News and Views [ January 2001 ]

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Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: One of the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing has been convicted of murdering all 259 people on the plane and another 11 who died on the ground. The guilty verdict on Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi (right), a married man with children, was delivered after an historic 84-day trial under Scottish law in the Netherlands. Al-Megrahi was jailed for life. The judges recommended a minimum of 20 years "in view of the horrendous nature of this crime". An appeal is being planned. Al-Megrahi's co-accused, Al-Amin Fhimah (left), was found not guilty and has been told he is free to return home. [BBC]
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: Libya has called for the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed by the UN over the Lockerbie bombing. The US Government said Libya bore responsibility for the bombing, and that the verdict did not itself mean an end to the sanctions. Libyans hope that despite the verdict, the country will soon have normal relations with the rest of the world. A foreign ministry spokesman said: "Now that the verdict has been pronounced, Libya demands the immediate lifting of the sanctions." Abuzaid Dorda, Libya's UN envoy, denied Libyan involvement in the bombing and told CNN: "Libya had nothing to do with this tragedy at all. "Libya as a state had nothing to do with this case." [BBC]
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: The British government demanded Wednesday that Libya "take full responsibility" for the December 1988 Lockerbie bombing and pay 700 million dollars compensation to relatives of the victims. Prime Minister Tony Blair is "glad justice has been done," a Downing Street spokesman said after one of two Libyans accused of the mid-air bombing was found guilty. A second Libyan was acquitted. "We expect Libyan authorities to take full responsibility for the action of their official," the spokesman added. "The verdict confirms our long-standing suspicion that Libyan officials instigated the bombing." [AFP]
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: Libyan state-run television said a Libyan convicted Wednesday of murdering 270 people in the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing would lodge an appeal. It said defense lawyers would appeal within 14 days against the court's verdict against Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi, 49. Another Libyan, Al-Amin Fahima, was found not guilty by the special court in the Netherlands. A Libyan television reporter read the verdict and told viewers defense lawyers would lodge the appeal. State television broke into regular programs and broadcast its report live. In a unanimous verdict, three Scottish judges found Al-Megrahi guilty and Fhima not guilty of blowing up the London-to-New York Pan flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: Libya hopes that the United States will be able to "turn the page" on their stormy relations following the verdict in the Lockerbie airliner bombing trial, a senior Libyan official told AFP Wednesday. Foreign ministry spokesman Hassuna al-Shawsh said he thought the verdict, which found one of the two accused Libyans guilty and acquitted the other, would have no political repercussions. "We hope that Libya and the U.S. will be able to turn the page on the past together," he said, adding that he was convinced that relations between Tripoli and Washington would progress. "We hope that the U.S. will change its attitude," he added. The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since 1981. [AFP]
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: Whatever the verdict in the Lockerbie bombing trial, the United States cannot soon drop all of the sanctions built up over two decades of conflict with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell noted on Tuesday, U.S. sanctions against Qadhafi's revolutionary government began long before a bomb blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in December 1988. By 1986, U.S. President Ronald Reagan had already imposed comprehensive sanctions on all commercial and financial transactions between Libya and the United States. Some unilateral sanctions are written into law and the new administration of President Bush, despite its links with the oil industry, cannot overturn them overnight. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: The United States believes requirements were met for holding a fair and just trial of the two Libyans accused of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday. Powell, speaking ahead of Wednesday's announcement of a verdict in the case, said Libya's cooperation in the trial appeared to have been adequate though he declined to say whether Washington thought it sufficient to warrant the lifting of sanctions against Tripoli. He said Washington would be looking at a wide range of policy options once the verdicts are delivered but declined to comment on what they might be. But he stressed that simply cooperating with the court was not necessarily enough for the United States to support a lifting of UN sanctions or Washington's own bilateral sanctions. "Regardless of the outcome that will be announced tomorrow morning, there are other things that the Libyan government will be expected to do with respect to the other elements of the UN sanctions," Powell said. [AFP]
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: Libya's African Affairs Minister, Ali al-Triki, Monday delivered a message from Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to Togolese President and current OAU chairman, Gnassingbe Eyadema. Al-Triki said after an audience with Eyadema, that they discussed continental issues including resolution of conflicts and the African Union. He said he also briefed the Togolese leader on preparations for the March OAU Summit in Syrte, Libya. [PANA]
