, CEN-SAD- opened in Tripoli, Libya, Monday. [Al-Bawaba]

The New York Sun: A Qadhafi Policy

Tuesday, 22 March, 2005: Amnesty International (AI) has today sent an urgent letter to the European Commissioner for Justice Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini calling for the Commission to break its silence over Italy's forcible return to Libya of people arriving by boat to Lampedusa. AI says Italy's actions are in breach of its obligations under the UN Refugee Convention by not allowing those who may have a valid asylum claim to be properly assessed. [AI]
Tuesday, 22 March, 2005: The Libyan Iron and Steel Company (LISC) achieved a new production of 918.000 tons of long and flat products in 2004 compared to 835 thousand tons in 2003, i.e., up by 18% mainly concentrated in producing reinforcing steel which amounted to 460.000 tons in 2004 compared to 412.000 tons in 2003. LISC ranked third among the largest iron and steel products producing and exporting companies at the Arab level in 2004. [MESteel]
Tuesday, 22 March, 2005: Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) today inked a contract to explore oil in Libya. The contract, signed with Libya's National Oil Company (NOC), follows a successful bid by the Indian firms for Block No 86 in the Sirte basin. [UNI]
Tuesday, 22 March, 2005: Arab leaders arrived Monday in the Algerian capital for a summit meeting that will include a statement of solidarity with Syria and a rejection of any further "foreign intervention" in that country's promised pullout from Lebanon. With great pomp and tight security, more than 13 Arab leaders, including Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Qadhafi of Libya and Iraq's interim president, Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar, arrived Monday to hash out regional issues ranging from institutional change to an Arab-Israeli peace initiative. [The New York Times]
Tuesday, 22 March, 2005: A new Islamic tradition was born in New York Friday when about 150 people said their prayers behind a woman. For a community of more than 1.5 billion people, it was a tiny congregation and yet it was noticed across the world because it challenged the popular notion that only men can lead a mixed Muslim prayer. A professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Amina Wadud has a doctorate in Islam and Arabic, has lived in Libya and studied in Egypt, attended a philosophy course at Cairo's Islamic al-Azhar University and learned "tafsir," or the art of interpreting Koran at the Cairo University. [UPI]

Monday, 21 March, 2005: Even though Libya is still a force in world politics, the ancient but once outcast nation is working its way back on to the world's list of emerging tourist destinations. Libya is still among the nations on the United States government's State Sponsors of Terrorism list but sanctions on travel have been lifted, the country is officially open to regulated travel and cruise ships and organised tour groups are now heading there. That's because Libya has one of the greatest and probably least known treasures, the ancient Roman ruins of Leptis Magna – probably the best preserved and most extensive Roman ruins in the world. [The Advertiser]
Monday, 21 March, 2005: In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that N. Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state. But that is not what U.S. intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction. N. Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride -- which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium -- to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key U.S. ally, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence that N. Korea knew of the second transaction. [Washington Post]
Monday, 21 March, 2005: Egypt has named four Europe-based players for their 2006 World Cup qualifier against Libya on 26 March. The four are among a 24-man squad named by coach Hassan Shehata for the match in Cairo. [BBC]
Monday, 21 March, 2005: The hearing of the two civil claims against the Bulgarian medics in Libya scheduled for Sunday was postponed. As Focus News Agency announced earlier, the South Court in Benghazi was to hear two civil claims filed against those responsible for the AIDS infection in the town. Both claims were filed by families of deceased children. [FNA]
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Sunday, 20 March, 2005: The Libyan government has allocated $1.4 billion for soft loans for housing, Finance Minister Mohammed Ahaweej said Monday. He said the amount placed in commercial banks constituted part of the total sum of $2.4 billion allocated for housing. Libya announced earlier this month the government would be also granting soft loans for small and medium size businesses with an interest of less than 2 percent. [UPI]
Sunday, 20 March, 2005: EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn backed Sofia's attempts to secure the release of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya for deliberate infection of hundreds of children with the AIDS virus. "It is in the heart of the EU, the EC and the Member states to work actively for the case of the Palestinian and the Bulgarians in Libya," he told the Bulgarian parliament during his visit to Sofia related to the country's EU accession. [SNA]
Sunday, 20 March, 2005: Syria's Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara on Friday conveyed to Libyan Leader Qadhafi a message from President Bashar al-Assad. Talks between the two sides dealt with the latest Arab and int'l developments and topics on the agenda of the forthcoming Arab summit due to be held in Algeria this week. Both sides stressed that the summit should come out with decisions that rise up to the current challenges facing the Arab nation. [Arabic News]
Sunday, 20 March, 2005: Nicole Kidman shared an intimate Sydney dinner with the playboy son of Libyan leader Qadhafi. Al-Saadi, 31, wined and dined the Oscar-winning actress, 37, during a private dinner on the top floor of the InterContinental Hotel to discuss the investment potential of the Australian film industry. He had originally planned the ultimate setting for the dinner – hiring the State Suite for $15,000 and filling it with fresh flowers and candles – but opted for the 31st floor lounge instead. Al-Saadi, who is captain of Libya's national soccer team, arrived in Sydney last month with his team for a VIP 12-day sport, trade and night-clubbing extravaganza. His team played several matches, although he did not compete because of a back injury. [E-News]

