News and Views [ June 2000 ]

Click here for today's news

Friday: 30 June, 2000: A Libyan on trial for murdering 270 people in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing was in Malta on the date he is alleged to have planted the bomb on a plane there, prosecutors said on Thursday. The court was shown passports, hotel registration cards and invoices which the prosecution said confirmed that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, travelling under a false identity, stayed at the Holiday Inn, Malta on the night of December 20, 1988 and checked out on December 21. Pan Am flight 103 blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie as it was on its way from London to New York on December 21, 1988. Prosecutor Alastair Campbell called on witness Doreen Caruana, who worked at the Holiday Inn in Sliema, Malta, to identify registration cards and invoices showing Megrahi, using the name Abdusamad, stayed there overnight on December 20. [Reuters]
Friday: 30 June, 2000: Libya is investigating 17 bankers over charges of providing loans to individuals who did not qualify for such loans. [al-Hayat / BBC-MS]
Friday: 30 June, 2000: Armenia has established diplomatic relations with Libya at the level of embassies, ITAR-TASS has learnt from the press service of the republic's Foreign Ministry. A joint communique was signed in New York by the two countries' permanent envoys to the United Nations. They were confident that the establishment of diplomatic relations would boost ties and cooperation between Armenia and Libya. [BBC-MS]

Libya-On-Line: ""

Thursday: 29 June, 2000: Togo, host of July's Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit, expects as many as 45 presidents or heads of government to attend, including Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who is helping to fund the event. Libya has helped pay for the renovation of Togo's Hotel 2 Fevrier and the construction of bungalows nearby, where the summit attendees will stay, one government member said. Officials said that Qadhafi was also expected to airlift in 100 Mercedes limousines with drivers to help with the summit transport. The officials said Qadhafi, who rallied leaders in 1999 around his idea for the creation of an African Union similar to the European Union, would not stay with the other heads of state, but would pitch his personal tent near the sea. [Reuters]
Thursday: 29 June, 2000: The United States will export, with some limitations, food and medicines to Cuba as a result of a compromise reached by House of Representatives Republicans early Tuesday morning. George Nethercutt (Rep.-WA) maintained that the initiative, which he sponsored, represented a big change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. He added that the measure gave new hope to U.S. farmers by opening a seven billion dollar market, in reference to the elimination of sanctions banning the sale of agricultural products to Iran, Libya, Sudan and North Korea. [Agencia EFE]
Thursday: 29 June, 2000: Prosecutors at the Lockerbie bombing trial on Wednesday picked at claims by a key defence witness that timers he made for his Swiss firm were sold to the former East Germany's Stasi secret police. Questioning Ueli Lumpert, an engineer with the Swiss company MEBO, whose MST- 13 timer is said to have triggered the bomb on Pan Am flight 103, prosecutors focused on inconsistencies between accounts he gave in police interviews after the attack. Lumpert, who worked for MEBO from 1978 to 1994, said that, despite being asked about the timers in three interviews after 1990, it was not a until a fourth in October 1993 that he said he thought MEBO had supplied MST-13 timers to East Germany. Until then, he "didn't remember" about it, Lumpert insisted. Defence lawyers for the two Libyans, who chose not to cross examine Lumpert, are seeking to pin the bombing on Palestinians with Stasi links. [Reuters]
Thursday: 29 June, 2000: Libyan secretary general of the people's committee for the media, information and culture, Fawzeyah Shalabi, met Monday evening in Tripoli with the chairman of the South media group in Senegal Babaker Thawri. The group runs more than 14 radio and TV stations. The two sides discussed the possibility of setting up a united African satellite station that serves the African continent. [ArabicNews]

Wednesday: 28 June, 2000: Four Libyans deported by Pakistan could face torture or death in Libya, a London-based Islamic lobby group said on Tuesday. "The Pakistani authorities took a step in contradiction with international norms and treaties by handing four Libyans to the Libyan regime on Monday," the Islamic Observation Centre said in a statement. "The four men may face torture or death in Libya." Referring to three of them by their first names only, the statement said Youssef Khalifa, Abdul Salam (Omran), Nugaid and Khattab, all in their 30s, were staying legally in Pakistan. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 28 June, 2000: The man whose firm supplied the timer which triggered the Lockerbie bomb was suspected of having links with terrorist organisations including the IRA and ETA, a court has heard. However, the trial of the two Libyans accused of the 1988 bombing heard that these links were not established. The allegation came as witnesses who were described as former members of the East German secret police, the Stasi, gave evidence at the trial at the Scottish court in the Netherlands. The men detailed links between their organisation and Edwin Bollier, co-owner of Zurich-based firm Mebo, which delivered 20 of his MST-13 timers to the Libyan secret service in 1985. [BBC]
Wednesday: 28 June, 2000: Egypt and Libya are greatly interested in enhancing their trade and economic links, said Egypt's new ambassador to Tripoli. " Ties between the two countries are special and important in view of the attachments that bring them together," added Hani Khalaf, who is due to leave for Tripoli in early July to start his tour of duty. [The Egyptian Gazette]