Wednesday, 31 January, 2001: The Chairman of the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Investments, Ali Habour has deplored the "very low" level of economic relations between Libya and Algeria, describing the volume of trade between the two countries as "shameful." "I am in Tripoli at the head of a delegation, composed essentially of heads of companies and businessmen to examine all the possibilities, which are enormous, and which, unfortunately, are not exploited both in terms of economic exchange and in terms of investment," Habour said late Monday. The Algerian delegation is expected to examine ways of strengthening economic relations and co-operation between Algiers and Tripoli. [PANA]

Tuesday, 30 January, 2001: The verdict on two Libyans accused of murdering 270 people in the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing will be delivered on Wednesday, according to the judges. The trial had been adjourned since January 18 when the three-judge panel retired to consider its verdict after 84 days of testimony and lawyers' submissions. "As we indicated at the time of the last adjournment, we are not in a position to issue a verdict today. We are able to inform you, however, that we will be in a position to announce a verdict tomorrow," presiding judge Lord Sutherland said in Tuesday's court sitting, which lasted less than a minute. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 30 January, 2001: The judges in the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing return to court on Tuesday and are expected to set the date for their verdict. At the end of closing arguments on 19 January, the presiding judge said it would take "a lot of time" to consider material heard during 84 days of evidence. The judges have said that, if they are in a position to deliver a verdict by that time, they will simply use the session to announce that they will pronounce it the following day. [BBC]
Tuesday, 30 January, 2001: The UK on Monday underlined its determination to maintain its diplomatic engagement with Libya regardless of the verdict in the Lockerbie trial. "The verdict itself has no direct implication for the bilateral relationship". Even if the two Libyans are convicted, this would "say something about Libya in 1988", according to one official, "but the Libya we're dealing with is that of 2001 ... our judgment is done against present behaviour". "The Libyans have indicated that they want to put the sanctions and Lockerbie behind them, their body language has been that they want to accept the verdict and move on ... We are assuming the Libyans are still operating in a positive spirit, that they'll co-operate." [The Financial Times]
Tuesday, 30 January, 2001: Britain will move swiftly to review its relations with Libya after the verdict in the trial of two Libyans accused of mass murder in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, official sources have said. While diplomatic ties between the two nations were fully re-established in 1999, officials said the response of the Libyan government to the Lockerbie verdict would be key to the future relationship. "The judgement overall on Libya... will be contingent on how they respond to the verdict," one government source said. British officials said their talks with Libya had suggested the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and his administration were keen "to put Lockerbie behind them". "Their body language over the last few years has been that they want to accept the verdict and move on," one source said. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 30 January, 2001: Egypt's chances of advancing to next year's World Cup were hurt Sunday when it tied Morocco 0-0 during an African qualifier. Before a crowd of 90,000 at Cairo's International Stadium, the Egyptians dominated play but failed to score in the Group C game. In other games, it was: (Angola 3, Libya 1) ...and Cameroon 2, Togo 0; Liberia 3, Ghana 1; Tunisia 2, Congo 1; Ivory Coast 3, Madagascar 1; and Guinea 1, Malawi 1. [AP]
Monday, 29 January, 2001: Judges in the Lockerbie trial return to court on Tuesday and are expected to set the date for their verdict on two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing. It could be days, even weeks, before they rule whether the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that defendants Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Fahima planted the bomb which destroyed a Pan Am jet over Scotland in 1988. Conviction would be widely seen as confirmation that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi ordered his intelligence service to carry out the atrocity as an act of revenge against the U.S., although neither Qadhafi nor his regime is formally in the dock. If the judges are not wholly convinced that the two planted the bomb, they can declare the case "not proven". This or a "not guilty" verdict would let the two men walk free, confronting Washington and London with an embarrassing failure after years of diplomatic investment to erect a wall of sanctions around Libya that is now being dismantled. [Reuters]
Monday, 29 January, 2001: President Omar Bongo of Gabon has received an invitation to attend an extraordinary summit in Sirte, Libya in March, which would be devoted to the establishment of the African Union. The Secretary of the Libyan People's General Committee for foreign affairs, Said Hafina, delivered the invitation, Gabon news agency reported that the emissary of Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi also discussed bilateral co-operation with Bongo. [PANA]

Sunday, 28 January, 2001: Libya's President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Wednesday noon received Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa Mero and the accompanying delegation. The meeting was attended by Secretary General of the General Popular Committee Mubarak al-Shamekh and Secretary of the Popular Committee of African Unity. Talks dealt with the political situation in the region and the stalemated peace process as a result of the Israeli intransigent and aggressive policy. Talks also dealt with supporting the Palestinian Intifada, and backing the Palestinian peoples steadfastness in the face of the Israeli occupation forces savage practices. [Syria Times]
