News and Views [ April 2001 ]

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Monday, 30 April, 2001: Libya's Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has cautioned Nigerian religious leaders to look out for possible machinations of the "enemies of Africa" to destabilise their country by "dividing Nigeria into a mosaic of micro-states." Such enemy forces, he intimated, could use the existence of several religions in the country, especially Islam and Christianity, to divide and dislocate Nigeria. "Christians and Moslems are brothers. Both worship a God who does not distinguish between His worshippers, Prophets or Holy Books," the Libyan leader said on the sidelines of the Abuja Summit on HIV/AIDS this week. At a meeting with the Moslem and Christian leaders, he also urged for "a cultural revolution in Africa" which, according to him, would help "correct the mistakes of the past, especially what colonialism propagated." [PANA]
Sunday, 29 April, 2001: One of the architects of the Libyan embassy siege in London in April 1984, which resulted in the murder of WPc Yvonne Fletcher, has been allowed to return to Britain as part of a Foreign Office initiative to improve Anglo-Libyan relations. Saleh Ibrahim al-Mabrouk, a member of the four-man group of Libyan Revolutionary Committee students that masterminded the 11-day siege in April 1984, was expelled from Britain immediately after the surrender of the embassy's occupants. Al-Mabrouk, who took his orders from Libyan intelligence in Tripoli, is understood to have been one of a group responsible for giving the order to open fire on Libyan students protesting outside the embassy against Col Qadhafi's regime [photo]. Last month al-Mabrouk, who now describes himself as head of the Higher Studies and Academic Research Academy in Tripoli, attended a three-day seminar at Salford University in Manchester, which was held to promote relations between British and Libyan universities. Next month he is due to return to Britain for a two-day seminar on Anglo-Libyan relations at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House. [The Telegraph]
Sunday, 29 April, 2001: The trial in Libya of six Bulgarian health workers, accused of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus, has been adjourned for the eleventh time. The accused, five nurses and a doctor, were arrested in Tripoli more than two years ago, after they allegedly injected almost four hundred children in Benghazi where they worked, with contaminated blood products. They are accused of trying to undermine state security, and the case has caused widespread concern in Bulgaria. A Palestinian doctor, and eight Libyans are facing similar charges. The human rights group Amnesty International has expressed concern about the amount of time the group has spent without legal and medical help. The case will next be before the court on May 13. [BBC]
Saturday, 28 April, 2001: Africa's biggest HIV/AIDS summit ended Friday with some 50 heads of state vowing to reserve at least 15 percent of their annual budget for healthcare and lift tariff barriers on AIDS-related programmes. A declaration approved at the end of the two-day summit, attended by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and former US president Bill Clinton, also backed Annan's proposal to create a multi-billion-dollar global fund to fight the pandemic. Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi predictably lashed out against industrialised powers for the AIDS scourge at the last session of the summit late Friday. Accusing the United States' Central Intelligence Agency of spreading AIDS, he said: "A vaccine and a medicine exists but there is a malevolent plot by capitalists to prevent the world from having it as they want to earn more money." He ended his fiery speech with: "But despite all this Africa will emerge victorious." [AFP]
Saturday, 28 April, 2001: A treaty creating an African Union will take effect on May 26, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) announced in a statement in the Nigerian capital on Friday. Nigeria itself ratified the treaty late Thursday, becoming the 36th nation in the 53-member OAU to do so and enabling the union to start functioning next month, Mali's President Alpha Oumar Konare said earlier. Konare was speaking during a session of Africa's biggest ever summit on HIV/AIDS, which was winding up in Abuja. Konare stressed the importance of the "economic and above all political partnership" he said was represented by the union -- a brainchild of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. On Friday, OAU Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim congratulated Qadhafi and other leaders on their work to bring about the union. [AFP]
Saturday, 28 April, 2001: The second Libya-Italy joint commission session opened Thursday in Tripoli under the co-chairmanship of the secretary of the Libyan popular committee for External Relations and International Co-operation Abderrahman Chalgam and the Italian foreign minister, Lamberto Dini. Addressing the session, Chalgam thanked Italy for the assistance it had rendered in the search for a solution to the Lockerbie affair at the international level. "Italy was the first country to violate the embargo imposed on Libya and its external affairs minister was the first foreign official to land in Tripoli after its lifting," Chalgam added. [PANA]