Tuesday: 27 June, 2000: The U.S. National Visa Center has registered and notified the winners of the DV-2001 diversity lottery. Thirty four Libyans were among the winners. The diversity lottery makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Applicants registered for the DV-2001 program were selected at random from the approximately 11 million qualified entries received during the one-month application period that ran from noon on October 4, 1999 through noon on November 3, 1999. [M2]
Tuesday: 27 June, 2000: Foreign ministers and senior officials from Muslim countries began arriving on Monday in Kuala Lumpur for a four-day conference expected to discuss Kashmir, Chechnya and the southern Philippines. The meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which begins Tuesday, will also debate ways to counter Western stereotypes that brand Islamic nations as backward and in constant conflict, organizers say. A committee comprising Somalia, Senegal, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia would be set up to seek a peaceful settlement of the insurgency in the Philippine province of Mindanao. [The Times of India]
Monday: 26 June, 2000: The Libyan leader, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has launched a £7m bid to lure British boxer Prince Naseem Hamed to fight in Tripoli. Hamed's management team, including Riath, his brother and business manager, are understood to have carried out the initial negotiations with Qadhafi's son, head of the Libyan Olympic Committee. A spokesman for SFX, Hamed's agents, confirmed that an approach had been made. According to Libyan sources, negotiations for the fight have foundered on the issue of Hamed's regular fight sponsor, Budweiser, "the King of Beers". In Libya, the drinking of alcohol is strictly forbidden. [The Sunday Times]
Sunday: 25 June, 2000: Former leader of the Austrian freedom party Yorg Haider announced that he held economic talks with Libyan officials during his visit to Libya which lasted for two days. AFP quoted Haider as saying in a statement to the Austrian TV and News agency ABA upon his arrival back from Libya that the talks dealt in particular with the banking sector and timber trade, noting that there is a large market in Libya. Haider indicated that he did not meet with the Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and described Qadhafi as an element for stability in the northern part of central Africa. He stressed that he will invite Qadhafi to visit Korenthi province, Southern Austria. [ArabicNews]
Saturday: 24 June, 2000: The Lockerbie trial has heard that a Swiss businessman who supplied the timer which triggered the bomb had collaborated with the East German secret police. The Scottish court in the Netherlands was told that Edwin Bollier, 62, was given cash advances of more than one million Swiss francs during the 1970s and 1980s for equipment he later supplied to the Stasi. Richard Keen QC, representing al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, described Mr Bollier as having "spied and collaborated" with the Stasi. Mr Bollier said: "This is not spying, it's just organising a manual they could not get themselves." [BBC]
Friday: 23 June, 2000: A businessman who allegedly supplied the timer which detonated the Lockerbie bomb has told a court how he wrote to American intelligence, blaming the Libyans for the atrocity. In the letter to the Central Intelligence Agency, Edwin Bollier told how the bomb, which blew up Pan Am Flight 103 and killed 270 people, had been placed in a suitcase. He also said he had phoned Libya shortly after the attack as he thought it was responsible. Mr Bollier told the Scottish court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands that shortly after the bombing happened he was visited at his offices by a mystery man who instructed him to write to the CIA. Mr Bollier linked Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi and another man Abdullah al-Sunussi to the disaster in his letter. But the 62-year-old said he "made up" the letter, describing it as "pure fantasy" [BBC]
Friday: 23 June, 2000: Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will visit Morocco by the end of this month after the Moroccan King returns from his current visit to Washington. The visit of the Libyan President to Morocco is considered the first under the rule of King Muhammad 6th. Well-informed sources said talks between the Moroccan king and al-Qadhafi will deal with several issues of concern to the two states, foremost being Morocco's return back to the membership of the Organization of African Unity . Morocco had withdrawn from this organization in protest of the OAU recognition of the Polisario front. [ArabicNews]
Thursday: 22 June, 2000: The prosecution team in the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing had considered charging a Swiss businessman in connection with the attack. The revelation came as Edwin Bollier faced further questions at the trial in the Netherlands. Advocate Depute, Allan Turnbull QC, said charging Mr Bollier with conspiracy to cause the bombing in which 270 people died had been an option considered by the prosecution. Mr Turnbull then said that just because Mr Bollier had not been charged did not mean he was not involved. The businessman, a partner in the company Mebo, has been giving evidence about how he travelled from Libya to Malta the day before the Lockerbie disaster in December 1988. David Burns, for the defence, said that if the Crown planned to inquire further about Mr Bollier's movements and suggested he was a co-conspirator they would be forced to object as they had not been given notice of that position. [BBC]
Thursday: 22 June, 2000: Right-wing Austrian leader Joerg Haider traveled to Libya on Wednesday with a business delegation to improve relations in tourism and learn more about a Libyan water project, media reported. Haider and a delegation from the tourism, oil and pipe building sectors arrived in Tripoli to ``lead the way towards concrete economic cooperation,'' the Austria Press Agency reported Wednesday. It was the second time in two months that Haider visited the Libyan capital. In May, Haider made an unofficial visit to Tripoli, where he met with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. On Wednesday, Libyan state media were reporting on the ``official'' visit of the governor of the southern Austrian province of Carinthia, the Austria Press Agency said. [AP]