Saturday, 19 March, 2005: A Saudi official source denied Friday press reports that a mediation between Saudi Arabia and Libya was in progress and has achieved its purpose. "What has been reported by some media and news agencies on mediation between the Kingdom and Libya and that this mediation has achieved its purpose is baseless," the source said, according to SPA. The source added that "what has been proved by documents on the Libyan plot and the relevant investigations will be referred to judiciary and that the facts on it will be announced by the authorities concerned in the Kingdom in due time." Saudi Arabia claims that Libyan intelligence chiefs ordered a covert operation to assassinate the ruler of the kingdom. [Al-Bawaba]
Saturday, 19 March, 2005: Egyptian mediation has led to a breakthrough in ties between Libya and Saudi Arabia, which plunged last year over an alleged Libyan plot to kill the Saudi crown prince, an official said on Friday. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said Egyptian mediation efforts had "realised their goal and some breakthrough has been achieved in the position between Libya and Saudi Arabia," state media reported. Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it was close to concluding an investigation into the alleged plot. [Reuters]
Saturday, 19 March, 2005: The UNHCR expressed concern on the case of 180 illegal immigrants arrived in Lampedusa and promptly sent back to Libya. Ron Redmond, UNHCR spokesman, accused a "lack of transparency" and the risk of "hasty methods" adopted by Italy and Libya, which did not permit to ascertain if some of the immigrants had the right to request political asylum. "It is not clear at all whether Italy adopted the necessary precautions to assure it did not send back refugees in Libya, a country that does not offer guarantees in terms of asylum. The UNHCR is also concerned on information received on Libyan representatives accessing the camp in Lampedusa. "Had there been Libyans wanting to request political asylum, this fact would be contrary to the basic principle of protection of refugees", said the spokesman. [AGI]
Saturday, 19 March, 2005: Double taxation has become a major concern for South Korean companies involved in oil field development in Libya. As it stands, the companies will be forced to pay domestic corporate taxes amounting to an estimated 445 billion won (US$444.11 million) by 2015 in addition to taxes paid separately to Libya. The companies conducting business in Libya are Korea National Oil Corp., Sk Corp., Daesung Industries Co., Majuko Corp. And Seoul City Gas Co. They are participating in developing the so-called "Elephant" oil field in the Murzuq basin of southern Libya. [Asia In Focus]

Friday, 18 March, 2005: The family of Lebanon's missing top Shia Muslim cleric have said Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi offered financial compensation over the cleric's 1978 disappearance on a visit to Libya, but the relatives rejected the money. Al-Qadhafi failed to show up in for a hearing in Beirut on Wednesday, ignoring - to no one's surprise - a summons for questioning in the August 1978 disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr and two companions. Lebanese Shia leaders have blamed al-Qadhafi for the disappearance of al-Sadr and his companions. Despite a widely held belief in Lebanon that they were killed after a dispute with the Libyan leader, the al-Sadr family strongly believes the imam remains in a Libyan jail. [Al-Jazeera]
Friday, 18 March, 2005: New research and analysis from the Arab Advisors Group (AAG) reveals that Libya has the most expensive cellular connection fees in the Arab World and the highest postpaid minute rates. Lebanon has the highest average prepaid minute rates. The UAE lies on the other extreme with the most affordable average minute rates in the region. While Yemen shares the lowest prices with UAE for average postpaid minute rates. AAG has analyzed the cellular rates in 18 Arab countries. These countries have 34 operational cellular operators and 4 licensed ones expected to start soon. In order to allow for comparisons, the report focuses on the average cellular rates of these countries' thirty-four cellular providers. [Mena Report]
Friday, 18 March, 2005: Saudi Arabia is close to concluding an investigation into an alleged Libyan plot to assassinate the kingdom's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah, the interior minister said on Sunday. Last December, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador in Tripoli and expelled the Libyan envoy over what the oil-rich state called an "atrocious" plot in 2003 to kill Prince Abdullah. Tripoli has denied involvement in any such plot. "The facts will be known through investigations and will be announced by the interior ministry and it is close to being completed," the state Saudi Press Agency quoted Interior Minister Prince Nayef as saying. [Reuters]
Friday, 18 March, 2005: Oil prices could fall as much as $7 or $8 a barrel in the weeks ahead, as winter ends and inventories build, Libyan Oil Minister Fathi bin Shatwan said Thursday. "Because of the end of the winter and the second quarter, demand will decrease, and a big part of the demand is being used for stockbuilding by china and others," Shatwan said. "Prices will be in the lower forties." The Libyan minister was referring to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' reference oil price, which is ranging more than $6 under the level of oil futures in New York. The OPEC price Tuesday was $50.21. Shatwan said he'd prefer to see the OPEC price in the middle forties, around $ 42 to $44. [Dow Jones]
U.S. Committee on International Relations : William Burns' Statement

