News and Views [ March 2002 ]

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Sunday, 31 March, 2002: European nations demanded on Saturday that Israel immediately comply with a U.N. Security Council resolution and end its siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's compound. From Moscow to Paris, European governments also warned Israel that it can not disregard Arafat. Burning American and Israeli flags, tens of thousands of protesters took to streets in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen on Saturday. Smaller anti-Israeli demonstrations were held in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Syria and Kuwait. [AP]
Sunday, 31 March, 2002: Libya wants to host the 2010 World Cup finals, the son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi told an Italian newspaper. "We are following an objective -- to bring to Libya the 2010 World Cup finals," al-Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo) was quoted as saying in the Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport. "We have handed over the first dossier to FIFA and we intend to construct the most beautiful stadiums in the world," said al-Saadi. "We do not have any diseases here, unlike in other African states, and security is of the highest level," he said. [Reuters]
Sunday, 31 March, 2002: Egypt and Libya have signed six agreements for cooperation in the media sector, including setting up a Libyan satellite TV channel on Nile Sat, training cooperation between Egyptian Radio and Television and its Libyan counterparts, exchange of programs and posting reporters and media offices in both countries. [The Egyptian Gazette]

Saturday, 30 March, 2002: Arabs across the Middle East condemned the Israeli attack on Yasser Arafat's headquarters Friday, saying the Jewish state prefers aggression to peace. Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, whose Mideast peace plan was endorsed by an Arab summit, said Israel's attack "put a dampener on the (peace) initiative, but the initiative will go ahead in spite of" it. "[Ariel] Sharon has lost everything - (he has) no reason, no humanity, no morals. But his day will come," the crown prince said. Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Crown Prince Abdullah and Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi held telephone conversations with Arafat on Friday. [AP]
Saturday, 30 March, 2002: Foreign ministers from Islamic nations will meet in Malaysia next week to try to define terrorism and discuss ways to dispel false perceptions that Islam and acts of terror go hand-in-hand. Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told The Associated Press that the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition could break apart if the only terrorists targeted are Muslims. Countries that the U.S. has linked to terrorism in the past - including Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Libya - will attend, as will key U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan. [AP]
A New Libyan Site: Libyan Music

Friday, 29 March, 2002: Libya's 330,000 tonnes per year Ras Lanuf ethylene cracker will be shut for at least another week after a fire that shut down the entire oil-to-petchems complex on March 19, petchem traders said on Thursday. The 220,000 barrels-per-day refinery at Ras Lanuf has been back up since last Saturday, four days after the wholesale shutdown caused by a fire in an ethylene storage tank. The Ras Lanuf ethylene cracker, which is fed principally by naphtha from the adjacent refinery, remains shut, however. "All the (petchem) storage tanks will be emptied by this weekend and we've already loaded two ethylene cargoes out of the plant," a European petrochemical trader told Reuters. [Reuters]

Thursday, 28 March, 2002: Fearing that an Arab summit may pave the way for normal ties with Israel, thousands across the Arab world demonstrated Wednesday, with some calling for fighting, rather than offering peace, with the Jewish state. In Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Libya, ordinary Arabs expressed support for the Palestinian uprising and denounced Israel and the U.S., widely seen in the region as biased in favor of Israel. They also expressed solidarity with Iraq as speculations mount that it might become a target of a U.S. attack. [AP]
Thursday, 28 March, 2002: Shiite leaders on Tuesday stressed the need for the Arab summit to discuss the issue of Imam Sadr, who disappeared in Libya in 1978. Speaker Nabih Berri, Higher Shiite Council Vice-President Qabalan, Hizbullah Secretary-General Nasrallah and Amal Vice-President Ayoub Humayed attended a meeting in Berri's residence in Ain al-Tineh on Monday night to discuss the issue. Amal's politburo urged Arab leaders to remember that Sadr was still a hostage in Libya and called upon them to bring the imam back home. [The Daily Star]
Thursday, 28 March, 2002: UK researchers are reporting what they believe to be the first four cases of type 2 diabetes in white children in Britain. The condition, formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, has previously only been seen in UK children belonging to ethnic groups at increased risk of developing diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has also been reported in children in the US, Japan, Libya, Bangladesh, Australia and Canada. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body loses its ability to respond to the effects of insulin, a hormone that helps the body to use sugar as fuel. [Reuters]
Thursday, 28 March, 2002: Jordan's King Abdullah II on Wednesday became the third key Arab leader to skip a summit, further undermining the momentum behind a Saudi proposal offering Israel pan-Arab acceptance in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from Arab lands. Top leaders of more than half of the 22 Arab League members were not expected at the summit. In addition to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Sudan and Mauritania all were to be represented at a lower level. [AP]

Wednesday, 27 March, 2002: The Commons' longest-serving MP has told the House that the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is innocent. Labour's Tam Dalyell called on the British Government to examine the case following claims that vital documents had gone missing in the investigation, reports the Press Association news agency. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi this month lost his appeal at a Scottish court. Mr Dalyell, using Parliamentary privilege in a Commons debate, questioned Megrahi's conviction: "This Easter, an innocent man, innocent of the monstrous crime he was found guilty of committing, languishes in Barlinnie prison in Glasgow." [IRNA]
Wednesday, 27 March, 2002: A charismatic religious leader missing for 24 years is likely to keep Libya's unpredictable Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi from enlivening this week's Arab summit in Beirut. Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslims hold the Libyan leader responsible for the disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr, founder of the Amal movement, and two of his aides during a 1978 visit to Libya. The Shi'ites threatened unspecified action if Qadhafi showed up for the summit, so Libya said the venue should be switched away from the Lebanese capital on security grounds. Qadhafi has indicated that he will not attend the summit for reasons not linked to security. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 27 March, 2002: Billionaire Saudi businessman Prince Al-Walid bin Talal has signed a contract with Libya to establish a jointly-owned hotel group, a Libyan source said Tuesday. Prince Walid will own a 60 percent share of the company. Libyan Arabian Foreign Investments Co. (LAFICO) will hold 25 percent and the region of Tripoli the remaining 15 percent. During his brief stay in Tripoli on Monday, Prince Walid oversaw the start of construction on a five-star hotel in the Libyan capital at an estimated cost of 40 million dollars. [AFP]
Wednesday, 27 March, 2002: A German lawyer was fined 180,000 euros ($158,000) Tuesday for breaching sanctions in helping a Libyan-owned firm illegally gain access to its bank account in the mid-1990s. The Stuttgart state court found the man guilty of abetting the violation of export laws after a one-day hearing. Prosecutors accused the lawyer, Andreas Obermeyer, of covering up the true ownership of the company, which made vehicles used in the construction business. The firm, which wasn't identified, was based in Backnang, near Stuttgart, and went bankrupt in 1996. At the time, a state-owned Libyan company held a 94 percent stake. [AP]
Wednesday, 27 March, 2002: Chinese President Jiang Zemin will make state visits to Iran and Libya as well as Germany during a five-country tour in April, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. Jiang would also stop in Nigeria and Tunisia during the trip from April 8-22, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a news conference. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 27 March, 2002: Libya has expressed its support for a solution to the Cyprus issue based on the relevant U.N. resolutions. This position was expressed by Libya's Foreign Minister Abdul-Rahman Shalgam. The Libyan official on Monday had meeting in Tripoli with Cyprus' parliament President Demitris Christofias, who is in Libya for a three-day official visit. [Xinhua]