Wednesday: 21 June, 2000: An international conference on energy and water desalination will be held today in Tripoli with participation of experts of the World Conference on Energy and Desalination, representatives of UNESCO and Libyan universities. Experts will exchange views on issues related to desalination through the use of economical energy, waste water recycling and renovation of water treatment plants, the Libyan independent daily "al-Shams" said quoting Pan African news agency (PANA). [ArabicNews]
Wednesday: 21 June, 2000: Indonesia has canceled a planned gathering this week of Muslim leaders such as Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi because the heads of state were too busy, the Antara news agency reported on Tuesday. Antara quoted Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab, speaking in Cairo during an overseas trip by President Abdurrahman Wahid, as saying the government would try to hold a similar event in the future. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 21 June, 2000: The defense in the Lockerbie bombing trial Monday accused the co-owner of a Swiss firm said to have supplied a timer used in the explosion of covering up a possible link with Palestinian terrorists. Prosecutors say a timer sold by the Swiss firm Mebo to Libya triggered the 1988 explosion that downed Pan Am Flight 103, killing 270 people. But the defense pointed the finger at Palestinians with links with former communist East Germany's Stasi secret police. Mebo co-owner Erwin Meister acknowledged under intense cross examination that Mebo had a long history of supplying espionage equipment to the Stasi and sold timers to East Germany as well as to Libya. Meister also conceded that he and business partner Edwin Bollier did not tell police investigators during initial questioning that they had supplied timers to the Stasi. But he said that was just an oversight. "You concealed from the authorities that Mebo had supplied MST timers to the Stasi," defense lawyer David Burns told Meister. "That is why you accused Libya, to deflect attention away from the PLFP-GC." [CNN]
Wednesday: 21 June, 2000: Libya bought 20 detonation timers from a Swiss company in 1985 and used them to explode bombs in desert trials, the co-owner of the firm told the Lockerbie trial on Tuesday. Prosecutors say one of the timers sold by Swiss firm Mebo set off the fireball that destroyed Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. Mebo co-owner Edwin Bollier said he witnessed tests in the Sabha desert of timers he had sold to members of the Libyan military security service in 1985. "I was present when two such timers were included in bomb cylinders," he told prosecutor Alan Turnbull. "Yes, aircraft bombs were detonated," Bollier said, according to the court's English-language translation of his testimony in German. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 21 June, 2000: The co-owner of a Swiss firm suspected of supplying a timer for the bomb that blew up Pan Am flight 103 told the Lockerbie trial on Tuesday circuit board fragments found by investigators may have been tampered with. Prosecutors say one of the timers sold by Swiss firm Mebo set off the fireball that demolished the airliner in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. ``They have been modified, I swear they have been modified,'' Mebo co-owner Edwin Bollier said after peering through a magnifying glass at charred fragments from a circuit board prosecutors said was found among the debris of the Boeing 747. Bollier said his firm did not necessarily supply the timer and the fragments could have come from counterfeit copies. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 21 June, 2000: Government and opposition newspapers in Egypt are criticizing more or less openly what they call the inheritance of power in Syria, which they say could pave the way for similar successions in Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Some here even raised fears the Syrian model may be followed in Egypt, despite denials by President Hosni Mubarak, 72, that he is grooming his younger son Gamal, 38, to succeed him. Playing a prominent role in Iraq are the two sons of President Saddam Hussein, Uday and Qussay. In Yemen, there is Ahmad, the son of President Ali Abdallah Saleh, and in Libya, there are Saadi and Seif Al-Islam, the sons of Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. "Itís in Damascus that the phenomenon of coups started in 1949 in the Arab world, and itís Damascus which today is giving people the idea that power can be inherited in a republic," al-Wafd newspaper said Sunday. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 20 June, 2000: Iran, Libya and North Korea are rogues no longer, the U.S. State Department has decided. Now they're just ``states of concern'', U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a radio interview. ``Some of those countries aren't as bad as they used to be. They say: 'We've done some stuff so why are you still calling us a rogue state?''' one State Department official said. Or, as State Department spokesman Richard Boucher put it more carefully on Monday: ``It's just a recognition that we have seen some evolution in different ways in different places, and that we will deal appropriately with each one based on the kind of evolution we're seeing.'' [Reuters]
Tuesday: 20 June, 2000: British police are to fly to Libya to question the suspects in the 1984 killing of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, it is reported. The 25-year-old was killed by a shot fired from the Libyan Embassy in London, as she policed a demonstration outside. Those inside the embassy were given diplomatic immunity after a brief stand-off. According to The Sun, anti-terrorist officers are now heading to Libya after diplomatic relations were restored. It is reported that Tripoli has agreed to co-operate in tracking down of the embassy staff - in particular chief intelligence officer Moustfa Mghirbi. Scotland Yard has refused to discuss the case but the paper claims a team of detectives is being prepared. Fletcher's family was paid £250,000 by Libya's Colonel Qadhafi last year Ė seen by many as a tacit admission of guilt. [Sky News]