Friday, 27 April, 2001: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Thursday called for the creation of multi-billion dollar fund to tackle HIV/AIDS in Africa, in a speech that rallied support at the continent's biggest ever AIDS summit in Abuja. Annan said an annual "war chest" of seven to 10 billion dollars was needed. Annan told delegates including nearly 50 heads of state and former US president Bill Clinton that "the war on AIDS will not be possible without a war chest." "At a minimum we need to spend an additional seven to 10 billion dollars a year," he said. Leaders attending the summit included Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Ghana's John Kufuor, Namibia's Sam Nujoma, OAU chief Salim Ahmed Salim, Kenya's Daniel arap Moi and Rwanda's Paul Kagame. The UN AIDS agency estimates that 70 percent of the world's HIV cases, or 24.5 million people, live in sub-Saharan Africa. In 16 countries on the continent, more than one adult in 10 is HIV-positive. In Botswana one in three (35.8 percent) is infected. [AFP]
Friday, 27 April, 2001: A senior official of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) has, while acknowledging some positive trends in the resolution of conflicts on the continent, admitted the situation remained precarious for the most part. At the 29th session of ACHPR holding in Tripoli, Libya, ACHPR chairman Emmanuel Dankwa said conflicts rather "shame the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and make talk of a system for the protection of human rights seem hollow." Speaking on behalf of the NGO community, the vice-chairperson of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, Mohammed Genedy, highlighted the desire of NGOs for a mechanism to promote human rights under aegis of the anticipated African Union. Some 70 delegates from 27 OAU countries and three national human rights institutions, as well as 330 observers from NGOs, special bodies, and the media are attending the meeting. [PANA]
Friday, 27 April, 2001: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has urged Africans to drive white people off the continent and make them pay for what he has called their exploitation. It is racist and populist, and at the same time a poor analysis of Africa's woes and of the way forward. Qadhafi is presumably referring to Zimbabwe and South Africa, which have significant numbers of whites among their nationals. Of course there are certain inequalities in these societies. The solution to this is reform, through orderly redistribution. In any case, should the US and Latin America expel people of African origin as a solution to their many social and economic ills? That would, like in Africa, be a recipe for disaster. [New Vision]
Thursday, 26 April, 2001: The United Nation's human rights body called on Wednesday for the worldwide suspension of the death penalty, with the United States again joining a minority in rejecting the call. In a non-binding vote, 27 members of the 53-state Human Rights Commission approved a European Union motion asking for a moratorium on judicial executions and their eventual abolition. Libya, frequently a firm international foe of Washington, echoed the U.S. line in arguing that the issue of capital punishment was for an individual country to decide. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 25 April, 2001: Libyan state television said yesterday that a Tripoli court put off the trial of 331 people, most of them immigrant workers from Chad, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria after a short hearing in the morning. "The court decided to postpone the case until the 21st of al Maa month (May 21), 2001 when the verdict will be pronounced," the television report, monitored in Tunis, said. The trial has been postponed repeatedly since it began in January. They were put on trial on charges of stirring up civil strife and attempting to derail Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's drive to set up a pan-African union. The government blamed Libyans as well as African workers for violent clashes in Tripoli and neighbouring Zawia city last September. [The Guardian]
Wednesday, 25 April, 2001: Korea's Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co. said Tuesday it has received a hospital renovation order worth $150 million from the Libyan government. The builder will start renovating the hospital and setting up electricity facilities in Benghazi, the second largest city of Libya, in June. The company plans to finish the project in December 2002, a Daewoo Engineering spokesman said. Daewoo said it will receive 15% of the construction costs from Libya in June, with a payment guarantee from the Central Bank of Libya, he said. The company first started building in Libya in 1978. [Dow Jones]
Tuesday, 24 April, 2001: The African Commission for Human and People's Rights on Monday started its 29th ordinary session during which it will deliberate on reports on the human rights situation in four countries [Namibia, Ghana, Algeria and Congo]. The commission is holding the session in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, from 23 April-7 May at the invitation of the Libyan national human rights committee. The commission will consider reports of its special rapporteur on prisons and conditions of detention and a report on women's rights. Complaints regarding human rights violations, the refugees and the elderly, handicapped people, indigenous populations, and the forthcoming world conference on racism are among items on the agenda of the session. [PANA]