Tuesday, 26 March, 2002: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi confirmed that he would not attend the upcoming Arab summit. Qadhafi told the Qatari-based satellite television Al-Jazeera that his refusal to travel to Beirut for the two-day summit was not motivated by a feud with Lebanon's Shiites but by the failure of the previous summit in Amman to implement its resolutions. "If the summit does not respect its resolutions, then I will not attend it," he said. [Al-Bawaba]
Tuesday, 26 March, 2002: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Israel should be replaced by a democracy called "Isratine" where unarmed Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace. "If the Jews want peace they should accept to live in peace and drop arms with their Palestinian brethren," Qadhafi said in a televised interview with al-Jazeera satellite television. Qadhafi said it was "impossible" to create an independent Palestinian state along with Israel because "the Israelis would not accept to live within (the range) of Palestinian guns". [Reuters]
Tuesday, 26 March, 2002: A Lockerbie MP is to meet British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to demand a Government-backed inquiry into the Pan Am air disaster. MP Russell Brown said judges who convicted Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi of destroying the aircraft, looked only at his guilt or innocence and left many questions unanswered. Mr Brown said: "In talks I have had with the relatives of victims, it is clear that they don't want sympathy, they want answers. "It is clear that al-Megrahi did not act alone and like so many terrorist activities, it has to be recognised that governments often lie behind the acts perpetrated." He added that a Government-led inquiry could still take place, despite being ruled out by the Tories when they were in power. [Sky News]
Tuesday, 26 March, 2002: Saudi Arabia's acting foreign minister prince Turkey Muhammad Bin Saud, who is also the special envoy for the Saudi crown prince Abdullah left Tripoli following a visit to Libya during which he handed over a message from the Saudi crown prince to Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. In a press statement, the Saudi official underlined the importance of this visit and expressed his satisfaction over its results. [Arabic News]

Monday, 25 March, 2002: The Libyan convicted of Scotlandís biggest mass murder has spent his first week in Barlinnie jail cooking traditional Arab meals for himself and his guards. Staff at Scotlandís toughest jail are providing special ingredients for Abdelbaset al-Megrahiís culinary efforts. Security concerns mean al-Megrahi (photo) cannot sit with other prisoners, and it is not considered safe even for food prepared in the prisonís kitchens to be sent to his cell complex. Instead, the 49-year-old is allowed to prepare and cook his own choice of food in a tiny kitchen area in his cell. [The Scotsman]
Monday, 25 March, 2002: The question of who will succeed Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is a taboo subject in Tripoli. But one name cropping up increasingly is Seif al Islam (photo), Qadhafi's second son. "Seif is becoming a rising star and he is forcing diplomats, oilmen and other trade middlemen to pay attention to his role and views," said a Tripoli-based diplomat. "Obviously, I would be lying if I told you there was no chance I might become leader one day," Seif told one French journalist earlier this month. But in another interview he dismissed the possibility of his father being replaced by one of his four sons in a Syrian-style hereditary succession. "The regime in Libya is not hereditary and what happened in Syria will not happen in Libya," Seif told Asharq al-Awsat. [Reuters]
Monday, 25 March, 2002: Libya plans to bid for the 2010 World Cup and 2006 African Cup of Nations and is seeking support from other regional soccer federations. The Libyan soccer federation said Sunday a committee has been set up to prepare for the tournaments. Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi, president of the Libyan soccer federation and son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, said recently that Libya would not support the attempt by Cameroon's Issa Hayatou to become FIFA president unless the African Soccer Confederation supports Libya's bid for the African Cup. [AP]
Monday, 25 March, 2002: Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said Saturday that he will warmly welcome the attendance by Libyan leader Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi at the upcoming 14th Arab summit, due to be held on March 27-28 in the Lebanese capital. Lahoud said that the participation in the summit by Qadhafi is of great importance for a successful convention of the annual but highly spectacular conference. Qadhafi said in a letter delivered by Libyan diplomatic officials in Beirut to Lahoud that he will go to Beirut to participate in the summit. [Xinhua]
Monday, 25 March, 2002: Arab foreign ministers continued to arrive in Beirut Sunday to prepare for this week's Arab summit, with all hopes pinned on a ground-breaking Saudi proposal for Mideast peace. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Riyadh had finished drafting the Middle East peace initiative to be presented to the two-day summit. Ministers from Syria, Jordan, Libya and the Palestinian Authority have arrived in Beirut in the last two days. [AFP]