Tuesday: 20 June, 2000: The Lockerbie trial has heard further evidence allegedly linking one of the accused and a Swiss company which made the timer believed to have detonated the fatal blast. One of Swiss firm Mebo's owners, Edwin Bollier, detailed the way it established links with Libya. He said Mebo had sold a vessel which had been used as a pirate radio station in the North Sea to the Libyans and had supplied electronic equipment to Libyan organisations, including the secret service. He went on to say how MEBO had devised an improvised detonation device for a bomb in a suitcase, based on an electronic pager. [BBC]
Tuesday: 20 June, 2000: An American woman has accused the Libyan embassy in Malta of helping her former Libyan partner abduct her son and take him to Libya. Tracy Pohlkamp of Milwaukee told the Maltese press Monday that her estranged Libyan partner Mohammed escaped from Malta with their six-year-old son Fouad eight months ago and she had not been able to contact the boy since. A Libyan embassy official told the Maltese Times newspaper that the allegations were untrue and the embassy had nothing to do with the case. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 20 June, 2000: Poland, backed by a decade of post-communist freedom, will host an unprecedented conference of 100 countries next week on the theme of democracy and how to make it work. Those attending will include Russia, Ukraine and Indonesia. But the world's remaining major communist state China has not been invited. Likewise missing were Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Malaysia and the former Soviet republic of Belarus. [AFP]
Monday: 19 June, 2000: Sudanese sources said that Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries agreed on a U.S. proposal for discussing the status of Sudan and the proper formula for merging the Egyptian - Libyan initiatives and IGAD to achieve the national reconciliation. The sources clarified that IGAD partners and U.S. officials will convene in Oslo the day after tomorrow on the margin of the European group's meetings to create the basis for merging the two initiatives to achieve agreement on the anticipated discussions of principles declaration. []
Sunday: 18 June, 2000: Five international companies presented special offers to establish and run several factories for car assembly in Libya. 14 international companies received the projects specifications which is coordinated and supervised by the Egyptian company Becorb. The five companies are the Italian 'Fiat', the French 'Renault' and 'Peugeot - Stroen', the South Korean 'Daewo' which currently assemble cars in Libya in addition to 'Hyundai' and it is also expected that 2 other European companies would present offers to the Libyan authorities. It is expected that the Becorb company would finish consideration of offers and narrowing the list of contenders to implement the projects by August. []
Sunday: 18 June, 2000: Sudanese Minister of Justice Ali Mohammed Yasin asserted that there is a trend for creating unity and integration with Egypt in the framework of the joint defense agreement after which to consider elevating the relation to higher levels. He told ArabicNews that the integration with Egypt guarantees the Arab national project, clarifying that in case of the success of the unity with Egypt, adding Libya to this unity will be discussed. []

Saturday: 17 June, 2000: Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Friday said Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi would visit Indonesia to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad in Jakarta later this month. Wahid confirmed that Qadhafi had accepted his invitation to attend the celebrations on June 22 in the Indonesian capital. "On June 22 the Libyan leader will come to Jakarta to commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad," Wahid said during a press conference with Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf. Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab earlier told the Antara news agency in Tehran that Wahid had asked Qadhafi to attend the commemoration at Jakarta's state Merdeka palace. [AFP]
Saturday: 17 June, 2000: The owner of the Swiss manufacturer of a timer said to have been used in the Lockerbie bombing identified on Friday one of the accused Libyans as someone he had done business with. Erwin Meister, co-owner of Mebo Ltd, told the murder trial of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al- Amin Khalifa Fahima that he recognised Megrahi from several meetings in Tripoli and Zurich before the 1988 bombing. Giving evidence before a special Scottish court in the Netherlands, he also said that in 1985 his company sold Libya 20 sample timers with a MST-13 circuit board -- the type prosecutors have linked to the attack. It was the first time in the trial, which began last month, that the prosecution had sought to link the timer with Libya or the timer manufacturer and the accused. Prosecutors did not make any direct link between Megrahi and the timer. [Reuters]
Saturday: 17 June, 2000: The Air Force of Zimbabwe has purchased three Mig 23 fighter planes from long-time ally Libya and has also sent for military training at least 400 officers to the North African state to boost its manpower, the Zimbabwe Independent learnt this week. Defence sources said this was part of a wider plan to consolidate the strength of the air force whose resources have been depleted by the Congo war. The Ministry of Defence has however denied such moves and in the process warned the Independent of the provisions of the Official Secrets Act. Military intelligence sources this week said the so-called Sadc allied forces were already using eight Mig 23s leased to them by the Libyans. The sources earlier this month said the Zimbabweans, who had been in talks with the Libyans for over six months, had now concluded a deal which involved the acquisition of three second-hand aircraft which were surplus to Libya's needs. [The Zimbabwe Independent]