Sunday, 28 January, 2001: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is about to begin a quiet revolution in American diplomacy: he is thinking of scrapping many, and maybe even most, of the punitive sanctions imposed by the U.S. on other countries. Economic sanctions and embargoes are America's foreign policy weapons of choice. They are aimed at changing the ways of international "bad guys." But Powell says he wants to scrap most of them because he thinks they are not always an effective means of carrying out diplomatic objectives. In his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, Powell said he wanted to review all the sanctions, with a view to removing some of them. From Libya to N. Korea, Iran to Cuba, it is estimated that as many as 75 countries and their leaders are targeted by unilateral U.S. economic measures. [FOX]
Sunday, 28 January, 2001: The Sudanese daily "Alwan" said on Friday that six leaders of the Sudanese political parties and forces which have effect on the Sudanese political arena will meet in the Libyan capital Tripoli during the first week of February. This meeting will be in implementation of the decisions of the tripartite meetings of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Libya to revive the Egyptian-Libyan joint initiative. [ArabicNews.Com]
Saturday, 27 January, 2001: Foreign ministers from five southern European nations and the five north African members of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) decided Friday to relaunch cooperation after a 10-year suspension. The decision came after ministers met in Lisbon, at the initiative of Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama, to look at ways of reviving their cooperative forum, notably in the economic sphere. Foreign ministers from France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain joined their counterparts from Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia in agreeing to relaunch the "5 + 5" forum. Gama said the meeting's biggest achievement had been simply that it took place. On the key issue of immigration, Gama said: "There are 10 million North Africans in Europe. We have to establish a very frank dialogue so that they are treated in a more just and equitable manner." [AFP]
Friday, 26 January, 2001: Spanish foreign affairs minister, Michel Nadal has hailed relations between his country and Libya, saying Madrid has "historic, important and solid" ties with Tripoli. In a statement made Wednesday on his arrival in Tripoli for an official visit, Nadal said Spain, which had been under Arab influence, desires strong and expanded relations with Libya. Nadal expressed the hope that his visit to Libya, which coincides with that of a Spanish economic delegation, would open up new horizons in their future bilateral co-operation. [PANA]
Thursday, 25 January, 2001: Britain and the U.S. quietly met Libya's U.N. ambassador on Tuesday to prepare for the Lockerbie trial verdict, which could pave the way for the lifting of U.N. sanctions against the Arab nation. The three ambassadors were believed to have attempted to set a timetable for discussions on the sanctions and whatever other details in the resolution remained unresolved. Much of this will depend on the verdict. Attending the meeting at the United Nations were James Cunningham, the acting U.S. ambassador; Jeremy Greenstock, the British U.N. ambassador; and Abuzed Omar Dorda, Libya's chief U.N. representative. [Reuters]
Thursday, 25 January, 2001: Over 300 people allegedly involved in violent acts last September against immigrant workers from sub-Sahara Africa appeared Tuesday before the people's court in Libya. The bill of indictment read by the President of the Court, Judge Abdulrahman Abou Touta said they were charged on 15 counts. The charges include: conspiracy against the Libyan government, attempt to hinder its orientation towards the African continent, incitement to public disorder. The other charges include destabilisation of the country's security, sabotage of communications on Libyan territory, illegal detention of fire arms and intentional manslaughter. Five of the charges, at least, are punishable by the death penalty, Libyan judicial sources said. All the accused, including 291 Libyans, 26 of different African nationalities (Nigerians, Ghanaians, Sudanese, Nigeriens, one Egyptian and one Tunisian,) pleaded not guilty. Fifty defence lawyers asked for the immediate release of their clients. The prosecution rejected the application and said that heavier penalties would be meted out against the defendants. The trial took place in the presence of the families of the accused and victims, the local and international press as well as African ambassadors accredited in Libya. [PANA]
Thursday, 25 January, 2001: Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has reiterated his call to Libyans to seriously explore alternative resources other than oil, so as to ensure better living standards for future generations. Qadhafi re-echoed the statement Monday on Libyan television on the occasion of the first meeting of the year 2001 of the Libyan general people's committee. He warned Libyans against using oil revenues in projects which had no long-term impact. "I can never deceive the Libyan people... the oil tap is going to run dry one day... What are we going to do tomorrow to finance food imports for instance that would cost one billion dollars annually and 280 million dollars for medical products intended for five million inhabitants today?" He said. [PANA]
Wednesday, 24 January, 2001: It's been reported from Libya that the former foreign minister, Omar al-Muntasser, has died after an illness. Mr Al-Muntasser (photo), was a close associate of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi from the time of the 1969 coup which brought the Libyan leader to power. He served twice as foreign minister - both in the 1980s, and for much of the last decade until March last year. He played a significant role in the negotiations that led Libya to hand over two citizens wanted for the bombing of an American airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. Al-Muntasser came from a prominent family in Misratah, 125 miles east of Tripoli. Qadhafi promoted him to the Cabinet in the early 1970s, made him foreign minister in the early 1980s and then appointed him to other posts. He regained the foreign portfolio in the early 1990s. [BBC/AP]