Sunday, 24 March, 2002: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi could take part in the March 27-28 Arab summit in Beirut after a personal appeal for his attendance by Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, a diplomat said Saturday. Qadhafi was "touched" by Lahoud's appeal by telephone on Wednesday and "could create a surprise by going to Beirut," he said. Qadhafi has maintained he would not attend the Beirut summit, sending in his place a high-ranking delegation. [AFP]
Sunday, 24 March, 2002: The Libyan city of Benghazi, 1,050 km east of Tripoli, is hosting a conference on "the Arab child at the dawn of the 21st Century." The meeting, organised by the National Federation of Arab writers in collaboration with the Libyan National Council on Culture, is focusing on cultural aspects of the education of the Arab child and child protection. [PANA]
Sunday, 24 March, 2002: Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi is backing Liberia's Sepp Blatter's bid to hold onto the FIFA presidency according to Liberian Football Association president Edwin Snowe. An "expensive" tour of nations is being lined up by Blatter to boost his re-election hopes, and Snowe added: "We'd like to use commercial flights but I think that's impossible so it is going to have to be a private jet and it will be very expensive." [Sporting Life]

The Arab Commission For Human Rights : "The Peopleís Court"
And Hostility Against The Right Of Political Organization In Libya

Saturday, 23 March, 2002: Libya strongly condemned British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon's comments about the country's readiness to use nuclear weapons against so-called "rogue states." "Libya condemns the comments of the British minister ... which represent a clear threat of targeting certain countries with nuclear arms," senior foreign ministry official Hassuna al-Shaoush (photo) told AFP. "We cannot be silent faced with this threat," he said, labelling it "a sterile attempt to frighten" Libya. The official stressed that Libya had signed several international accords against the development of weapons of mass destruction and called for "a balanced dialogue" between Libya and Britain. [AFP]
Saturday, 23 March, 2002: A housekeeper who claimed she was viciously raped in Libya by a relative of [President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (photo)] has been granted refugee status in Canada. An Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), in a decision released yesterday, said the woman had a well-founded fear of persecution if she was returned to Libya. The board said the woman was threatened and harassed by a cousin of the Libyan strongman after she was repeatedly raped last year in the man's luxurious Tripoli mansion. The IRB said the woman fled to Canada after family members were intimidated and threatened by Qadhafi's cousin and his bodyguards. "Her father feared reprisals and closed his shop," board members said. "Her brother was unable to find work." [The Toronto Sun]
Saturday, 23 March, 2002: The Confederation of African Football (CAF) says three more countries are bidding to host the 2006 African Cup of Nations. The CAF headquarters in Cairo has received from Ivory Coast, Libya and Namibia. They join four other countries, Algeria, Egypt, Gabon and South Africa that have already lodged papers with the organisation. The 2006 tournament will, for the first time, be used to select the five teams that represent Africa at the World Cup. The four semi-finalists, and the next best-placed team, will qualify. [This Day]
Friday, 22 March, 2002: A fire that broke out in an ethylene tank inside a Libyan oil refinery is under control, an official at Libya's National Oil Corporation said on Thursday. "Chemicals in the tank have been emptied and the fire, which did not spread to other units, is under full control," the official told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Tripoli. The blaze began Tuesday at the Ras Lanouf petrochemical complex, 600 kilometers east of the capital Tripoli. [AP]
Friday, 22 March, 2002: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's honorary doctorate degree award is unlikely to be the highlight at the April 5 graduation ceremony, after Uganda's Makerere University senate this week remained undecided on the proposal. Vice-Chancellor Prof. John Ssebuwufu is said to have written "a status report" to Chancellor Yoweri Museveni, informing him about the impasse. Qadhafi was nominated for the award by State House. [New Vision]
Thursday, 21 March, 2002: A fire that engulfed one of Libya's largest oil refineries no longer posed a threat, the chief of the emergency operation said. "The fire does not constitute a danger to the complex or to individuals and it will be fully controlled this (Wednesday) evening," Izz el-Din el-Hamyuni told The Associated Press. The blaze broke out Tuesday in the refinery in Ras Lanouf, 600 kilometers east of the capital Tripoli. Loading and export operations of oil and gas were not interrupted, but other units in the complex were closed for safety reasons. [AP]
Thursday, 21 March, 2002: The UK is willing to use nuclear weapons if circumstances demanded, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has told MPs. Mr Hoon said that the UK could potentially be accurately targeted by a ballistic missile fired from the Middle East within the "next few years". He said there was a prospect that some "states of concern" - such as Iraq or Libya - "might be capable of targeting the UK" within a few years. [This Is London]

Libya Watch: Libyans Demonstrating in London (in pictures)

Wednesday, 20 March, 2002: One of Libya's largest oil refineries was engulfed in flames Tuesday after an ethylene tank in its petrochemical unit caught fire, the official Libyan news agency JANA said. There were no injuries, it added. The refinery is in Ras Lanouf, 600 kilometers east of the capital Tripoli. Quoting an official at the state-owned Libyan National Petroleum Company, JANA said no one was injured as a result of the fire, which was still raging hours after it broke out, according to Omran Al-Fiqi of the joint Italian-Libyan company Agip-Gas. [AP]
Wednesday, 20 March, 2002: The Libyan government has called for "friendship organisations" to be established between Scotland and Libya to foster relations between the two countries and draw a line under the Lockerbie affair following Abdebaset al-Megrahi's failure to overturn his murder conviction. Hassouna al-Shawesh, foreign ministry spokesman, said he wanted to build "bridges of friendship". However, he offered no concessions on compensation for victims' families and said al-Megrahi's legal team was considering appealing to the Privy Council, the European Court of Human Rights, or the Criminal Cases Review Commission. [The Herald]
Wednesday, 20 March, 2002: Current Chairman of the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council, Hussein Aideed yesterday accused Eritrea, Djibouti, and Libya of collaborating in the supply and delivery of armaments to groups in Somalia. The Libyan Foreign Minister however, is reported to have denied any sponsoring of arms into Somalia. He is said to have told reporters that Libya was actually buying arms out of Somalia since there was too many there already. The minister accused Aideed himself of requesting to be supplied with arms. [The Daily Monitor]