Friday: 16 June, 2000: Spain and Libya will reinforce industrial and cultural ties with projects in petroleum, agriculture, fishing, tourism, telecommunications, and education, their foreign ministers said Thursday. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgham and his Spanish counterpart Josep Pique made the announcement during a joint press conference at the start of Shalgham's visit to Madrid, the first by a senior Libyan official since 1995. Pique said he hoped that Spanish investments in Libya, now concentrated in the petroleum sector, "will continue, increase, and diversify towards other sectors." Spanish firms, he noted, are already actors in Libya's agricultural development, and are also involved in the fields of fishing, tourism, and telecommunications.[AFP]
Friday: 16 June, 2000: Many of the human rights crises we continue to witness throughout the world could be prevented if the international community had human rights at the top of its agenda, Amnesty International said as it released its annual report. The report documents extrajudicial executions in 38 countries; judicial executions in 31 countries; prisoners of conscience in at least 61countries; cases of torture and ill-treatment in 132 countries and "disappearances" in 37 countries. However, Amnesty International believes that the true figures for all these statistics are much higher. The imposition of the death penalty and executions remained widespread in several countries, including Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen. [M2]
Thursday: 15 June, 2000: Relations between Libya and Italy and key issues concerning both countries topped the agenda of talks here Wednesday between Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini and his Libyan counterpart Abdulrahman Shalgam. The Italian Foreign Ministry in its communique said that the two men focused on the state of implementation of Joint Statement of July 1988, especially concerning the procedures for ratifying memoranda of agreement signed in November last year on assistance for education, cooperation in the orthopedic field, medical help for Libyans in need of treatment, historical research into Libyans deported during the colonial period, prospects on an agreement to get rid of mines, and economic cooperation. [Xinhua]
Thursday: 15 June, 2000: They have been educated in the finest schools of the West, not the heated conflicts of the Middle East. They are more likely to worry about crashing computers than crushing a coup. They execute Palm Pilot commands, not their opponents. They are the sons of Arab leaders who, like Bashar Assad, are moving to inherit the mantle of power from their fathers. Bashar Assad may not be the last. In the other Arab republics of Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, a younger generation also is poised to take the reins of power. ''This phenomenon reflects the personalized style of politics in this part of the world,'' said Hisham Melhem, a political commentator for TV and newspapers in the Middle East. But, he added, it also reflects ''weak political systems'' that have yet to produce representative democracies. [The Boston Globe]
Thursday: 15 June, 2000: Libyan Airlines resumed its flights to Tunis Tuesday, after almost eight years of interruption due to the UN-imposed embargo against Tripoli in 1992. A Libyan Airlines Airbus A-320 landed Tuesday evening at the Tunis-Carthage International airport, with 149 passengers on board, including ranking officials. The Libyan delegation, led by Mohamed Bouzayane, director of Civil Aviation, was met the Tunisian transport minister, Houcine Chouk, and Tunis Air officials. During Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's recent visit to Libya, he agreed with Libyan Leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi "to immediately restore" flights between Tunis and Tripoli with a view "to facilitating the movement of persons and goods" between the two neighbours. Tunis Air resumed flights to Libya Thursday last week. [PANA]
Wednesday: 14 June, 2000: Judges at the Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands have announced several measures in response to defence complaints about translation facilities. Proceedings since the trial began on 3 May are to be translated into Arabic and copies given to the two Libyan men accused of the bombing in 1988. The presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, also said lawyers and witnesses should remember to speak slowly and interpreters had been told to signal if they could not keep up. A system is to be installed allowing translators to indicate with lights if they are falling behind. Proceedings are also to be tape-recorded, with the tapes checked against the court transcript to ensure accuracy. [BBC]
Wednesday: 14 June, 2000: A picture of a radio-cassette player loaded with 400 grams of Semtex, a timer and detonator was shown at the Lockerbie trial Tuesday to demonstrate how a bomb, which killed 270 people, was believed to have been hidden. A senior British forensic scientist told the special Scottish court, convened in the Netherlands for the trial of two Libyans accused of the 1988 bombing of a jumbo jet, that in his reconstruction of the bomb the radio-cassette recorder still worked and could have contained yet more explosive. "Within limits I could have put more in," Alan Feraday, former head of the forensic explosives laboratory at the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency in Kent, said. [CNN]
Tuesday: 13 June, 2000: A Spokesman for British victims of the Lockerbie bombing has appealed for immediate action to get the trial of the Libyans accused of the atrocity back on track. Dr Jim Swire said a row over translation which stalled the trial last week could reflect badly on the defence and prosecution teams and the United Nations. The three judges hearing the case at the special Scottish court in the Netherlands ordered an urgent inquiry after the Libyans' lawyers said poor translation meant the men could not fully understand proceedings. [BBC]
Monday: 12 June, 2000: Libya has announced a three-day national mourning period following the death Saturday of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. During this period flags will fly at half-mast, while the two television and radio stations in Libya will be broadcasting religious programmes in honour of al-Assad. Libya has also decided to postpone a Sunday ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the closure of US military bases from Libyan territory. [PANA]