Thursday, 17 March, 2005: The U.S. hopes to drop Libya from its list of terrorism sponsors but "troubling questions remain" on an alleged Libyan plot to kill Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday. Interim Undersecretary of State for political affairs William Burns told lawmakers it may be possible open a U.S. embassy in Tripoli this year, capping the vast improvement in ties since Libya chose to abandon WMDs. The U.S. in September ended the broad U.S. trade embargo on Libya as a reward for its Dec. 2003 decision to stop pursuing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Burns' comments before the House Int'l Relations Committee were the latest sign Washington is also looking to remove Tripoli from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, which imposes limited U.S. sanctions. [Reuters]
Thursday, 17 March, 2005: Some 150 Iranian MPs signed a letter urging their government to use all means to expose the truth behind the 1978 kidnapping of the founder of the Amal movement Imam Moussa Sadr and punish those responsible for his abduction. The letter, which was read Wednesday at the Shura Council, said the MPs' call was motivated by the historic importance of Sadr in preserving Lebanon's unity; unifying Islamic sects ... and laying the bases of dialogue and peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. Sadr was kidnapped on Aug. 31, 1978, during a trip to Libya where he was invited officially by the government. [The Daily Star]

Wednesday, 16 March, 2005: Mohammed al-Mazougi, the Chief Editor of the popular Arab magazine, Al-Thaqafa al-Arabiyya, has resigned in protest against what he termed as "the policies of the Ministry of Culture and its current Secretary, Dr Mahdi Amberesh, towards the magazine in particular and Libyan cultural activities in general." A writer and poet, al-Mazougi holds the ministry responsible for "failing to come up with a mechanism or cultural works." [Khaleej Times]
Wednesday, 16 March, 2005: Libya's Deputy Speaker Ahmed Ibrahim accused the United States Tuesday of distributing forged copies of the Koran to tarnish the image of Islam. During a lecture to the Libyan Students' Union in Tripoli, Ibrahim said the U.S. administration under orders from President Bush "is forging the Koran and distributing the false copies among Americans in order to tarnish the image of Muslims and Islam." He also accused the UN of being the "center of injustice" and the cause of the oppression of people around the world. "The Zionists have ruined America's dream in establishing a peaceful and stable world ... If the Americans do not get rid of Zionist influence they will be endangering their interests and future," Ibrahim added. [UPI]
Wednesday, 16 March, 2005: Algeria and Libya said Tuesday they would oppose a Saudi proposal to increase OPEC production by half a million barrels per day. "There is no need for the time being to increase supplies to the oil market through OPEC," Shatwan said, the Iranian News Agency, IRNA, reported. For his part, the Algerian minister underscored the need to raise supply in crude oil in order to maintain oil price stability in the long run. [UPI]
Wednesday, 16 March, 2005: Brazil's state-owned oil giant, Petrobras, signed a contract with Libya's National Oil Corp. to explore and produce oil and natural gas off the African country's Mediterranean coast. The contract was signed Tuesday in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Petrobras has a 70 percent stake in a consortium that won a bid for exploration and production in a 4,123-square-acre block off the Libyan coast, the company said in a statement. Petrobras will invest at least $21 million during a five-year exploration phase, followed by a 20-year phase of shared production rights with Libya's National Oil Corp. [AP]