Supporters Of Justice And Human Rights In Libya : Press Release

Tuesday, 19 March, 2002: The legal expert who brokered the Lockerbie trial is helping the Libyan government to lodge a fresh appeal against the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Professor Robert Black, a law lecturer at Edinburgh University, flew to Tripoli the day after Megrahi's appeal was rejected last week. He said he regarded the case as a miscarriage of justice because the court did not consider all the available evidence. "We have not seen the end of this case," Prof Black added. It was he who proposed the idea of trying the Lockerbie suspects in a neutral third country, which was the breakthrough which led to Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi agreeing to hand the two accused over for trial in the Netherlands. [The Scotsman]
Tuesday, 19 March, 2002: Libya has retained its place as the world's top oil exploration hotspot, attracting oil companies despite slow contract negotiations and continued U.S. sanctions, according to an industry survey. The survey by UK consultants Robertson Research found the North African country kept the top ranking for the third consecutive year. The poll of international oil companies canvassed opinions on new ventures in 146 countries outside North America. Libya has come under the investment spotlight since United Nations sanctions on Tripoli, which banned spare parts for pipelines and refineries, were suspended in 1999. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 19 March, 2002: US Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Associated Press Friday: "I'm concerned about the fact that as Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is trying to show a more positive and benign face to the world, there is clear evidence that he has ambitions with respect to the development of weapons of mass destruction. I think it's idiotic on his part. I don't know why he continues to do it. But as long as he continues to do it, we will continue to watch carefully." [AP]

Libya Watch For Human Rights : Press Release

Monday, 18 March, 2002: A senior lieutenant of Osama bin Laden is being held by Sudanese authorities in Khartoum, Sudan, one of several people arrested last month, according to the Sunday Times of London. The United States in October offered a $5 million reward for the capture of the Libyan national Anas al-Liby (photo), who at one point was described as bin Laden's top computer expert during the period al-Qaida was based in Sudan. Al-Liby was among 40 to 50 people arrested in two separate sweeps in Khartoum after the Sept. 11 attacks but whose incarceration was not previously made public. [UPI]
Monday, 18 March, 2002: Thousands of Libyans marched peacefully on Sunday against a Scottish appeals court decision to uphold the conviction of a former Libyan intelligence agent in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. The demonstrators, most of them students, gathered in front of the United Nations office in Tripoli and in a statement handed to a U.N. representative called on the international body to "interfere to save the political hostage Abdelbasset al-Megrahi." Al-Megrahi, 49, lost his appeal on Thursday against the 2001 conviction that found him responsible for the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. [AP]

The Full Text Of The Lockerbie Appeal Judgment

Sunday, 17 March, 2002: A United Nations observer has described the dismissal of the Lockerbie bomber's appeal as "a spectacular miscarriage of justice". Professor Hans Kochler was speaking after five Scottish judges rejected Libyan national Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's attempt to overturn his conviction for murdering 270 people in the 1988 atrocity. Kochler told BBC Radio Scotland: "I am sorry to admit that my impression is that justice was not done and that we are dealing here with a rather spectacular case of a miscarriage of justice." [BBC]
Sunday, 17 March, 2002: After being the world's most expensive prisoner in the former US army base at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, the Lockerbie bomber will be treated just like other inmates at Barlinnie prison, near Glasgow. "There are no plans to treat this prisoner differently from anybody else except where security provisions require it," the Scottish prison service said after Libyan national Abdelbasset al-Megrahi began his life sentence at Barlinnie prison. [AFP]
Sunday, 17 March, 2002: Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz launched a diplomatic offensive Saturday to rally North African states to Baghdad's cause against new US military strikes, the official INA news agency said. Aziz left Baghdad carying messages from President Saddam Hussein to the leaders of Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. [AFP]
Sunday, 17 March, 2002: For the first time, the US is being confined to the sidelines as a mere observer as 53 other countries take their seats in the U.N. human rights watchdog for the annual examination of human rights worldwide. Diplomats say the US will continue to make speeches denouncing injustices, even though it has no voting rights. Full members, elected on a rotating basis, include Algeria, Burundi, Congo, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and Sudan. [AP]
Saturday, 16 March, 2002: Former Libyan agent Abdelbasset al-Megrahi (photo) is beginning his life in a Scottish jail after a dramatic helicopter arrival in the early hours of this morning. He is behind bars after a special court refused to overturn his conviction for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. A special court sentenced al-Megrahi to life in January, 2001. He was flown by helicopter from the court, at a converted former US airbase at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, to a Glasgow jail where he landed at 0115 Friday GMT. Al-Megrahi, 49, started his prison term of at least 20 years in the city's tough Barlinnie Prison, where ex-inmates say a special cell dubbed "Gaddafi's cafe" awaits. [Sky News]

Friday, 15 March, 2002: Libya has demanded the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing after judges rejected his appeal, and has called for compensation for its losses under international sanctions. "The verdict confirms once again that the United States and Britain have imposed their sway on the court to enforce a political verdict," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement on Thursday. "The Libyan citizen... was condemned on political grounds and is considered a political hostage if he is not released," the statement added, calling al-Megrahi "the Jesus Christ of modern times". [Reuters]
Friday, 15 March, 2002: Britain said Thursday it was pleased that Scottish appeal judges upheld a Libyan intelligence agent's conviction for the Lockerbie bombing and called on Libya to accept responsibility for the crime. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that while Libya has "shown the desire to turn away from international terrorism," it still must comply with UN Security Council resolutions which call on Libya to renounce terrorism, accept responsibility for the attack, cooperate with a criminal investigation and pay compensation to the victims' relatives. [AP]
Friday, 15 March, 2002: The United States on Thursday welcomed the decision of Scottish appeals judges in upholding the conviction of a former Libyan agent for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, and called on the Libyan government to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions. "The US government welcomes the decision," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "The completion of the appeal does not end U.S. sanctions against Libya, but should spur Libya to take quick action to fully comply with the requirements of the U.N. Security Council." [Reuters]
Thursday, 14 March, 2002: The Libyan man found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing has lost his appeal against the conviction. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo) will now be taken to a jail in Scotland to begin a sentence of at least 20 years. Al-Megrahi showed no emotion as he heard the outcome from the five judges at a special Scottish Court in the Netherlands. He was jailed for life in January 2001 for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988. Libya condemned the decision as a "political verdict" handed down under pressure from Washington and London. [BBC]
Thursday, 14 March, 2002: Libya attacked the upholding of a life sentence on a Libyan agent for the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing, saying the court handed down a "political verdict" under US and British pressure. The ministry said it was "absolutely convinced" of the innocence of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. A Scottish appeal court sitting at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands earlier Thursday upheld the life sentence against Megrahi for planting a bomb aboard a US airliner that crashed over the Scottish village of Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 people. [AFP]
Thursday, 14 March, 2002: The president of the Libyan bar association, Hafid Jhoja, said the court which upheld the life sentence against Libyan agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi earlier today had been swayed by political influence. "The trial was a political matter, not a legal matter," he told reporters. "All the Libyan people, all the Arab people, are upset by this judgment," he said. In London, British Home Secretary Jack Straw said he hoped the decision would bring "solace and comfort" to the families, and urged Qadhafi to fulfill his obligations. [AP]
Wednesday, 13 March, 2002: A Welsh band are due to become the first UK musicians to perform live in Libya for 30 years. Libya has been isolated internationally for many years for its alleged connection with the bombing of a Pan Am plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. However, UN sanctions have eased since Libya handed over two of its nationals for trial in connection with the bombing. Swansea acoustic quintet Rag Foundation are going to Libya on 17 March on a cultural project organised by the British Council and the Libyan Artists League. The trip will include concerts in the capital, Tripoli, Benghazi and Gherian. [BBC]