Sunday: 11 June, 2000: Leaders in the Middle East and from around the world have been mourning the death of Syrian President, Hafez al-Assad. Around the Arab world, including the UAE, Qatar, Egypt, Libya, Kuwait, the Palestinian Authority, Morocco and Bahrain, a three-day mourning period was declared. Assad's son Bashar is widely expected to be Syria's next president. In a sign that he is now president-in-waiting, the Syrian parliament on Saturday voted to amend the constitution to lower the minimum age for presidential candidates from 40 to 34. [AP and BBC]
Sunday: 11 June, 2000: Irish farmers have welcomed the government's deal with Libya to restart shipments of live cattle.The re-opening of the trade comes as a result of a deal signed in Tripoli yesterday by Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen and his Libyan counterpart Abdul Rahman Shalgam. Cattle exports to Libya were worth IR£70 million annually in the early '90s, but came to a halt after the BSE scare. Speaking on his return from Libya, Mr Cowen said Ireland would be included in Libyan tenders for live cattle from now on. [Yahoo-UK]

Saturday: 10 June, 2000: The trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing has been thrown into question after lawyers acting for the two men said their clients could not fully understand proceedings. The men's legal teams said their clients had complained that they were receiving an "interpretation" of proceedings and not an exact account. The three judges hearing the trial of the two men at the specially established Scottish court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands then retired to consider the matter. [BBC]
Friday: 9 June, 2000: Egypt will try to solve a dispute between Bulgaria and Libya over the trial of six medical staff accused by Libya of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus, an Egyptian official said Thursday. ``We will do whatever we can to help both parties reach an amicable solution bearing in mind the seriousness of the accusations,'' Foreign Minister Amr Moussa told reporters after talks with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova. The six medics are charged with intentionally infecting 393 children with blood products contaminated with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, which the indictment says was part of an attempt to destabilize the state. [Reuters]
Thursday: 8 June, 2000: A British Iran expert said on Wednesday he trusted a report that Iran rather than Libya planned the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing, saying the Iranian dissident making the claim had been involved in international terrorism. CBS Television on Sunday quoted senior intelligence service defector Ahmad Behbahani, now being debriefed in Turkey by the CIA, as saying he could prove Iran trained Libyans to destroy Pan Am Flight 103. British peer Lord Avebury told Reuters in a telephone interview from London that a parliamentary report he wrote in 1996 named Behbahani as an Iranian official responsible for international terrorism. "He was at that time an official in (Akbar Hashemi) Rafsanjani's office, when Rafsanjani was president, who was responsible for links with the Ministry of Intelligence in planning and carrying out (attacks)," he said. [Reuters]
Thursday: 8 June, 2000: Contract papers for the construction of an Islamic University in Kano, sponsored by the government and people of Libya, have been signed in Kano. The Islamic University, Kano (I.U.K) which covers a stretch of 137 hectres of land and would gulp over $300 million is part of the fulfillment of the pledge, of the Libya leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, during his official visit to Kano state, in 1996, during the regime of late General Sani Abacha as head of State. At the ceremony, which was attended by officials of the construction firm, an Italian/Nigerian firm, A. G. Ferrari and the representative of the Libyan government, the World Islamic Call Society including the representatives of Kano state government, the Director of World Islamic Call Society, Kano, Alhaji Mohammed Ali Baawash, said the venture was as a result of the contribution of Libyan people. [This Day]
Thursday: 8 June, 2000: Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadejda Mikhailova held talks in Egypt Wednesday in an effort to drum up support for six Bulgarians currently on trial in Libya, but failed to see Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mikhailova met her Egyptian counterpart Amr Mussa and Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdel Meguid to discuss the case of the Bulgarians accused of deliberately infecting Libyan children with the HIV virus. Five Bulgarian nurses, along with a Bulgarian doctor and a Palestinian, are on trial in Libya charged with injecting 393 children with HIV at a pediatric hospital where they worked in the northern town of Benghazi. Twenty-three children have already died. Their trial began February 7 but has been delayed three times on defense lawyers' requests. [AFP]
Letters: 7 June, 2000 Iqtirahat New discussion board
Victory for LibyaQaddafi's e-mail Thank you Shaikh Saleh al-Sahli

Wednesday: 7 June, 2000: Both Iran and hardline Palestinian leader Ahmad Jibril denied Tuesday any link with Ahmad Behbahani, an Iranian defector who has accused them of being behind the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland. Iranian Minister of Intelligence Ali Yunessi called Behbahani's comments "another plot hatched by the Zionist regime and the United States to hide their multiple failures against Iran." Jibril, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, who Behbahani said staged the bombing at Tehran's instigation, also denied the allegations Tuesday on Radio Tehran. Two Libyans are on trial before Scottish judges in The Netherlands on charges they bombed the Pan Am airliner. [AFP]
Wednesday: 7 June, 2000: Tunisia's national airline Tunis Air will on Thursday resume regular flights to Tripoli after a suspension of almost eight years due to the U.N. embargo on Libya, a spokesman at Tunis Air said on Tuesday. "We decided to resume our regular flights to Libya from Thursday, following the agreement reached between President Ben Ali and Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi over the weekend in Tripoli," the spokesman told Reuters. Ben Ali ended on Sunday a 48-hour working visit to Libya to discuss ways to boost trade and investments between the two neighbours, both members of the dormant five-nation Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). [Reuters]