Tuesday, 24 April, 2001: The Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Monday held discussions in Tripoli with the visiting Namibian President Sam Nujoma on various African issues including ongoing steps to create the African Union. According to the Libyan news agency, JANA, the two leaders also reviewed other regional and international issues of mutual interest. The Namibian President arrived on Monday at the "Maitiga" airport, a former American airbase located six km east of Tripoli. A senior member of the Libyan revolution high command, Gen. Mustapha al-Kharroubi, received the Namibian leader on arrival. [PANA]
Monday, 23 April, 2001: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is urging Africans to drive white people out of the continent and make them pay compensation for their exploitation of it. "The white colonialists have no place in Africa and their presence is unlawful," said Qadhafi, addressing a gathering of African women activists in Tripoli on Sunday. Qadhafi, whose remarks were reported by the official Libyan news agency Jana monitored in Tunis, also urged Africans to rid themselves of the white man's cultural legacy, including language. Qadhafi urged Africans to take their cue from Libya's experience when it expelled some 20,000 Italians during the late 1960s, and to do the same with whites who are still settling in other African states. [Reuters]
Monday, 23 April, 2001: In the second round of African qualifying it was Cameroon 1, Libya 0 in Group A; Liberia 2, Sudan 0 in Group B; and Congo 1, Madagascar 0, and Ivory Coast 2, Republic of Congo 0 in Group D. [AP]
Monday, 23 April, 2001: Women delegates from 53 African countries are taking part in a conference on peace and development in Tripoli, Libya. The three-day meeting under the theme "Together for the Building of the African Union," opened Saturday. It would give participants the opportunity to exchange information and experiences on the role of African women regarding the African Union and the elimination of all obstacles to development on the continent. The conference will also discuss the participation of African women in the legislative and judicial organs of the African Union proclaimed last month in Sirte, Libya. Participants will equally examine the role expected of African youths and the assistance of NGOs under the Union. [PANA]

Sunday, 22 April, 2001: On Sunday, Libya will be playing at Cameroon in Group A; Madagascar plays at Congo Democratic Republic and Congo is at Ivory Coast in Group D. Cameroon (4-0) is first in Group A with 12 points, four ahead of Angola (2-1-2) and five ahead of Zambia (2-2-1). Togo (0-2-2) and Libya (0-3-1) trail. Nigeria put itself in danger of failing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, losing 1-0 Saturday at Sierra Leone. The top nation in each of the five African groups qualifies for the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea. [AP]
Saturday, 21 April, 2001: Libya said Friday that U.S. sanctions against it had failed and declared that the trial of two Libyans over the 1988 bombing of a Pan-Am airliner had cleared Tripoli of any blame. Libyan African Unity Minister Ali Triki's comments were the first official reaction to U.S. President Bush's statement Thursday that Washington had no intention of easing sanctions on Libya and Iran. "The (Bush) decision was not new ... We see that it will not help settle the problems and the policy of imposing sanctions has failed. It is not the right policy," Triki told reporters during a visit to neighboring Tunisia. "We reject being made to take on any responsibility for this matter. The Scottish court itself had canceled all the prosecution claims for a Libyan state responsibility. Therefore there is absolutely no responsibility," Triki said. [Reuters]
Saturday, 21 April, 2001: Libya will build a 100,000 US dollar secondary school in the city of Juba in southern Sudan, the official Sudan News Agency reported on Thursday. Laying the school's foundation stone Thursday, Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman thanked Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi for deciding to build the school. "By deciding to build the school, the Libyan leader is seeking to create a new generation of Sudanese that cherishes African unity," Osman said. Speaking on behalf of the Libyan government, Engineer Atiyya Eiman called on Africans to join hands in order to develop the continent. [PANA]

Friday, 20 April, 2001: U.S. President Bush said Thursday he has no plans to lift economic sanctions against Iran or Libya "anytime soon" as part of his energy strategy, though he did not rule out a review of America's sanction policies toward the two countries. A law that imposed sanctions on Iran and Libya is to expire in August and it's not certain whether the administration will support its reauthorization. In a brief exchange with reporters, Bush played down a report that his energy task force headed by Vice President Cheney is considering a recommendation to lift sanctions against Libya, Iran and Iraq. "In our energy review we're looking at all opportunities to create an energy supply to take pressure off of price," said Bush. "But I have no intention as of this moment for taking sanctions off countries like Iran or Libya." [AP]