Qadhafi's Gestures May Change Policies

Tuesday, 12 March, 2002: The Libyan ambassador to Uganda, Abdulla Boujildein, on Friday attacked Makerere University senate for failing to come up with the final word on whether to award Libyan leader Col. Qadhafi an honorary doctorate of laws. Boujildein said that the Libyan leader has done a lot to deserve the award. "There should not be debate on whether he deserves the award," he said. Boujildein made the remarks at a symposium held by the embassy to celebrate the March 2nd anniversary of the declaration on people's authority. [New Vision]

Monday, 11 March, 2002: Hundreds of Libyans demonstrated in front of the United Nations office in London on Sunday. The demonstration which was organized by Libya Watch "al-Raqeeb," a Libyan human rights group, was a protest against human rights violations in Libya. A Libyan court last month has convicted 86 out of 152 defendants charged with belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood "al-Jama'a al-Islamiya al-Libiya". Two of the defendents, Dr. Abdullah Ezzedin (photo/left) and Dr. Salem Abu Hanak (photo/right) were sentenced to death, 73 to life in prison and 11 to 10 years. Amnesty International last month urged Tripoli "to review the trial with regard to all defendants with the aim of releasing all those punished solely for exercising their non-violent conscientiously held belief." "The trial failed to conform with international standards for fair trial, including the right of a defendant to choose a lawyer," Amnesty said.
Monday, 11 March, 2002: The inclusion of Libya and Syria as countries for which the United States should be prepared when "setting requirements for nuclear strike capabilities" may be the most surprising element in a secret Pentagon report leaked at the weekend. Both Syria and Libya have backed the US war on terrorism and are rarely cited by the US administration as serious threats. Neither has a nuclear weapon nor thought to be developing one. [The Financial Times]
Monday, 11 March, 2002: Foreign governments reacted cautiously to news that the Pentagon has studied options for nuclear strikes on countries that threaten the US with weapons of mass destruction. Government reaction from both U.S. allies and rivals was reserved on Sunday. Libya's African affairs minister, Ali al-Turiki, told reporters in Cairo he found the report hard to believe. "I don't think this is true," he said. "I don't think America is going to destroy the world." [AP]
Amnesty International (EFAI) : Action Urgente

Sunday, 10 March, 2002: Libya announced a range of measures, including the donation of $50 million, to support the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, the Libyan National Popular Committee announced on Saturday. The committee, which is the Libyan Cabinet, denounced Israel's "unprecedented ... massacres" of Palestinians and committed resources to help the Palestinian cause, offering to pay the medical expenses of injured Palestinians and send medical equipment, food, clothes and blankets to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [AP]
Sunday, 10 March, 2002: The Bush administration has ordered the U.S. military to prepare contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against at least seven countries, the Los Angeles Times has reported. Citing a classified Defence Department report the newspaper also reported that the military was also directed to build smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations. The countries named in the secret report -- provided to Congress on January 8 -- were China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria, the LA Times reported. [Reuters]
Sunday, 10 March, 2002: Libya has dismissed as ridiculous a United States report which said Libya had a poor human rights record. A statement by the Libyan foreign ministry said the US State Department report was full of lies. According to the American report, Libyan authorities used summary justice to suppress local opposition, torture prisoners and arrest people arbitrarily. The Libyan statement said there was complete freedom in Libya, and accused the US of using human rights as an issue to put pressure on other countries. [BBC]
Sunday, 10 March, 2002: Arab leaders will decide on whether to adopt a Saudi peace offer to Israel when they meet later this month, foreign ministers said Saturday. Arab foreign ministers in closed-door talks discussed the Saudi proposals to offer Israel peace and recognition in return for withdrawal from Arab lands it captured in the 1967 war. But Libya's African affairs minister, Ali al-Turiki, said nothing will come from the Arab League talks unless its members challenge Israel like the "Palestinian people ... have done." [AP]
Sunday, 10 March, 2002: African leaders at a summit in Libya on Thursday condemned Israel's "state terrorism" and pledged their support for Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat. The community of Sahel-Saharan states (COMESSA) in a final statement, said COMESSA "firmly condemns Israel's state terrorism and calls on the international community to take immediate measures to exert pressure on Israel and lift the blockade imposed on President Arafat." [Tehran Times]