Tuesday, 15 March, 2005: Libya's Oil Minister Fathi bin Shatwan said Monday that OPEC was no longer in control of the oil market and he wouldn't support a proposal by Saudi Arabia to lift the group's output ceiling by almost 2%. Shatwan told Dow Jones Newswires he was deeply worried by burgeoning oil and product stockpiles. "We think there is enough supply in the market, he said, ahead of OPEC policy talks in Isfahan, Iran, Wednesday. "Therefore we don't think there's a need to do anything," he added. OPEC now has a proposal from Saudi Arabia on the table to lift its current output ceiling by 500,000 barrels a day to 27.5 million barrels a day. [Dow Jones]
Tuesday, 15 March, 2005: Families of HIV-infected children claim to have "new versions" of hospital records that now show that all the infected children were checked in at the hospital within the dates of employment of the accused, says an American scientist who met in Libya with the defendants in the HIV case and the families of the infected children. Talking to SNA news John Bohannon called the conditions for commuting the medics' death sentence to life sentence, classic market haggling, "as if these were brass pots and pans rather than human lives". [Novinite]
Tuesday, 15 March, 2005: The congress of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) kicked off in Cairo on Monday which is aimed at promoting comprehensive cooperation between the European and Mediterranean partners. According to a draft final communique, member countries will reiterate the importance of the Barcelona Process at the meeting. The EMPA now comprises 35 members, including 25 EU member states and 10 Mediterranean Partners - Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian National Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Libya has obtained observer status since 1999. [Xinhua]
Norwegian Immigration And Nationality Directorate's Report On Libya

Monday, 14 March, 2005: Libya announced Sunday it has issued a law allowing the opening of branches and offices for foreign banks for the first time in the country. According to the new law endorsed by the People's Congress -- parliament -- foreign banks may open branches or offices in Libya with minimum capital of $50 million each. The new law also allows Libyans to establish financial firms with a minimum paid capital of $10 million. Economic sources said the law is designed to "consolidate Libya's cooperation with the rest of the world and to encourage foreign investments." Libya reportedly wants to double its per capita income within 20 years. [UPI]
Monday, 14 March, 2005: Libyan coach Mohamed El Khemisy has named a squad of 22 for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Egypt. Striker Ahmed El Masli is back in the frame after being sidelined by injury for more than a year. "I'm very fit and I've started to score goals again," a confident El Masli said. "I'll prove to the Egyptians that their decision not to sign me was wrong." El Khemisy has overlooked Al Saadi al-Qadhafi despite the fact that the son of the Libyan leader joined the team in a two-match tour of Australia last month. But influential skipper Tarek El Taib is expected to lead the Libyans into battle against the Pharoahs in Cairo on 27 March. [BBC]
Monday, 14 March, 2005: Illegal immigrants also have certain rights, Ghana's Minister for the Interior, Papa Owusu Ankoma, insists. He in particular refers to thousands of Ghanaians living abroad illegally, saying that Accra authorities would increase their efforts to secure their human rights situation. Most complaints had come from Ghanaians in Libya. Most complaints had been received from Ghanaians expelled from Libya. Mr Ankoma indicated that some 6,000 Ghanaians were deported from Libya last year, and an additional 14,000 were expected this year. Libya has recently become known for its inhumane treatment of illegal immigrants. [AFROL]