Friday, 20 April, 2001: The General Secretariat of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now awaits only "three instruments of ratification" before officially announcing the "entry into force of the African Union Constitutive Act," sources close to the OAU legal Department revealed Thursday. "As of today, Thursday 19 April, 33 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification. Four others have informed the Secretariat that they have completed their ratification procedure and promised to transmit the instruments very shortly," the sources said. [PANA]
Thursday, 19 April, 2001: The Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Monday received the Yogoslav federal minister of national and religious communities. According to official sources in Tripoli, the visiting minister Rasim Liabitch, handed the Libyan leader a written message from his Yugoslavian counterpart, President Kotchonitcha. On Monday, the visiting Yugoslav minister also had an audience with the Libyan Prime Minister with whom he examined bilateral economic relations, particularly plans to create a high-level joint commission. [PANA]
Thursday, 19 April, 2001: Libya hopes that South Korea will allow Dong Ah Construction Co. and its subcontractors to finish the man-made river project, the Ministry of Construction and Transportation said today. The Libyan government's intention was made clear to the country earlier in the day, when Libyan Ambassador Ahmed al-Tabuli and the Libyan project director visited Construction and Transportation Minister Oh Jang. A ministry official said that the general consensus is that even if the courts rule that Dong Ah should go bankrupt, the entity that legally "inherits" the builder or its existing subsidiaries would be able to finish the works. [Asia Pulse]
Thursday, 19 April, 2001: Lyudmil Spassov, the Bulgarian ambassador to Libya, and the diplomatic staff of the embassy met in Tripoli on 14 April with the six Bulgarian medical workers charged by Libya with intentionally infecting 393 children with HIV, BTA reported. The five nurses and one doctor reportedly told the ambassador of problems they encountered during detention and discussed issues about their defense. Their trial has been postponed several times and is scheduled to begin this summer. [RFE/RL]
Wednesday, 18 April, 2001: The United Arab Emirates al-Bayan daily issued on Saturday said that the lawyers defending the Libyan citizen Abdul-Baset al-Megrahi have received information that will negate his links to exploding the Pan Am plane over Lockerbie. The paper quoted sources at Camp Zest in Holland that al-Megrahi's lawyer, William Taylor received secret documents from Amman and Damascus and he submitted them to the Scottish ministry of Justice to be reviewed by the new court board. The documents reveal the involvement of the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command - led by Ahmad Jibril in the case. [Arabic news]
Wednesday, 18 April, 2001: North Africans dominated the Senior Africa Weightlifting Championship that concluded in Stellenbosch, South Africa last weekend with the winner in the 77 kilogrammes category being Mejri Mohammed of Tunisia who snatched 125 kilos and clean-and-jerked an equivalent weight. Second was Sasi Said of Morocco with an effort of 117.5 kilos in the snatch and 157 in the clean-and-jerk. Libya's Abugaila Hamza beat Kenya's David Obiero to the bronze medal with a lift of 115 kg in the snatch and 147 kg in the clean and jerk. [Nation]
Tuesday, 17 April, 2001: Prosecutors looking into the disappearance - and presumed death - last August of Ivan Stambolic, the Serbian president until 1987, said last week that he might have been killed because he knew details of secret bank accounts in Switzerland linked to the regime - and refused to reveal them. The prosecutors are also investigating recent international money transfers, notably a debt repayment of 60m from Libya's Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi just before Nato bombed Yugoslavia in 1999. A former senior member of Milosevic's socialist party described how he was sent to collect the funds and opened an account in Tripoli into which the Libyans paid the money. "When he got back, Milosevic was furious," said a close friend. "He said, 'Why didn't you bring it as cash?' ". The money was later transferred into the accounts of state firms close to Milosevic, from where it disappeared. [The Sunday Times]
Monday, 16 April, 2001: Libya is trying to extinguish the Western image of it as a pariah state and become an oasis for Britons seeking hooligan-free sunshine and culture without queues. A plan to develop tourism in Libya is being implemented by the country's Tourism Investment and Promotion Board. A source at the board said Libya was keen to welcome tourists from the UK. Libya even hired a British consultancy. Jim Fletcher, 47, who recently completed work on the project, said: "Our 20-year forecast came up with a figure of just over one million visitors by 2020." Around 60,000 tourists a year now travel to Libya ... most of [them] come from France, Italy and Germany," said Fletcher. [The Observer]