What Price Decency? Death

Saturday, 9 March, 2002: Libyan Ambassador to Tehran Ali Maria, in a meeting with Iran's Vice-President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Abtahi, Thursday voiced the interest of the Libyan government to expand bilateral ties with Iran in all areas. Maria pointed to Tehran's influential role in regional and international political developments, and stressed the need to exploit both countries existing capacities to further promote bilateral relations. [IRNA]
Saturday, 9 March, 2002: The Philippines and the US rejected demands insinuated by Abu Sayyaf Muslim militants in footage released of American hostages they have held for 10 months. The short clip showed the hostages saying their captors are targeting US and other Western nations because of alleged Western indifference to persecuted Muslims. Among the other reasons for targeting the West are US support for Israel and sanctions against Iraq and Libya. [AFP]
Saturday, 9 March, 2002: Morocco's premier Abderrahman Yousoufi said the 4th summit of the Sahel and Sahara countries dropped an item on the Sahara from its final statement at the request of Morocco. The Union acting chairman, Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, told the summit the controversial paragraph was dropped from the statement and was therefore nil. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 9 March, 2002: The world's first permanent international criminal tribunal will almost certainly be created by the end of the year, campaigners said Friday. The International Criminal Court (ICC) will become operational when 60 countries ratify the Rome Statute. This week, Mauritius, Macedonia and Cyprus ratified the treaty, becoming the 53rd, 54th and 55th countries to do so. Countries that have refused to sign the treaty include Libya, Iraq and China. [CNS]
Saturday, 9 March, 2002: After tackling ancient Rome in "Gladiator," director Ridley Scott will go back into the time machine and head to "Tripoli," Variety reports. The script for "Tripoli" has been compared to "Lawrence Of Arabia". It tells the story of American William Eaton, who helped the heir to the throne of Tripoli (now Libya) overthrow a corrupt ruler circa the 1800s. Shooting on the project is expected to go forward in late summer or early fall. [CANOE]
Plea For Dad's Life

Friday, 8 March, 2002: San Jose State University student Allaedin Ezzedin is making a plea for his father's life. The American majoring in computer engineering knows time is growing short. His father, Abdallah Ezzedin (photo), has been sentenced to death, after having been beaten and tortured in a Libyan prison since his arrest nearly four years ago. With no representation, Abdallah has been tried as an enemy of the state or, more specifically, of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The family has, reluctantly, made their case public. Though they fear retaliation for speaking out, they feel there are no options. "That's the only hope we have, to raise our voice and tell our story," Allaedin said. [The Examiner]
Friday, 8 March, 2002: The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank (LAFB) has consolidated its grip on Zimbabwe's third largest commercial bank following the purchase last month of a large parcel of shares in the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed financial institution, it was established this week. The Libyan bank, which had already acquired a five percent stake in the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, bought another 24 million shares on the open market in February, bringing its total holdings to at least 10 percent of the Zimbabwean bank's share capital. The LAFB came to the rescue of Zimbabwe in August last year by offering the cash-strapped National Oil Company of Zimbabwe a US$360 million loan for the purchase of fuel from Tripoli. [Financial Gazette]
Friday, 8 March, 2002: Sixteen Egyptian workers were killed when the two minibuses they were travelling in crashed into a truck in fog on Thursday, Al-Ahram newspaper reported. Thirteen others were wounded in the accident on a desert road near El-Alamein, the daily said. The workers had been returning to their jobs in Libya after visiting their homes in southern Egypt. [Reuters]
Friday, 8 March, 2002: Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo left for Libya early Thursday for a summit meeting on desert encroachment and desertification problems, his office said. Obasanjo will attend the one-day summit with other African leaders in the Libyan capital Tripoli. [AFP]
Thursday, 7 March, 2002: A tireless campaigner against miscarriages of justice, Paul Foot, a veteran author and investigative journalist, says the trial in which a Libyan national, Abdel-Baset al-Megrahi was convicted and condemned to life in prison was "monstrous", "idiotic" and "utterly corrupt". "It was political from start to finish. They knew who did it and they let them off," Foot told Reuters. "They let them off because of the Gulf War. They needed Syria on board." To set out his case, Foot has published a 30-page special report on the Lockerbie investigation. The report says Libya was never even mentioned as a possible suspect for more than a year after the December 1988 attack, since all clues pointed to the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC), backed by Iran and Syria, as the culprits. [Reuters]
Thursday, 7 March, 2002: The Arab ministerial committee in charge of discussing what was debated by the Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has prepared a report to be submitted to the Beirut summit. The committee held a meeting last June and concluded a report explaining Qadhafi's view point which says that the Arabs have no option but to join the "African space," warning against the US policies which seek to alienate them from this "space." [Arabic News]
Thursday, 7 March, 2002: Pakistan may import crude oil from Libya in an attempt to reduce the heavy dependence on Arabian oil, an oil industry official said. A delegation comprising officials from Pakistan Oil, National Refinery, Pakistan Refinery and financial institutions visited Libya in February and held discussions with Libyan officials. Libya is one of the biggest oil producing countries, with a production of 1.4 million barrels per day of light crude oil. [PR Newswire]
Thursday, 7 March, 2002: Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Tuesday in Syrte received the chairman of the Sudanese al-Ummah party al-Sadeq al-Mahdi and members of the accompanying delegation currently visiting Libya. Discussions dealt with Sudanese conditions and debated solutions to establish peace and the return of stability to Sudan. [Arabic News]
Thursday, 7 March, 2002: Egypt and Libya have agreed on building a 770-kilometer road linking the Libyan city of El-Kufra, via el-Owaynat, with Halfa valley in Egypt. The road is expected to increase economic cooperation between the two countries. [Al-Akhbar]
Thursday, 7 March, 2002: A conference of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (COMESSA), currently under way in Syrte, Libya, has issued a communique in support of the Transitional National Government of Somalia, a member of the Somali delegation attending the conference told IRIN on Wednesday. The Somali delegation is led by the interim president, Abdilqasim Hassan, and includes the foreign minister, Yusuf Ibrahim. [IRIN]
Thursday, 7 March, 2002: Cuba offered condolences, blood and airports for diverted airliners after the September 11 attacks, and provided intelligence to help the US track the culprits. But the information proved worthless and Cuba will remain on a US list of states that sponsor terrorism, along with Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea, a US official said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