Tuesday, 23 January, 2001: Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem departed from Libya on Sunday after wrapping up his contacts in Tripoli. Cem and his Libyan counterpart Abdurrahman Shalgam signed a memorandum of understanding which foresaw regular consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries. In the signing ceremony, Cem said that there are many things that Turkey and Libya will do together. Cem noted that the history and the interests of the two countries push the two countries to take joint steps. [Anadolu Agency]
Monday, 22 January, 2001: A delegation from the Arab Writers Union (AWU) arrived in Baghdad Sunday on a Syrian plane to take part in an anti-Israeli conference, the official Iraqi agency INA reported. The delegation includes 83 figures from various Arab countries, including the AWU's general secretary Ali Arsan. Nearly 150 celebrities from Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria, Yemen, Tunisia, Sudan, Libya, Bahrain and the Palestinian territories are due to take part a conference starting Monday dubbed "No to American-Zionist Aggression, No to the Embargo, No to Normalisation and Surrender." [AFP]
Monday, 22 January, 2001: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi received in Tripoli Saturday the Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Salim Ahmed Salim, who handed him a report on the preparations for the OAU extraordinary summit in Sirte scheduled for March 2001 to officially proclaim the African Union. According to an official source, Salim's report also related measures to be adopted to ensure that the summit served as a springboard for the realisation of African Unity. The audience took place in the presence of the Libyan African Affairs Minister, Dr. Ali Triki, the source added. Salim arrived in Tripoli Saturday. [PANA]

Sunday, 21 January, 2001: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Saturday met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa in the Libyan capital Tripoli. They discussed the outcome of a joint Libyan-Egyptian initiative aimed to end Sudan's 17-year civil war and to achieve a national reconciliation in the country. During the meeting, Moussa delivered to the Libyan leader a message from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and briefed him on the results of a three-way meeting held Friday night with Libya's Secretary for African Unity Ali Triki and Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail, the official Libyan News Agency reported. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 20 January, 2001: Libyan Leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, announced that Libya would conduct a good offices mission between Morocco and Algeria. Qadhafi who described as "brotherly and important" talks he held in Tripoli with King Mohammed VI said he examined with the sovereign "Maghreban relations, Moroccan-Algerian relations and the Sahara issue." He said talks also covered "Morocco's absence from the Organization of African Unity (OAU), all the more so as the Kingdom is an outstanding country and its presence within the OAU is necessary." He further denied the existence of "any misunderstanding" between Libya and Morocco, either in the past or at present. [MNA]
Friday, 19 January, 2001: Scottish judges began considering a verdict Thursday in the marathon trial of two Libyans charged with the 1988 Lockerbie bombing after the defense delivered a parting shot to try to win their release. Defence lawyers poured scorn on the evidence that the two Libyans had killed 270 people by downing Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland, describing the prosecution case as "inference piled upon inference." Presiding Judge Lord Ranald Sutherland said it was possible that the court would announce when it reconvenes on January 30 that a verdict will be handed down as early as the next day. "It is quite apparent that a very great deal of material needs to be considered," said Sutherland as he and his two colleagues, plus an alternate judge, retired to consider the verdict. [AFP]
Friday, 19 January, 2001: Libya hopes that the France-Africa summit would be enlarged to become a European Union-Africa summit. The hope was expressed Wednesday by Libyan minister of African affairs, Ali Triki, in a statement to MAP on the eve of the 21st France-Africa summit held Jan. 18-19 in Yaounde, Cameroon. Despite the importance of the meetings with France and despite the weight of Paris, Libya "hopes that the Younde summit will be the last of the kind and that the meetings be changed into an Africa-European Union summit," Triki said. [ArabicNews]
Friday, 19 January, 2001: Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa will start a two-day visit to Libya on Friday to push for the reconciliation in Sudan, the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported Thursday. Moussa said that his visit comes within "the context of an Egyptian-Libyan initiative on the Sudanese reconciliation," adding that he and his Libyan counterpart Abdel Rahman Shalgam will coordinate steps towards implementing the peace plan "in the coming period." Moussa is also expected to hold a three-way meeting with Libyan Secretary for African Unity Ali Triki and Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail in Tripoli on Friday. [Xinhua]
Thursday, 18 January, 2001: A key Lockerbie witness was a greedy "liar and fantasist" who implicated Libya in the 1988 aircraft bombing in the hope of lining his own pockets, the defence said. Edwin Bollier, co-owner of a Swiss firm alleged to have made the timer used in the blast that killed 270 people over Lockerbie, lied under oath on crucial points so judges should treat all his evidence with extreme scepticism, defence lawyer William Taylor said. "He is a man of very suspect motives," Taylor told the three-judge panel on the 83rd day of the trial of two Libyans at a special Scottish court in the Netherlands. Taylor was making a fourth day of final submissions in defence of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who along with Al-Amin Fahima denies murder. [Reuters]