Sunday, 13 March, 2005: Saudi Arabia has concluded that a Libyan plot to assassinate the kingdom's de facto ruler in late 2003 was cloaked to look like an al Qaeda-inspired domestic revolt and was broken up only days before it was to have been carried out. This month, a religious judge in Riyadh is tentatively scheduled to put 13 suspects on trial who have been in Saudi custody since the plot was uncovered in November 2003, Saudi officials said. The defendants are eight Saudis and five Libyans, including four Libyan intelligence agents, according to Saudi investigative documents reviewed by The Washington Post. The Libyans were caught delivering more than $1 million in cash at a hotel in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to Saudi dissidents hired to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah, who has ruled the kingdom since 1996. [Washington Post]
Sunday, 13 March, 2005: Authorities in South Africa have detained a German businessman linked to a conspiracy to smuggle nuclear technology to Libya, according to a report Saturday. Gerhard Wisser, is suspected of having worked for Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan and of allegedly giving the go-ahead for construction in South Africa of nuclear components for Libya’s atomic weapons programme, said the report in Der Spiegel magazine. After Libya acknowledged in late 2003 that it had a nuclear programme, Wisser allegedly sent a mobile phone text message to a business partner saying: "They've thrown us to the dogs." [Khaleej Times]
Sunday, 13 March, 2005: The British Labour party has secretly rejected a £500,000 gift because of concerns about the donation from a lobbyist with a colourful client list. Party bosses initially decided in January to accept the money from Anthony Bailey, whose clients include members of the Saudi royal family; BAE Systems and businesses owned by Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born industrialist with legal problems in France. According to his company website, Bailey has also acted for exiled royals from Libya, Ethiopia and Greece. [The Sunday Times]
Sunday, 13 March, 2005: An agreement for the exploration and production of Ghadames block (Libya) was signed Saturday in Algiers between Algeria's Sonatrach International Production and Exploration Corporation (SIPEX) and the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC). [APS]
Sunday, 13 March, 2005: Canada's Verenex Energy Inc. and its partner have signed an oil exploration and production-sharing deal with Libya's national oil company. The Calgary junior company said Saturday the deal covers a 6,182 square-kilometer area in the Ghadames basin in northwest Libya. The agreement gives Verenex, as operator with a 50 per cent interest, and its 50 per cent partner PT Medco Energi Internasional the right to explore for oil and gas for five years and to commercialize any discoveries over a subsequent 25-year period. The company said work is underway to begin geological tests in expectation of first drilling in 2006. [CP]
Sunday, 13 March, 2005: A Technical Centre for Information Technology, was inaugurated in Serte, Libya, on Saturday. The Centre is designed to provide all sectors and institutions of the Serte shabiya (municipality) with information technology as well as organizing training courses for the staff. The Centre comprises three systems; Satellite accessed Internet, consisting of a set of equipment with high specifications; media system through which links, and files are saved and undergone technical production; satellite channels reception system, to make use of scientific and educational programmes broadcast by these channels. [JANA]
Sunday, 13 March, 2005: A Forum for Preachers, Imams, Holy Quran teachers and Sheiks of Sufi centres started today in Subrata -Surman Shabiya. A number of lectures related to the message of the mosque and effects of extremism, exaggerations, how to be confronted, and the role of mosques in countering intellectual invasion and cultural alienation were presented. [JANA]
Sunday, 13 March, 2005: Libyan Dinar (LYD) per: US$ 1.2995, Euro 1.74978, Pound Sterling 2.50349, Japanese Yen 80.09234, Swiss Franc 1.1301, Year: High 1.31998, Low 1.2055. [Forex]

Saturday, 12 March, 2005: Officials of the European Union this week called for the immediate release of six medical workers imprisoned in Libya for allegedly infecting more than 400 children with HIV. The five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor have been in custody in Benghazi since 1999. The EU is "waiting for a gesture" from Libya, said Luxembourg immigration minister Nicolas Schmit. Franco Frattini, the EU's top justice official, said the case "brings a shadow" on Libya and that the death sentences were "delivered on grounds that were unclear to us." [AP]
Saturday, 12 March, 2005: The captors of Roberto Tarongoy have released a video of their Filipino hostage which was aired by the Al-Jazeera Arab television network ... It was not known whether President Arroyo will again be tapping Libya for the ransom money, although the source pointed out it is likely for her to seek the help of Saudi Arabia in raising the funds. [Daily Inquirer]

Friday, 11 March, 2005: Libya bitterly criticised UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday for suggesting that an international force be sent to Darfur. "Through his statement, Annan gives the expression of trying to undermine the African efforts intended to settle the Darfur crisis," the Libyan Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement. "They are also prejudicial to efforts by Nigerian President and AU Chair Olusegun Obasanjo, and those of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi who were entrusted with the issue by the five African-country (Nigeria, Egypt, Chad, Libya and Sudan) summit and the AU Commission," the statement observed. [PANA]
Friday, 11 March, 2005: Libya and Austria held talks Tuesday to enhance cooperation between the two countries. Economic figures from both countries met in Tripoli to discuss horizons of bilateral cooperation and joint investment in several economical cooperation fields. The Chairman of the General Union of chambers of commerce, industry and agriculture in Libya and Director of the Austrian trade bureau at the Austrian embassy in Libya, stressed the importance of such meetings to promote the bilateral cooperation in various fields. [LJBC]