Sunday, 15 April, 2001: Libyan radio says the whole country is in mourning for the fifteenth anniversary of the American bombing of Tripoli Sunday. People wore black and put black bandages on cars and buses, and the national flag was lowered to half-mast. A five minute silence was observed at midday. The US launched air strikes against Libya to retaliate for what it said was Libya's support for international terrorism in particular a bomb attack on a West Berlin nightclub frequented by US servicemen. Over one hundred Libyans were thought to have been killed, including the infant adopted daughter of Colonel Qadhafi. [BBC]
Sunday, 15 April, 2001: Libyan civil societies and scholars are now touring in groups in various African countries to promote the African Union. The tour will reach northern, southern, eastern, western and central African states. A Libyan Embassy Information Attache, Youssif Bashir has told the media in Dar Es-Salaam that groups are now traveling Africa to share ideas and strategies on how best the union could be promoted with fellow Africans. [Tomric Agency]
Human Rights Solidarity's Letter to British Foreign Minister Cook

Saturday, 14 April, 2001: Guo Boxiong, executive deputy chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, met in Beijing Friday with Hamdi Swaihli, chief of staff of Libyan Navy. Guo said that China and Libya share identical or similar views in many international and regional issues. He said that Sino-Libyan relations have developed smoothly, and with the joint efforts, he believes that the military relations between the two countries would develop further. Guo expressed gratitude for Libyan government's adherence to One-China principle and its support in the human rights issue. He also reaffirmed China's stance on the Lockerbie issue. [Xinhua]

Friday, 13 April, 2001: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak returned to Cairo Thursday following a brief visit to Libya for talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Egypt's state-run news agency MENA said. MENA said the two leaders discussed developments in the region, particularly the Arab-Israeli situation. They also discussed ways to bolster cooperation between the two neighbors. It gave no other details of the visit which lasted only several hours. [AFP]
Friday, 13 April, 2001: President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has met the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, on a visit to Tripoli. Officials said they discussed Mr Mubarak's recent trip to the United States and the clashes between Israel and the Palestinians. The Egyptian leader, who's on his first visit to Libya for nearly a year, is accompanied by several government ministers, including the Foreign Minister, Amr Musa. [BBC]
Friday, 13 April, 2001: Daewoo Construction Co. said yesterday that it will be able to collect $230 million in unpaid construction project fees from Libya. The company said its marketing president Lee Jung-koo called on Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi March 31 and was promised the payment. The company added that it has signed an agreement with Libya's finance ministry to be given first chance to build a hospital and a sewage facility amounting to $450 million. Daewoo hopes to win 4.2 trillion won ($3.1 billion) worth of contracts this year. [The Korea Herald]
Friday, 13 April, 2001: The International Deoband Conference on Wednesday called upon the Arab countries to expel the US forces from their territories immediately. The gathering proposed through a unanimous resolution, establishment of a united Islamic block to end dependency of Muslim countries on "Jewish sponsored" institutions like the UN. The conference flayed the economic sanctions against Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, terming them naked aggression against the Muslim ummah. In addition to a message from bin Laden, the conference has also heard of a message from Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi calling for Muslim unity. [Dawn & CNN]
Thursday, 12 April, 2001: Thirty-six states have ratified the African Union, according to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which means that the body dreamed up by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is close to becoming a reality. Six states that have ratified the necessary documents have yet to lodge them with the OAU. On Monday, Uganda became the latest state to submit ratification documents. "As soon as the last six ratification instruments are lodged with the (OAU) secretariat general, the judicial requirements for proclaiming the African Union will be fulfilled," OAU Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim said in a statement. [News24]
Thursday, 12 April, 2001: An article carried in Al-Shams, a principal newspaper in Libya, has strongly condemned the United States for its spy plane intruding into China's territorial airspace, hitting a Chinese fighter and leaving a Chinese pilot missing. The article pointed out that China is entirely justified in demanding that the US bear full responsibility for the mid-air collision incident and stop spy activities against China. It emphasized that the US could confuse right and wrong, but it may not force people all over the world to accept its sophistry. [People's Daily]