Thursday, 18 January, 2001: Morocco and Libya have agreed to boost bilateral cooperation and support Palestinian people's struggle against Israeli occupation while calling for the early lifting of the U.N. embargo on Iraq. The two countries voiced the stance in a joint communique issued Wednesday at the end of the three-day visit of Moroccan King Mohammed VI. During his visit the Moroccan king held talks with Libyan leader Qadhafi on cooperation in the political and economic fields, and regional and international issues of common interest. [Xinhua]
Thursday, 18 January, 2001: Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Wednesday said the situation and events unfolding in Democratic Republic of Congo have no likelihood of repercussions on the entire African continent, according to official sources in Tripoli. Speaking in response to the events unfolding in DRC, where President Kabila was assassinated, Qadhafi said the events "only form another link that further shows Congo's problem, which has been going on since the country's independence". The Libyan leader therefore urged Africans "to help the Congolese people preserve their national unity rather than take advantage of the situation to expose the country's territories to collapse and disintegration". [PANA]
Thursday, 18 January, 2001: Pakistan will export arms and ammunition to Libya after the U.N. lifts sanctions against it, said chairman of Pakistan Ordnance Factories Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayyum. He was addressing the members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce. He said that Pakistan authorities were already negotiating with the Libyan authorities in this regard. [Asia Pulse]
Thursday, 18 January, 2001: The son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will be among the members of the Libyan national team who arrive in Nairobi today for a series of friendly matches. KFF secretary Hassan Haji said that Libya would set camp in Nairobi before playing against the Angola national team on January 28 in a World Cup qualifier. The Libyan leader's son, Al-Sa'di, is the team captain and also the head of the delegation of his team. Libya is in Group 'A' with Cameroon, Zambia and Togo. Al-Sa'di, an accomplished striker, may travel with his personal fitness coach Ben Johnson, the disgraced former world 100m record holder. [The Nation]
Wednesday, 17 January, 2001: The defence in the Lockerbie trial used closing submissions on Tuesday to cast doubt on a point prosecutors must prove for conviction: the origin of the suitcase holding the bomb that killed 270 in 1988. Counsel for defendant Libyan Abdel Basset al-Megrahi summed up on the 82nd day of the trial by exposing flawed security at Frankfurt airport, in a bid to show the bomb bag could have been introduced there and not in Malta as the prosecution contends. Al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Fahima deny responsibility for the explosion that blew New York-bound Pan Am flight 103 out of the sky over the Scots town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988. Prosecutors maintain the two defendants were behind the planting of a suitcase containing the makeshift bomb on a Frankfurt-bound flight at Malta's Luqa airport. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 17 January, 2001: The head of the Libyan delegation to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Tuesday he thought all members of OPEC are ready to cut output. Arriving in Vienna for Wednesday's ministerial meeting, Ahmed Abdul Karim Ahmed, who is also chairman of Libya's National Oil Co., said a decision regarding the amount to be cut would be made Wednesday. He declined to comment on whether Libya favored an output cut of 1.5 million barrels a day. OPEC's policy advisory group will meet Wednesday at 10:00 GMT, an OPEC source told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday. OPEC ministers will meet informally at 12:00 GMT to hammer out the details of the expected output cut. Then a formal meeting to ratify the decision is slated for 15:00 GMT. [Dow Jones]

Tuesday, 16 January, 2001: King Mohammed the Sixth of Morocco has arrived in Libya on an official visit, his first to the country since coming to power in 1999. After arriving in the capital, Tripoli, he went straight into talks with the Libyan leader, Colonel Qadhafi. As well as covering bilateral relations, these were expected to focus on ways of relaunching the Maghreb Arab Union (MAU). Correspondents say the MAU has in effect been frozen since 1995 as the result of continuing disagreements between Algeria and Morocco over the Western Sahara. [BBC]
Tuesday, 16 January, 2001: A top Libyan official said Monday Libya was ready to restore ties with the United States but that they should be based on mutual respect. Ali al-Tureiki, minister of African unity, said Libya was "ready for establishing fruitful relations" with the U.S. at any time but "such ties should be based on mutual respect." "We have no inferiority or haughtiness complex and we are ready to cooperate with the U.S.," al-Tureiki said during a news conference late Sunday. He noted that the volume of trade exchange between Libya and the U.S. had reached $6 billion a year before ties were severed. Al-Tureiki said it was in "the interests of both countries to restore ties" but Libya "can live without relations with the U.S. as it did in the past." [UPI]
Tuesday, 16 January, 2001: Defence lawyers will take centre stage during the final days of the Lockerbie bomb trial which resumes on Tuesday after a long weekend. William Taylor QC, who is acting on behalf of one of the accused, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, is expected to conclude his arguments at the special trial in the Netherlands. It will then be the turn of Richard Keen for co-accused Al-Amin Fhimah. Both accused deny planting the bomb on Pan Am flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie in December 1988. Once the summing up has been completed, the judges are expected to adjourn the trial and announce a date when they will deliver their verdict. [BBC]