Thursday, 10 March, 2005: In Malta, a Libyan man was yesterday jailed for 22 years and fined Lm20,000 after jurors found him guilty of conspiring to deal in drugs. Two other men, also from Libya, were cleared of the same charge. After deliberating for over 10 hours, jurors returned an 8-1 guilty verdict finding 24-year-old Salem Suleiman Shoaib Rida guilty of conspiring to deal in cannabis resin and the possession of the drugs in circumstances denoting it was not for his personal use in 2002. They unanimously found him guilty of the possession of cocaine. Rida's cousin, Mohammed El Gamoudi Nabel, 27, was acquitted. The third man, Saber Elkekli (photo), 25, was unanimously cleared of both charges. [Times Of Malta]
Thursday, 10 March, 2005: A Butler County woman who was detained for three months in Libya in 1987 yesterday received the go-ahead from a federal judge to pursue a lawsuit against the Libyan government. U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina rejected Libya's motion that he dismiss the suit brought by Simpson and the estate of her late husband, Dr. Mostafa Karim. Simpson and Karim were among five passengers on the Carin II, a pleasure craft reputedly once owned by Nazi leader Hermann Goering that was traveling from France to Egypt on Feb. 10, 1987, when it encountered rough weather and sent a distress signal. The craft was taken to the Libyan port of Benghazi for repairs, and the passengers were picked up by a patrol boat. [Post Gazette]
Thursday, 10 March, 2005: A Libyan official said yesterday that his government would transfer more than 46,000 employees from the administrative machinery to other production areas. Addressing a meeting held to study the number of labour issues in Libya, Minister of Workforce Mohammed Matooq said that there are more than 862,000 employees on the payroll of the administrative machinery. Matooq called for the need to solve this problem of surplus employees. He referred in this context to the education sector, which alone takes in 462,000 employees, and constitutes half the total of employees in the country. [Khaleej Times]

Wednesday, 9 March, 2005: The families of three Cameroonian victims of the UTA DC-10 explosion over the Tenere desert in Niger have taken Libya to court seeking damages amounting to about 190.2 million CFA francs, "Le Messager" daily reported Monday. The first hearing of the case at the Yaounde court [Cameroon] will be on 25 May. Libya has paid millions of dollars to mainly French families of victims of the UTA explosion on 19 September 1989 over Niger, in which 170 people died. But since the payment last year, the families of the Cameroonian victims have been struggling to get the benefits for their kith and kin killed in the explosion. [Angop]
Wednesday, 9 March, 2005: Malta's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Tonio Borg, said that Malta is ready and willing to participate in Libya's change. While addressing a conference titled: "Succeeding in a changing Libya", he stated that Malta, as a close friend of Libya, supports the latter's closer cooperation with the EU. Dr Borg said that Malta also supports Libya's application for membership within the World Trade Organisation as this would be a milestone in Libya's change process, further integrating it internationally. [Di-Ve]

Tuesday, 8 March, 2005: South African Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Jacob Zuma is leading a delegation on an official visit to Libya from Tuesday until Thursday. Transport Minister Jeff Radebe and Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Ngcuka and a business delegation will accompany him. Briefing the media in Pretoria today, Mr Pahad said the current level of trade between the two countries was unacceptable particularly since feasible conditions existed in Libya following the lifting of sanctions by the UN, the US and the European Union. [BuaNews]
Tuesday, 8 March, 2005: The Bush administration's secret program transferring scores of suspected terrorists to foreign countries to be imprisoned and interrogated has been carried out by the CIA under broad authority to act without case-by-case approval, according to current and former government officials ... The CIA has been accused of secretly using a jet to ferry terror suspects for interrogation to countries known to use torture, according to a CBS report aired late on Sunday. It said the plane had made at least 600 flights to 40 countries, all after the Sept. 11 attacks, including 30 trips to Jordan, 19 to Afghanistan, 17 to Morocco and 16 to Iraq. The plane also went to Egypt, Libya and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to the report. [AFP]
Tuesday, 8 March, 2005: A Libyan newspaper cites Bulgarian Ministry of Economy's sources as saying that the Ministry has held talks with foreign energy companies on oil drillings in the Libyan desert, reads the online edition of the Green newspaper. The newspaper cites the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy as stating that the country has won two tenders for such projects and that more than 15 foreign companies are interested in joining them. [FIA]