Wednesday, 11 April, 2001: A relative of one of the passengers killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 urged all sides to wait for the final verdict before passing any judgment on the case. "The right position now is to wait and see the appeals process," Jim Swire said Sunday at the conclusion of a two-day Arab League conference at which the initial trial verdict was bitterly criticized. On Jan. 31, a Scottish court in the Netherlands convicted Libyan Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi and sentenced him to life imprisonment for planting the bomb that blew up the jet over Lockerbie. The court acquitted his co-defendant, Lamen Fhimah of all charges. A statement at the end of the conference strongly condemned the verdict and asked for al-Megrahi's release. It said al-Megrahi was convicted "solely on political grounds." But Swire, a spokesman for a group of some of the victims' relatives, said the main concern remains finding the truth behind the disaster. [AP]
Wednesday, 11 April, 2001: Several speakers on the second day of an international conference of conservative Sunni scholars and clerics called for greater solidarity to fight "western aggression against Islam." The three-day conference opened in Peshawer, Pakistan Monday. Amid emotional chants of Allahu-Akbar (God is the greatest), Libyan scholar Mohammad Abdullah demanded a "jihad (holy war) against anti-Muslim forces." Witnesses said around 200,000 people, mostly Pakistani fundamentalists, thronged the venue some 10 kilometers (six miles) outside Peshawar. Organisers put the number at more than a million. Delegates from Saudi Arabia, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Qatar, Afghanistan, India, the United States, Britain, South Africa, Iran, Iraq and China were taking part. Several Muslim rulers including Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and Taliban chief Omar were invited, but conference officials have said "no head of state is attending." [AFP]
Tuesday, 10 April, 2001: A prominent Mauritanian opposition leader has been arrested on charges of inciting sabotage and terrorism in coordination with Libya, a top security official said Monday. Mohammed Amin Ahmed, State Security director, told United Press International that Sheikh Maa al-Aynain, who heads the Popular Front Party (PFP), was arrested Sunday night and will be "interrogated over activities by some groups under his command whom he was inciting to carry out sabotage and terrorist actions in coordination with Libya." Ahmed refused to provide further details about the group's links to Libya. A PFP official confirmed the arrest and said al-Aynain was seized from his home and was taken to the State Security Directorate. [UPI]
Tuesday, 10 April, 2001: The Arab League said on Monday that Libya has the right to be compensated for losses resulted from the United Nations economic sanctions. Speaking to a conference on the Lockerbie issue, Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdel-Meguid said that he has informed U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the U.N. Security Council of the Arab stand. The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Libya in 1992 on charges of its involvement in the 1988 bombing of a U.S. Pan Am flight over Lockerbie. The sanctions were suspended in August 1999 after Libya handed over two Libyan suspects for trial. [Xinhua]
Tuesday, 10 April, 2001: Former South African President Nelson Mandela on Sunday pledged to continue his mediation efforts as Libya seeks to lift the U.N. sanctions imposed on it after the Lockerbie bombing, Libyan television said. Mandela was instrumental in convincing Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to hand over two Libyans suspected of the 1988 bombing of Pan American flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland for trial in the Netherlands. Libyan television said Mandela told Qadhafi he would pursue "efforts to make other parties concerned with Lockerbie fulfill their pledges." It showed footage of Qadhafi greeting Mandela outside a tent in the garden of his official residence in Tripoli before they held talks in the tent. [CNN]
Tuesday, 10 April, 2001: Australia have scored the most comprehensive victory in the history of soccer internationals by beating Tonga 22-0 in Oceania's first round of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup finals. The previous record was held by Iran who beat Guam 19-0 in Asia's first round of World Cup qualifying last October. A FIFA spokesman said there were "rumours" that Libya had beaten Oman 21-0 in an international in 1966 but this was unconfirmed. [Reuters]

Monday, 9 April, 2001: The Tripoli-based African Centre for Applied Research and Training in Social Development is organising a two-day meeting beginning Tuesday on 'AIDS Challenges in North Africa Countries'. The main focus of the Tripoli meeting will be to examine the impact of the pandemic on the development of North African countries. According to the centre's director, Dr. Ahmed Al-Fitouri, participants would assess national strategies for sensitisation, prevention and combating the incurable disease so as to formulate a joint sub-regional programme to curb its further spread by exposing all its mysteries. [PANA]
Monday, 9 April, 2001: Cape Verde Foreign Minister, Inocencio Sousa said his country would ratify the African Union Constitutive Act before the OAU's 37th Summit scheduled for July in Lusaka, Zambia. Describing the Union as "an irreversible political reality," the Minister explained that the ratification of the Act by his country had been delayed by the recent presidential and legislative elections. Some [35] OAU member countries have now ratified the Act, which requires the ratification by two-thirds or 36 of the 53 members to go into force, following the Union's proclamation at the Organisation's 1-2 March Summit in Sirte, Libya. [PANA]