Wednesday: 7 June, 2000: The son of Colonel Qadhafi is set to play in the Champions League next season. Qadhafi's son, a left-sided midfielder, has signed for Maltese champions Birkirkara. He had been playing for the Libyan capital Tripoli side al-Ahli and is trained by banned sprinter Ben Johnson. The deal was done as al-Ahli toured Malta. [BBC]

Tuesday: 6 June, 2000: Defence lawyers at the Lockerbie trial have sniped at prosecution forensic witnesses in a bid to sow doubt over exactly how the Pan Am jumbo jet was blasted out of the air over Scotland in 1988. But a U.S. television report that the attack was masterminded by Iran, not Libya, overshadowed the highly technical in-court wrangling over explosives, baggage containers, suitcases and scraps of clothes that fell from the sky amid thousands of pieces of flaming debris. CBS television reported on Sunday that a senior Iranian intelligence service defector, now being debriefed in Turkey by the CIA, had said he had documents to prove Iran trained a group of Libyans to stage the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Iran was initially blamed for the attack, which killed all 259 people on board and 11 residents of the town of Lockerbie. It had vowed the skies would "rain blood" after a U.S. warship shot down an Iranian passenger plane six months earlier. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 6 June, 2000: Tunisia and Libya have appealed to rich developed countries to redouble their efforts to remove the debt burden which hinders Africa's development process. In a joint communiqu issued late Sunday in Tunis, the two neighbours also urged these countries to help the continent's programme of economic and social reforms and to fight poverty and marginalisation. According to the document issued at the end of Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's two-day visit to Tripoli, the Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has "expressed support to Ben Ali's appeal in favour of the creation of a world solidarity fund of which African peoples and others can take advantage." On his part, Ben Ali commended Qadhafi for his efforts to settle African conflicts and to end blood-letting between Africans. [PANA]
Tuesday: 6 June, 2000: "We as a people, owe an incredible debt of gratitude to the United Nations delegations of the Vatican and the countries of Algeria, Libya, Iran, Pakistan, and the Sudan. Were it not for these hold-out nations, the damage inflicted on human rights, liberty, and the family by the radical UN feminists would incalculable,`` stated Fr. Richard Welch, CSSR, JCD, President of Human Life International, the world's largest pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith apostolate. ''At the Beijing+5 Women's Conference, we will see the usual attacks on life and the family. Fortunately, the hard work of conservative groups-and the efforts of the Vatican and the Islamic countries-are making it more difficult for the radical feminists to carry out their brand of anti-family imperialism.`` [PR]
Tuesday: 6 June, 2000: The Vatican, Algeria, Libya, Iran and Pakistan are trying to roll back goals set in 1995 to improve the lives of women, a human rights advocate said on Sunday on the eve of a global U.N. women's meeting. As governments and grass-roots groups negotiate over those goals in advance of the Women 2000 conference that begins on Monday, the head of Amnesty International said the Vatican and the governments are trying to reopen negotiations that were settled at a previous U.N. women's conference in Beijing five years ago. ``In the negotiations going on in the United Nations, there are some countries that are playing a very obstructive role; those are Algeria, Libya, Iran, Pakistan and the Vatican,'' Pierre Sane of Amnesty International told reporters. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 6 June, 2000: The allegations that Iran, not Libya, was behind the Lockerbie bombing in December 1988 are not new. But the assertion by a former Iranian intelligence official, Ahmad Behbahani, that he was responsible for all "terrorist" operations carried out by the Iranian Government beyond its borders - including the Lockerbie bombing - may have an impact on the current trial in the Netherlands of the two Libyan suspects in the case. The prosecution alleges that a bomb was planted on Pan Am Flight 103 by the two, Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed Al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, alleged to have been members of the Libyan intelligence services. The two accused, for their part, have consistently said they are innocent and pointed at Syrian-backed Palestinian extremists. At the time of the bombing, however, it was Iran that was immediately the leading suspect. [BBC]
Tuesday: 6 June, 2000: The United States says it stands by Scottish prosecutors trying two Libyans for the bombing of a U.S. airliner in 1988 but vows to assess fully a defector who says he can prove it was Iran's work. "Concerning the reported assertion that Iran ordered the Pan Am 103 bombing, we have stated repeatedly that we will follow the evidence wherever it leads," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told a regular news briefing. A CBS television report on Sunday stated that a senior intelligence service defector had said he possessed documents to prove Iran trained a group of Libyans to stage the bombing. It sent the jet crashing into the Scottish town of Lockberbie, killing 270 people, including 11 on the ground. The defector is being debriefed in Turkey by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other officials with expertise on the case, one official close to the case told Reuters on condition of anonymity. While some of the things he had said had "cast some doubt" on his credibility, he was being taken seriously, the official added. [Reuters]
Letters: 5 June, 2000 Al-Jazeera wa Mahattat Libiyah Ila al-Shames ...