Monday, 7 March, 2005: An Islamic insurgency group believed supported by Iran has been deemed a major threat to U.S. cooperation with Libya. U.S. officials said the State Department and intelligence community have warned of the prospect of attacks by an Islamic insurgency group in 2005. They said the group could be planning attacks against U.S. interests or Americans in Libya as well as the regime of Col. Qadhafi in an effort to prevent a reconciliation between Tripoli and Washington. In December 2004, the U.S. designated the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group a foreign terrorist organization. The organization was deemed as being opposed to both the U.S. as well as the Qadhafi regime and has organized Al-Qaida strikes in North Africa. [MENL]
Monday, 7 March, 2005: U.S. says it has solid evidence of a nuclear black market. The Bush administration can "scientifically prove" Libya acquired North Korean uranium through the nuclear black market that a Pakistani scientist helped set up. Japanese officials were informed of this in January by Michael Green, senior director for Asia on the White House National Security Council, sources said. They said he passed along the U.S. intelligence to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda and high-ranking Foreign Ministry officials. Green, according to the sources, said the U.S. can show that North Korean uranium was transported to Libya via the nuclear black market that Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan helped establish. [Asahi]

Sunday, 6 March, 2005: Ahmed Ibrahim, Assistant Secretary of the People's Congress has said that "those who think or dream of sabotaging the people's socialist system in Libya should give up, because the system has been working for the past 28 years." The remark, which was the first direct attack on the Prime Minister, Shukri Ghanim, by the second strongest man in parliament, followed a statement by the premier during the last congress, demanding the parliament to give him the power to form a new government from his own handpicked elements. [Khaleej Times]
Sunday, 6 March, 2005: The int'l legal expert charged with training Iraq's next generation of lawyers and judges has revealed that his efforts are being severely hampered by the UK's increasingly controversial stance on human rights. Alan Miller, part of the Int'l Bar Association training team, claims that the UK government's Prevention of Terrorism Bill has sparked outrage by undermining the same civil liberties it is determined to impose in the Middle East. "[the trainees] ask how likely it is that regimes like Libya are going to stop detaining political prisoners when the so-called shining lights have just effectively endorsed the practice". [AP]

Saturday, 5 March, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Wednesday stressed that Libya is effectively taking part in fighting what he called world terrorism and organized crime. He said that "any country not active in this regard will be damaging for the international community and does not win its respect." He said that Libya has no more hostility with any country of the world after it had solved its problems with the United States and Europe. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 5 March, 2005: The Ambassador of Libya to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Ayad Shawish, on Thursday visited "Klas" company . The reason for his visit to "Klas" is the beginning of cooperation between this company and a Libyan company, which should receive of delivery of 5.000 tons of flour. Realization of the contract began with the February delivery of 1.000 tons of flour, and in mid March another 2.000 tons of flour will be delivered to Libya. [FENA]
Saturday, 5 March, 2005: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria appeared isolated last night after two key allies - Saudi Arabia, once a vital financier of Damascus, and Russia, its main armourer - bluntly told him to withdraw his troops from Lebanon. "The Syrians are finding it increasingly difficult to find support from their traditional Arab backers," said one Gulf source, "Not even Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is their friend any more." [The Telegraph]

Marking The 40th Day Of Dr. Abdelrahim Saleh's Death

Friday, 4 March, 2005: Rami Cahaloun, from the office of the World Organization of Libyan Jews, will be traveling with a delegation of some 15-20 Libyan-Israelis to Tripoli, he told The Jerusalem Post. It will be the first time Israeli citizens have set foot on Libyan soil. Some of them were born in Libya and others were born in Israel to Libyan parents who immigrated. On Monday, another Libyan-Israeli leader told the Post of a secret visit to Israel by a Libyan official. "I know for a fact that someone is in Israel now to prepare for something diplomatic," he said. The visit appears to be to prepare the Israelis' visit to Tripoli. His statement came one day after Ahmed Qadhaf al-Dam (photo), Libyan President Qadhafi's special envoy, visited Syrian President Assad in Damascus. [Jerusalem Post]