Monday, 15 January, 2001: In the first soccer game in 23 years between Libya and Egypt, Egypt beat Libya 4-0 on Sunday in a qualifier for the African Cup of Nations. The last time the two teams met was during the All-African Games in Algeria in 1978. Egypt won that game 1-0. But the players brawled afterward, prompting Egypt to withdraw from the competition in protest. The Egyptian delegation said the Algerians did not provide adequate protection for their players. In the African Cup of Nations, Egypt tops leads Group Seven with three wins in three games. Libya, Ivory Coast and Sudan are also in the group. [AP]
Sunday, 14 January, 2001: European Commission President Romano Prodi told Maghreb states on Friday their integration is a must for boosting cooperation with the European Union. "I'm visiting the region to prepare a strong regional policy with the Maghreb countries and to send a strong message that cooperation with the south Mediterranean area is a priority for Europe,'' Prodi told a news conference in Tunis. Tunis, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania set up the Maghreb Arab Union in 1989 to integrate their foreign and economic policy but it has been dormant since 1995 due to a rift between Algeria and Morocco. [Reuters]

Saturday, 13 January, 2001: Defence lawyers in the Lockerbie trial have called into question security arrangements at an airport which handled the luggage containing the bomb. The defence had alleged that Palestinian extremists - and not the two Libyans accused - were the real bombers. The prosecution case has focused on allegations that the Libyans were responsible for sending the bomb on its way from Malta and that it was transferred to a Heathrow-bound flight at Frankfurt Airport. But defence counsel William Taylor QC argued that security procedures at Frankfurt were inadequate, with baggage handlers making mistakes as they struggled to cope with pressures of work. The systems in place were much less effective, he said, than in Malta. [BBC]
Saturday, 13 January, 2001: In the second day of his final argument, defense lawyer William Taylor, Megrahi's lawyer, noted that a flight from Damascus, Syria, arrived in Frankfurt around the same time as the flight from Malta. Taylor said there is no documentation explaining how some of the Damascus bags were processed. Taylor also raised the possibility that the Maltese connection may have been a diversion to sidetrack investigators. Taylor also asked why a terrorist would place a bomb on a plane in Malta and risk the possibility of interception in Frankfurt. Taylor's summation will continue next week, and he will be followed by Fhimah's attorney. After that, a panel of three Scottish judges will break to consider its verdict. [The Washington Post]
Saturday, 13 January, 2001: Libya's African affairs minister, Ali Triki, met Wednesday in Tripoli with Mohamed Billou, the Central African minister for Arab and Islamic relations. Billou arrived in Tripoli Tuesday for a visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations. He expressed his country's gratitude for Libya's support to ensure its stability. He also commended Libyan leader Qadhafi's role in serving the causes of Islam and Muslims throughout the world. [PANA]
Saturday, 13 January, 2001: Digital Works Ltd has been engaged by the Pak-Libya Holding Company for digital archiving of legal agreements, correspondence, documents and other official related papers. For this purpose, Pak Libya signed an agreement with Vital Information Services limited. The project include digital imaging of all documents, creating searchbase database fields for each document and verification of data, a press release announced on Wednesday. [Asia Pulse]

Friday, 12 January, 2001: The judges hearing the case against two Libyans suspected of the Lockerbie bombing have been told it would be "unreasonable and unsafe" to convict them. The accused have alleged that Palestinian terrorists carried out the bombing, and Bill Taylor QC, for the defence, said the prosecution had failed to dismiss that possibility. As he made his closing submission he said it would have been an "extraordinary coincidence" if Palestinian terrorists based in Germany had not planted the bomb. Mr Taylor pointed the finger at a cell of the Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine - General Command. He said: "Whilst the defence cannot prove responsibility it can show the court that there is some relevant information which points away from the Crown theory and the alleged guilt of the two accused. [BBC]
Friday, 12 January, 2001: Libya and the Dominican Republic have signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations, official sources in Tripoli said Thursday. The Secretary of the Libyan general people's committee in charge of external liaisons and international co-operation, Abderrahman Shalgam and the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of the Dominican Republic, Pierre Charles signed the pact Wednesday evening in Tripoli, the sources said. [PANA]
Friday, 12 January, 2001: The Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Wednesday received in Tripoli the chairman of the economic committee of the Brazilian Senate, Ney Suzana, who delivered a message from President Cardosso. Sources in Tripoli said that the Brazilian president commended Qadhafi for his efforts to bring about the unity of Africa. He also stressed the need to boost co-operation links between African and Latin American countries. [PANA]
Thursday, 11 January, 2001: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has called on all the scientific and economic potentialities of Libya to mobilise in order to build the future and solve the country's problems, through planning mechanisms instituted by the general planning council. Chairing in Tripoli Tuesday a session of this planning body, which opened its first ordinary meeting of 2001 Sunday, Qadhafi emphasised the importance of the participation of all actors in solving problems examined within research units of universities and research and study centres, with a view to enabling experts of all fields to contribute in Libya's recovery and development. [PANA]