Sunday, 8 April, 2001: A United Nations observer at the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing has said the judgment appeared to be politically influenced. Speaking at a conference on the trial at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Austrian philosophy Professor Hans Koschler said there appeared to be pressure from the USA and UK. Prof Koschler was one of five people appointed to observe the trial held at the Scottish Court in Camp Zeist in the Netherlands. Prof Koschler, who said his views were his own and not those of the United Nations, said: "The present judgment is logically inconsistent. "You cannot come out with a verdict of guilty for one and innocent for the other when they were both being tried with the same evidence."In my opinion, there seemed to be considerable political influence on the judges and the verdict. "My guess is that it came from the United States and the United Kingdom. This was my impression." The Innsbruck University professor said he had submitted his report on the trial to UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, who had forwarded it to the Scottish authorities. [BBC]
Sunday, 8 April, 2001: Thirty-five countries have ratified a treaty for an [African Union] leaving the proposal of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi just one vote shy of approval, Libya's [African Unity Minister] said in remarks published Saturday. Ali Treki did not list the countries that have signed the treaty, and it was not possible to confirm the figure with the Addis Ababa headquarters of the Organization of African Unity [OAU]. But Tanzania said this week it had become the 34th state to ratify the agreement. Two-thirds of the OAU's 53 nations, or 36 states, must ratify the treaty before it can take effect. "All we need is the ratification of one more state before we can officially announce the union," Treki told the Libyan newspaper Ash-Shams. [AP]

Saturday, 7 April, 2001: Today marks the 25th anniversary of "7 April, 1976", when hundreds of students in the University of Tripoli and the University of Benghazi were arrested after a fight with pro-Qadhafi elements which answered al-Qadhafi's call for cleansing the schools from anti-revolution elements and attacked the two schools and established the first of the Revolutionary Committees that took control of the two schools and other institutions. Click here for details.
Saturday, 7 April, 2001: Preparations are underway for convening the 7th session of the Libyan-Egyptian higher joint committee in Tripoli very soon. Arab diplomatic sources said that some 23 draft projects will be submitted to the committee. The sources noted that these agreements include signing three protocols on co-operation between the ministry of defense, economy and foreign trade in Egypt and the Libyan ministry of the economy and trade and a protocol provides for the establishment of a joint fishing company and a co-operation agreement in the area of land transport and mailing. [Arabic News]
Friday, 6 April, 2001: Italian foreign minister Lamberto Dini said Thursday that he was "very satisfied" of the good relations existing between Italy and Libya. Speaking at a news conference to end his brief Tunisian visit, Dini commended the fact that over the past few years, Rome and Tripoli have been able "to turn over a new leaf and look into the future." He said the meetings he has had with the Libyan authorities have made it possible to restore the good relations between the two countries, adding that he felt it was important for Italy, Libya and Tunisia to work together on many issues. "The gradual integration of Libya into the regional context, both in the Maghreb and in the Euro-Mediterranean, is a goal that we share with Tunisia," Dini said. [PANA]
Friday, 6 April, 2001: South Africa is preparing to strengthen its ties with Libya by opening an embassy in Tripoli for the first time. The move has prompted the U.S. State Department to reiterate its concerns regarding Libya to the South African government. "As South Africa pursues closer ties with Libya, we hope that South African officials will continue compliance with the relevant U.N. Security Council regulations regarding Libya, and that they will encourage Libya to accept responsibility and to pay proper compensation to the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing," said Gregg Sullivan, deputy spokesman for the Office of Near Eastern Affairs. [CNS]

Thursday, 5 April, 2001: Libyans in North America will be demonstrating Friday in commemoration of the April 7th, 1976, when hundreds of students in the University of Tripoli and the University of Benghazi were arrested after a fight with pro-Qadhafi elements which answered al-Qadhafi's call for cleansing the schools from anti-revolution elements and attacked the two universities and established the first of the Revolutionary Committees that took control of the two schools and other institutions. A member of the April Demonstration Organizing Committee said "the demonstration will be held in front of the Libyan mission to the U.N. offices in New York Friday, 6 April, from 10:00 AM to 01:00 PM." For more information, please click here.