The Committee For Libyan National Activities : Demonstration In London

Thursday, 3 March, 2005: Speaking yesterday on the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Libyan Jamahiriyah (popular republic), Libyan leader Qadhafi warned Libyans against supporting Iraqi insurgents fighting the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad. "You have to pay attention to this and be aware of the danger. Those who would fight in Iraq, might return home with fanatical ideas and kill their parents and others for their different views," he said. [Reuters]
Thursday, 3 March, 2005: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has urged Libyans to let "freedoms blossom" but made no mention of democratic goals like political parties that the U.S. wants to promote in the Middle East. Qadhafi branded the U.S., Britain and Italy as dictatorships and invited them to learn "genuine democracy" in Libya. Qadhafi was speaking on Wednesday on the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Jamahiriyah (popular republic). "You have to let freedoms blossom. People must have the full freedom to chose useful and fruitful work, the full freedom to learn and carry out scientific search and the freedom of faith," said Qadhafi, who came to power in a 1969 military coup, in a speech broadcast live on Libyan television. [Reuters]
Thursday, 3 March, 2005: Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Wednesday he wants Libya and the United States to be friends, but the one-time international pariah slammed the United Nations Security Council for being controlled by a select group of countries. In a wide-ranging address to the annual meeting of Libya's parliament-like General's People Congress, Gadhafi also warned Libyans not to support foreign extremists and to stand strong in the face of terrorism. "We don't say love the Americans. We are talking policies, and (on that level) there is no problem or animosity" between both countries, Qadhafi, wearing a white robe, told hundreds of often-cheering Congress members during an address televised live and monitored in Egypt. [AP]
Thursday, 3 March, 2005: Four Libyan nationals, Mohammed Ali Aboktif, 32, Abdulaziz Elgrari, 23, Khayris Abugdidi, 27, and a 17 year-old, who stand accused of detaining and raping a Russian woman, were granted bail on Tuesday. The men are accused of detaining a 22 year-old Russian woman, threatening her with a knife and trying to rape her. Police intervention in the woman's apartment, stopped the Libyans from raping her. The accident took place in Ball Street, Paceville, Malta, on the night between Feb. 27 and Feb. 28. The men were granted bail against a personal guarantee of Lm 100 and Lm 400 deposit to Ali Aboktif, a Lm 50 personal guarantee and a Lm 200 deposit to Elgrari and Abugdidi and a personal guarantee of Lm 100 for the teenager. [Di-Ve]

Wednesday, 2 March, 2005: Malta and Libya agreed to set up a joint paper aimed at pushing to hold an int'l conference on illegal immigration in the Mediterranean, in which the participating states will be those from where illegal immigrants originate, as well as states of transit and states receiving such immigrants. The Conference will therefore tackle the problem of human trafficking in a holistic manner seeking the participation of all State stakeholders in this issue. [MM]
Wednesday, 2 March, 2005: Norway's Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik expressed Tuesday solidarity with Bulgaria's efforts to free five Bulgarian nurses Libya has sentenced to death on charges of causing an AIDS outbreak. Bondevik also pledged his country would work with the European Union to help Libya cope with its AIDS epidemic problem. [BNN]
Wednesday, 2 March, 2005: The Bush administration is pressing wealthy Arab nations to dig deeper to help the new Palestinian government succeed, and to follow through on past financial pledges that have gone unmet. Only Saudi Arabia has fully met its pledges. Libya owes $148 million, and Kuwait owes $140 million. Iraq owes $132 million and Egypt $105 million. [AP]

LLHR : Libya: Absence Of Pluralism ... Continuous Violation Of Human Rights

Tuesday, 1 March, 2005: The United States rebuked Saudi Arabia and other Middle East allies for their human rights records in an early test of President Bush's vow to root out tyranny among friend and foe. The criticism was contained in the State Department's report on human rights progress in 2004. The annual report echoed familiar US criticism of states such as Iran, Syria and Yemen, chided Israel more mildly over its dealings with the Palestinians and blamed most of Iraq's problems on its insurgency. Despite Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's effort to turn a new leaf and renounce WMDs, the report accused Tripoli of "numerous, serious abuses." [AFP]
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005: Libya denied Monday Israeli press reports its intelligence chief, Gen. Mousa Kousa, visited Israel last week. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna Shawesh told reporters in Tripoli the reports are the "work of imagination." An Israeli Web site reported Kousa made a secret visit to Israel last week during which he met Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. [UPI]
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005: This year's U.S. State Department report on global human rights practices echoed President Bush's agenda of spreading democracy worldwide. "The U.S. will work globally to promote democracy," said Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary of State who released the report. Noting elections in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, she said if democracies can thrive in some Muslim countries there was no reason for it not to flourish in all. "If freedom and democracy work in Muslim nations like Indonesia, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq, why should they not be the norm in Iran, Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia?" she asked. [UPI]
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005: The Maltese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Michel Frendo arrived in Serte International Airport on Sunday in a visit to Libya. [Al-Bawaba]
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005: African leaders are working to set a date for a new summit in Egypt, sponsored by the African Union, to try again to solve the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, the Egyptian president's office said Monday. The leaders of Sudan, neighbouring Egypt, Chad and Libya, as well as Nigeria - which chairs the African Union - are due to take part. [AFP]

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