World Organization Against Torture: Appeal

Wednesday, 6 March, 2002: The verdict in the appeal by the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing will be delivered on Thursday 14 March. During the 14-day appeal, the five judges were urged by the defence team for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo) to declare his conviction a "miscarriage of justice". Al-Megrahi, a Libyan national, was convicted in January 2001 of the murders of 270 people after Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988. [BBC]
Wednesday, 6 March, 2002: Libya plans to sue a Saudi newspaper over an editorial "harmful" to Libyan-Saudi ties, the official news agency JANA reported Tuesday. Libya's ambassador in Riyadh, Mohammad al-Gashat, expressing confidence that Saudi officials did not share the views expressed by Saudi daily Al-Watan, told AFP Tuesday he would file the suit within a couple of days. Al-Watan's chief editor Qinan al-Ghamdi told AFP Tuesday he did not regret running the editorial, which was "a response to the insults Qadhafi hurled at all the Arabs." [AFP]
Wednesday, 6 March, 2002: A national committee entrusted with following up the disappearance of Shiite cleric Imam Musa Sadr turned down on Monday a Libyan suggestion calling for the formation of a new commission of inquiry to look into the case. This came in a statement issued after a meeting chaired by Higher Shiite Council vice-president Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan to discuss the suggestion, made recently by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafiís son, Seif al-Islam (photo,) in Paris. Sadr and two companions disappeared while on a visit to Libya in 1978. [The Daily Star]
Wednesday, 6 March, 2002: Three regional conflicts and a number of economic questions are expected to dominate a two-day summit of 16 African desert states that opens on Wednesday in Syrte, Libya. "The problems between the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad, as well as in Somalia and the peace initiative in Sudan will be dealt with" by the leaders of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (COMESSA). The summit will also study the possibility of creating a common market. The COMESSA consists of Burkina Faso, CAR, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia. [AFP]
Wednesday, 6 March, 2002: Wives of some Nigerian state governors were stranded in the Libyan capital Tripoli after accompanying the president's wife on a visit there, officials said Tuesday. The five women, including the wife of Lagos State governor, accompanied President Olusegun Obasanjo's wife Stella to Libya last week. Lagos information commissioner Dele Alaka told AFP the women were left behind on Sunday after the presidential jet that brought them to Tripoli took Stella Obasanjo to London for another visit. [AFP]
Tuesday, 5 March, 2002: A senior foreign ministry official Monday played down a threat by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to quit the Arab League for its alleged failure to support the Palestinian uprising against Israel. An assistant to the foreign affairs minister, Hassuna al-Shawech (photo,) said Qadhafi had only invited the General People's Congress (GPC,) or parliament, to consider pulling the country out of the Arab League. Qadhafi asked lawmakers on Saturday "to study the question of withdrawing and expressed his point of view, but left the decision to the GPC," the official told AFP. [AFP]
Tuesday, 5 March, 2002: The five-year Sahel-Saharan States' community (CEN-SAD) set up under the initiative of Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, is about to welcome three new members -Benin, Liberia and Togo - during its fourth summit due 6 and 7 March in Sirte (450 km east of Tripoli). Since it was created in 1998 under the initiative of Colonel Qadhafi, CEN-SAD has endeavoured to set an economically progressive community relying on peace, security, states' stability, free circulation of goods and persons as well as right for work and property. [PANA]
Tuesday, 5 March, 2002: French airline Air Lib said Monday it had signed a draft code-sharing agreement with two Libyan airlines for Paris-Tripoli flights that will start in the next few weeks. The letter of intent, inked with Libyan Arab Airlines and Afriqiyha, is to be finalised with a full accord within days. The code-sharing arrangement -- under which reservations with one airline are automatically valid with another company sharing the same route -- will initially be used by one of the Libyan airlines on a weekly basis. When Air Lib adds one of its planes in September, the service will be extended to three times a week. [AFP]

Monday, 4 March, 2002: Arab League chief Amr Mousa said on Sunday that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi assured him of Libya's participation in the Arab summit. Speaking to reporters after a short visit to Libya, Mousa said that his talks with Qadhafi focused on the situation in the Mideast region and wide-ranging issues to be discussed at the summit. Mousa's visit came one day after Qadhafi threatened to pull his country out of the Arab group. [Xinhua]
Monday, 4 March, 2002: The fallout from Egypt's shortage of dollars delayed the flight Sunday of a plane taking the head of the Arab League to see Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Cairo airport authorities demanded that the captain of the executive jet pay its fuel bill of dlrs 152 in the American currency, airport officials said. The captain of the Libyan aircraft had the cash, but it was in euros. The plane took off, 10 minutes late, after a Libyan diplomat Abdel-Hakim Idris pledged to pay for the fuel in dollars and surrendered his identity card as collateral. [AP]
Monday, 4 March, 2002: The secretary for African Unity, Ali al-Tureiki on Friday in Tripoli discussed with Niger's foreign minister Aeysha Ninadwa issues listed on the agenda of the next meeting of the summit of the Sahel and Sahara countries. The two ministers also discussed means of strengthening bilateral relations between Libya and Niger. [Arabic News]
Monday, 4 March, 2002: Moroccan minister of foreign affairs, Mohamed Benaissa, will participate in Libya in the 7th ordinary session of the executive council of the Sahel and Sahara countries community. The executive council session will evaluate activities conducted since the conference of leaders and heads of state held in Khartoum, Sudan. [Arabic News]