Thursday, 11 January, 2001: Legal experts monitoring the Lockerbie bombing trial said Wednesday prosecutors had presented a strong case but were divided over whether it will be enough to convict the two Libyans accused. The prosecution is relying on circumstantial evidence and there is no forensic proof or direct witness definitively tying either man to the bomb. Defence lawyers will begin their summing-up early Thursday. It is expected to last into early next week, when the judges will likely adjourn to consider their verdict. [AFP]
Thursday, 11 January, 2001: Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi met visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan Wednesday night. The Chinese minister expressed appreciation for Libya's fair position on the issue of China peaceful reunification as well as Libya's efforts to settle the African disputes and promote the African integration. He renewed China's firm opposition to the economic sanctions against Libya, voicing hope that the efforts of the international community would lead to total removal of the sanctions very soon. [Xinhua]

Wednesday, 10 January, 2001: Prosecutors went for an all-or-nothing murder conviction against two Libyans accused of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie as they began their summing up Tuesday in the marathon trial. Deputy prosecutor Alastair Campbell asked for two of the three charges against the men, conspiracy to murder and breach of aviation security, to be dropped as the trial moved into its final phase. Only one charge would remain, the main accusation of murder. It carries an automatic life sentence, but is also the most difficult to prove. "In my submission," he told the court, "the Crown has proved the case against each of the accused beyond reasonable doubt." No verdict is expected this week. Instead, the three judges -- there is no jury -- will likely adjourn for several weeks before announcing a ruling. There are three possible verdicts -- guilty, not guilty or "not proven," a peculiarity of Scottish law which essentially means there remains a suspicion against the accused, but not enough to warrant a guilty verdict. [AFP]
Wednesday, 10 January, 2001: Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday for a two-day official visit to Libya. He was greeted at the Tripoli military airport by Minister of Foreign Communication and International Cooperation Abdul-Rahman Shalgam and other senior Libyan officials as well as Chinese ambassador to Libya. Upon his arrival, Tang said that "the friendly ties and cooperation between China and Libya enjoyed personal care of the leaders of both countries and grew significantly and constantly over the past 20 years." "Now as the mankind steps into a new century, the two countries feel the necessity of strengthening their contacts and making more efforts to boost cooperation in all areas," Tang noted. [Xinhua]
Tuesday, 9 January, 2001: Lawyers are due to begin winding up the trial of two Libyans accused of carrying out the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. One of Scotland's most senior QCs will address the panel of three judges on the prosecution case - he will then be followed later in the week by defence counsel. The trial could now be over within weeks after defence teams for the accused caused surprise, on Monday, by saying they would offer no further evidence. The decision by advocates for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and al-Amin Fhimah came after the Syrian Government refused to hand over evidence which was considered vital to the defence case. [BBC]
Tuesday, 9 January, 2001: Arab league secretary general Esmat Abdul Majid starts on Tuesday a visit to Libya prior to taking part in the Arab follow up commission meeting in Tunisia the next day, it was announced in Kuwait Sunday. Abdul Majid's talks in the Libyan capital will focus on latest Arab and world developments, including the Lockerbie case. He will than head to Tunisia to take part in the follow up commission meeting that will discuss political and financial support for the Palestinian uprising. [ArabicNews.Com]
Tuesday, 9 January, 2001: Lawyers defending two Libyans accused of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing told the court they were closing their case on Monday in a stunning announcement that would end the trial sooner than expected. Even the senior judge, Ranald Sutherland, was visibly surprised when the lawyers announced they would not call any more witnesses after Syria refused to hand over a document they believe could have exonerated their clients. The defence has only called three witnesses in trying to establish a case that radical Palestinian groups -- not Libya -- were behind the bombing. The prosecution has called 230 witnesses. Al-Amin Fhimah and Abdel Basset al-Megrahi are accused of planting a bomb on Pan Am flight 103 which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Both deny the charges. [AFP]
Monday, 8 January, 2001: The Lockerbie bombing trial will resume in the Netherlands on Monday after a month-long break to give defence lawyers more time to gather information to continue their case. The prosecution case ended in November after more than six months of evidence, and the trial at Camp Zeist has already heard witnesses in the defence of Mr Al-Megrahi. But the hearing was adjourned a month ago because his lawyer was reluctant to continue while the court was still waiting for the Syrian Government to hand over a document relating to new evidence, which he believes to be of crucial importance to the defence case. The defence has described the evidence as establishing new links between Lockerbie inquiries conducted by the German intelligence services (BKA) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC). But if the documents have not arrived by Monday, it is likely the defence will have to continue without them. [BBC]
Sunday, 7 January, 2001: Libya has denounced the American decision released on Thursday which extended economic sanctions on Libya for six more months, describing this decision as unfair. In his comment on this decision, the political editor of the Libyan News Agency JANA said that this decision is totally in contradiction with the United Nations General Assembly recent decision which rejects the individual American measures against Libya, the decision was totally approved except by Israel and the U.S.A. [ArabicNews.Com]