Thursday, 5 April, 2001: Sierra Leone Ambassador to Libya, Dr. Mohamed Samura, has been implicated in the scandalous embezzlement of thousands of dollars offered by both the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the British High commission to about 160 stranded Sierra Leonean Refugees in Tripoli, Libya. Reports say that following the outbreak of public resentment and outcry against Sierra Leonean refugees in Libya, the latter had no alternative but to seek redress at the UNHCR office and to the British high Commission, H.E. Richard Dalton both of whom promised to assist financially, pending evacuation to a third country. To their great shock the refugees who have now been repatriated to Sierra Leone failed to receive the promised financial assistance. [Standard Times]
Wednesday, 4 April, 2001: Libya plans to take part in Dubai's Arab Travel Fair billed for May, with a view to marketing investment opportunities available in its tourism industry. The Tunisian Ashourouk newspaper quoted a top Libyan official as hinting that the Dubai Tourism and Trade Promotion Department and the Libyan Tourism Authority would discuss cooperation between them. The paper further noted that Italy would be the first to invest under Libya's new 2 billion US dollar five-year tourism plan when it builds a tourism complex at Villa Sbeleen, 90 km east of Tripoli. Libya has formed a central committee to examine the launch of festivals in archaeological sites the likes of Jordan's Jerash and Tunisia's Carthage. [PANA]
Tuesday, 3 April, 2001: The 30th edition of the Tripoli International Trade Fair opened Monday and will continue until 12 April. With 34 countries attending, this year's edition marks a record since the lifting of sanctions imposed against Libya over the Lockerbie affair. Libyan official sources said the sanctions took a heavy toll on the national economy and caused losses estimated at over 26 billion US dollars. Maghreb and Machrek nations such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria are largely represented at the fair. Companies from the European Union are also strongly represented, with no less than 74 from Italy, 66 from France, 40 from the United Kingdom and 33 from Germany. The massive presence of Italian companies at the Tripoli fair reaffirms the role of Italy, Libya's major economic partner in Europe, as a bridge between Europe and Libya, said a diplomat at the Italian embassy who attended the opening ceremony. [PANA]

Monday, 2 April, 2001: Libyan diplomats have been told to cease attacks on opponents of Col Qadhafi after the country's cultural attache to Britain lunged with a metal shelf at a leading dissident following a college lecture in London. The instruction was issued by Mohamed al-Zwai, the ambassador to London. "We have decided to turn a new page, working under the law as civilised people who need to co-operate with Britain. We will not allow any person to make trouble in this age." al-Zwai said. He said the cultural attache, Bel-Eid al-Mishri, had been sent back to Tripoli, along with his cousin, the consul-general, Miloud Esmaida, reducing Libya's diplomatic representation in Britain to five. The attache was seen striking Ashur al-Shamis [photo], an opponent of the Libyan leader, with his fist and a loose metal shelf following a lecture on rehabilitating Libya. The attack, at the School of Oriental and African Studies last week, sent shockwaves through Britain's 12,000-strong Libyan community, and made them fearful that Col Qadhafi could launch a new terror campaign against opponents in exile. [The Telegraph]

Sunday, 1 April, 2001: An International Criminal Court (ICC) capable of trying suspects on genocide and war crimes charges should be ready in the Hague by next year, one of its key advocates said on Saturday. But Philippe Kirsch, chairman of the ICC's preparatory commission and the driving force behind the court, told Reuters that it would not be able to try crimes committed prior to the court's creation. Sixty countries must ratify the statute for the court to come into being. Among those that have already done so are G7 powers Germany, Italy, France and Canada but the glaring absentee from the list is the United States, one of only seven countries including China and Libya, which voted against the statute in Rome. [Reuters]
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