Sunday, 3 March, 2002: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi rejected a Saudi peace plan for the Middle East on Saturday and threatened to withdraw from the Arab League over its apparent lack of support for his own peace initiative. "Saudi Arabia's proposals would change nothing because a recognition of Israel would bring nothing, but put Arabs at the mercy of Israelis," Qadhafi told a meeting of the General Peoples Congress in Syrte. Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has proposed that Arab states normalise relations with Israel if it withdraws from Palestinian territory captured in the 1967 war. An Arab diplomat said Qadhafi's unexpected move showed he was angered by some Arab countries' support for the Saudi plan while they ignored Libya's proposals initiated a year ago. [Reuters]
Sunday, 3 March, 2002: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi urged the Palestinians and Israelis Saturday to form a new state called Sartine to end bloodshed in the Middle East. He also offered to give Libya's seat in the Arab League to Sartine if the proposed state was formed. [UPI]
Sunday, 3 March, 2002: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Saturday called on Libya's parliament to examine Libya's pullout from the 22-member Arab League for its failure to fully support the Palestinians. "I ask the General People's Congress (GPC, or parliament) to examine Libya's pullout from the Arab League which has become a masquerade," over its failure to support the Palestinians, Qadhafi told a rally in the northern coastal city of Syrte. At the rally marking the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Jamahiriya he criticised a Saudi peace proposal for Arab recognition of Israel in return for complete Israeli withdrawal from Arab land captured in the June 1967 war. That proposal has been welcomed in most Arab capitals. [AFP]
Sunday, 3 March, 2002: The Imam Sadr Center announced Friday that it was certain, following Italian judicial findings, that Libyan officials were involved in the mysterious disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr and his two companions during a 1978 visit to Tripoli. "The issue is now to ... end to the crime of the continued disappearance for the sake of revealing the truth and identifying those responsible and punishing them," a center statement said. The statement said Italian judicial authorities had confirmed that Sadr and his two companions never entered Italy, contrary to Libya's repeated claims. The statement was responding to recently published remarks quoting Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, as saying that Sadr's disappearance was "the only outstanding problem" between Libya and Lebanon. [The Daily Star]
Sunday, 3 March, 2002: Speaking while presenting his so-called White Book of ideas and proposals for the Middle East, Qadhafi told a meeting of the General Peoples Congress in the eastern city of Syrte that Israel had rejected his proposals because it did not want peace, adding he was not against Jews but against what he described as "the colonisation" of Arab and Palestinian lands. "I'll be the first one to recognise a Jewish state if the United States give them a state in Alaska," he said. [Reuters]
Sunday, 3 March, 2002: Arab League chief Amr Moussa will leave for Libya on Sunday to meet with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, a spokesman for Moussa announced Saturday. "Their talks will focus on the latest developments on the Arab arena and available initiatives on the Mideast peace," the spokesman said. Following his Libya trip, Moussa is expected to meet with chief delegates to pan-Arab forum in Cairo. The announcement came after Qadhafi called for considerations on Libya's pullout from the Arab League earlier in the day. [Xinhua]
LLHR: The Right To Life Is Again Threatened In Libya

Saturday, 2 March, 2002: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will reveal Saturday the details of a Middle East peace proposal he made at last year's Arab summit in Amman but which were never disclosed, the official JANA news agency said. Qadhafi "will announce to the world the summary of his 'white paper,' which contains the proposal made to Arab leaders during the summit in Amman" last March, JANA said Friday, without elaborating. Qadhafi is to make a speech Saturday, which marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the "jamahiriya." [AFP]
Saturday, 2 March, 2002: About a dozen relatives of American passengers who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 asked the U.S. State Department on Friday to pressure Libya to acknowledge it blew up the airliner over Lockerbie. Paul Hudson, whose daughter Melina, died in the disaster, said Assistant Secretary of State William Burns assured the group the Bush administration would not consider resuming relations with Libya until it accepted responsibility and paid compensation to the victims' relatives. Lawyers for the families held another in a series of meetings this week with lawyers for Libya. Libya is said to be offering $2 million a victim. [AP]
Saturday, 2 March, 2002: Libya will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Empowerment of its Citizenry which took place on March 2, 1977. The authority in this system is vested in the citizenry who control the wealth and arms through committees which members are from all works of life. In the "Jamahiriya" system there is nothing like majority or minority people, all members of these basic committees control the wealth and arms of the Jamahiriya. [The Daily Observer]
Saturday, 2 March, 2002: The investment arm of the Libyan government has bought a two percent stake in Fiat, renewing a partnership as the Italian carmaker's shares scrape close to nine-year lows. The Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Co (Lafico) has 2.004 percent of the voting capital of Italian automaker Fiat as of February 27, according to data released by the Italian stock market regulator Consob on Friday. Lafico bought into the automaker in 1976 during a previous difficult period for the company and sold its 15 percent stake, for a profit, in 1986. The ties were restored in January when Lafico bought a 5.3 percent stake in Italian soccer club Juventus , which is controlled by Ifi, a holding company of the Fiat-owning Agnelli family. [Reuters]
Saturday, 2 March, 2002: Nigeria's First lady, Stella Obasanjo, will be in Sirt, Libya to attend a women summit today. Expected at the two-day summit is a large delegation of Nigerian women , members of the African business Round table, and first ladies of other African countries. The Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, will open the summit. [This Day]
Friday, 1 March, 2002: A mad dash by European companies for Libya's oil riches has slowed into a marathon with no finishing line in sight. Keen to attract $10 billion in foreign cash for its oil sector through 2010, Libya has offered over 130 exploration blocks to energy companies. So far, only five new exploration packages have been awarded, industry sources said. But some analysts suspect that Libya may be stalling the European companies in the hope of eventually winning back the U.S. firms. "They want American companies. It's that simple. Libya is willing to wait a little. The Europeans have to be patient because everyone wants to be there," said Roger Diwan, an analyst at Petroleum Finance Company in Washington. [Gulf News]
Friday, 1 March, 2002: A son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has been quoted as saying Libya is negotiating compensation for the families of victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. The Arabic-language Asharq al-Awsat on Thursday quoted Seif al-Islam as saying the talks between representatives of the Libyan government and the victims' families were taking place in Paris. He expected the talks to be wrapped up within five months, but said Libya would not pay any money before the verdict on an appeal in the Lockerbie trial was delivered. A Scottish court sitting in The Netherlands is expected to rule next month on an appeal by former Libyan agent Abdel-Baset al-Megrahi. "Libya has no alternative but to pay the compensation, even if Megrahi was acquitted," Asharq al-Awsat quoted Seif al-Islam as saying. "Libya must deal with the situation that the United States is a dominant power," he added. [Reuters]
Friday, 1 March, 2002: Libya's state commodities import agency is making inquiries about a soft wheat purchase, traders said on Thursday. "It is always unclear just how much they want but 200,000 tonnes for early April shipment has been mentioned," one trader said. No formal tender has been issued but is likely to be in the next two weeks or so. A wide range of origins have been mentioned by the Libyans including European, Canadian and Pakistani. [Reuters]

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