Sunday, 7 January, 2001: A Libyan court on Saturday postponed for the eighth time the trial of six Bulgarian medical staff charged with deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus, Bulgaria said. The five nurses and a doctor, detained by Libyan authorities 23 months ago, could face the death penalty if convicted. "The trial was postponed until February 10," a spokeswoman for Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov told Reuters. She said the delay was granted at the request of the Bulgarians' defense team and lawyers acting for eight Libyans and a Palestinian who are facing similar charges. Libyan lawyer Osman Byzanti, hired by the Bulgarian government last year, told Reuters earlier this week he expected this would be the last delay in the case and a court ruling could be expected by the end of March. [Reuters]
Saturday, 6 January, 2001: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Thursday slammed as "hollow" U.S. President Bill Clinton's peace proposals for Israel and the Palestinians, warning that disaster would follow if they are agreed and implemented. "The Palestinian president (Yasser Arafat) cannot accept the U.S. plan and, if he does, it will be catastrophic," Qadhafi told a news conference in Tripoli. Qadhafi reiterated his idea for a "democratic Palestinian state" in which Jews and Arabs would live together, as well a return of the millions of Palestinian refugees to territory taken over by Israel and the renouncing by Israel of weapons of mass destruction. During the conference, the Libyan leader also said that Clinton's successor, George W. Bush "is good, like his father", adding: "He is interested in his country and is not a bad person." [Sapa-AFP]

The Founding Manifesto of the Libyan Tmazight Congress

Friday, 5 January, 2001: United States President Bill Clinton extended the nearly 15-year U.S. state of emergency concerning Libya. In a letter he sent to the Congress and the Senate Thursday, Clinton stated, "the crisis between the U.S. and Libya that led to the declaration on January 7, 1986, of a national emergency has not been resolved. Despite the U.N. Security Council's suspension of U.N. sanctions against Libya upon the Libyan government's hand over of the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects, there are still concerns about the Libyan government's support for terrorist activities and its noncompliance with U.N. Security Council Resolutions. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to maintain in force the actions taken and currently in effect to apply economic pressure on the Government of Libya". [US Newswire]
Friday, 5 January, 2001: Libyan leader, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has planned to host an inaugural Pan-African Club Championship in March as part of his 'United Africa' ideals. Eight clubs have been named for the event, but some of the big sides have not been invited, including newly crowned African champions, Ghanaian side, Hearts of Oak. Libyan sides, Al Ahli and Al Ittihad, the two top clubs in Libya, will play host to Eight African clubs. Explaining why Hearts and clubs from Nigeria were not invited, the Libyan leader's Pan-African Organisation director, Hussein Banaye said it is to allow relations between the countries to heal up, following the murders of Ghanaians and Nigerians in Libya last year. [African Soccer Magazine]
Thursday, 4 January, 2001: Turkish Petroleum Corp (TPAO) opened an office in Libya. Osman Demirag, the TPAO General Director, told A.A. that two important fields in Libya were allocated to TPAO. Demirag said Libya's National Oil Company and TPAO signed an agreement a while ago, adding that TPAO opened its office within the framework of the agreement. Demirag said they would have 30 million U.S. dollars investment in the fields. [Anadolu Agency]

Wednesday, 3 January, 2001: The interim government of Somalia has sent a contingent of men to be trained as presidential escorts. 'Qaran', a Mogadishu daily, reported that 17 young men had been sent to Djibouti to undergo a 45-day training course. However, a government source told IRIN that 28 men had left for the training, and that "more will be sent soon". After completing their course, the men would proceed to Libya for a further three months of training. [Africa News]
Tuesday, 2 January, 2001: Sudan and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) have become the latest countries to ratify the constitutive act of the African Union. Others who have ratified the constitutive act of the African Union are Mali, Senegal, Togo and Libya. [PANA]
Monday, 1 January, 2001: Malian President Alpha Oumar Konare, met Saturday with Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, on bilateral and international issues, Libyan officials said in Tripoli. They said the talks focused on how to consolidate the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (SIN-SAD), and the African Union, Qadhafi's pet policy. The duration of the visit by Konare, who is chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, was not disclosed. [PANA]
Monday, 1 January, 2001: The moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland plans to visit the prison holding the two men accused of the Lockerbie bombing. The moderator's trip to Camp Zeist, where the two Libyan men have been on trial, resulted from a promise to visit all of Scotland's jails during his year in office. The moderator had received an invitation from the Scottish Prison Service and would not visit Camp Zeist before the middle of February. [BBC]
Monday, 1 January, 2001: United States President Clinton authorized the U.S. on Sunday to sign a treaty creating a permanent international criminal court to try war criminals. More than 130 nations have signed the treaty, including most U.S. allies. The parliaments of 27 nations have ratified the Rome Treaty; 60 governments are needed for the treaty to go into effect. North Korea, Libya, China and Iraq have not joined the treaty. [CNN]
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