Monday: 5 June, 2000: The extraordinary session of African foreign ministers in Tripoli Saturday, adopted, the draft charter on the African Union, after a long night session. The 17-page document comprising 35 articles, proposes that the proposed charter would replace the OAU charter and the Abuja treaty establishing the African Economic Community when adopted by African heads of state. It also sets up the bodies of the African Union to include, the Conference of the Union, the Executive Council of Specialised Technical Committee, an African Parliament, a Court of Justice and Executive Committee as well as Cultural, Economic and Social committees. The Union will also have financial institutions. The draft document will be submitted to the 36th OAU summit, scheduled to take place in Lome, Togo, in July, for approval by African heads of state. It will then be proclaimed at an extraordinary summit billed to take place in Syrte, Libya in 2001. [PANA]
Monday: 5 June, 2000: Libya and Tunisia have agreed to create a free-trade zone, according to a joint statement issued Sunday following a two-day summit meeting in Tripoli between the Tunisian president and Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The North African neighbors also agreed to double their trade volume to $1 billion per year, and to the "immediate restart" of flights between the two countries, the statement said. U.N. air sanctions against Libya were suspended last year with the country's decision to hand over two suspects for trial in the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. Libya is Tunisia's leading economic partner in Africa. The visit to Tripoli by Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was aimed at drawing a renewed Libyan commitment to the United Arab Maghreb, known as UMA, made up of the five North African nations -- Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania. [CNN]
Monday: 5 June, 2000: Former England manager and Tottenham Hotspur chief executive Terry Venables could be given the task of guiding Libya to the World Cup 2002, according to reports. Venables, 57, has been offered the job of national coach by Colonel Qadhafi, says the Sunday Times, following a personal recommendation by the Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti. The newspaper says Venables has met with President Qadhafi's sons on two occasions and is considering the job after being promised an annual salary of £1.3m. Venables is quoted as saying: "They asked me in the middle of the week if I would be interested and said they would getback to me. I'm not at liberty to talk about the details." Venables, who coached England to the semifinals of Euro'96, has also managed the Australian national team as well as Barcelona and Spurs. [BBC]
Monday: 5 June, 2000: The Libyan trial of six Bulgarians charged with deliberately infecting nearly four hundred Libyan children with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been postponed until September. The trial of the five nurses and one doctor was due to start in February. The Bulgarians could face the death penalty if convicted on the charges which relate to their work at a paediatric hospital in northern Libya. Bulgarian officials have protested at the charges and cast doubt on whether the defendants will get a fair trial. The nurses claim they were tortured by police during investigations and forced to sign Arabic language documents they did not understand. [BBC]
Sunday: 4 June, 2000: CBS television said on Saturday it would air an interview with an Iranian intelligence service defector on Sunday who claims the bombing of a Pan Am aircraft over Scotland was masterminded by Iran and not Libya. The defector, now in protective custody in Turkey, told the CBS "60 Minutes" current affairs programme that he had documentary proof Tehran was behind the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, CBS said in a news release. A spokesman for the programme said the Iranian, who had been in a refugee camp in Turkey, was checked out with U.S. senior administration officials in Washington and was now being de-briefed by CIA officials. CBS said in a statement its reporting team "got access just a few days ago to an Iranian defector -- now in protective custody in Turkey -- who claims to be Ahmad Behbahani, the man who coordinated all of Iran's overseas acts of terrorism for at least the past decade. "Among the things he told '60 Minutes' was that it was not the Libyans but the Iranians who masterminded and financed the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. He says he has documents that can prove it." Defence lawyers for the Libyans have suggested they will try to prove Syrian-backed Palestinian extremists were the perpetrators in an act of revenge on behalf of Iran for the destruction of an Iranian airliner by a U.S. warship six months earlier. [Reuters]
Letters: 3 June, 2000
To Huda Sharrul-Baliyati Qud 'Alimt
'Asr al-Fadhaiyat Al-Qadhafi wal-Tahreej (3) To Bousettah
No Mixing Thank you Mr al-Sahli Qaddafi's E-mail

Saturday: 3 June, 2000: A key prosecution witness in the Lockerbie trial of two Libyans has been accused of miscalculating the location of the bomb which destroyed Pan Am Flight 103. Defence advocate Richard Keen suggested to Professor Christopher Peel that a correct figure for the distance from the bomb to the skin of the aircraft would be three inches less than he had indicated. But Professor Peel, a UK Government scientist who was giving evidence for a third day, insisted his 24-inch figure was correct, which was based on a formula using data from the damage to the plane's fuselage. Mr Keen, for Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, said if the witness had used an earlier calculation then the stand-off distance of the bomb could be as small as 17 inches. [BBC]
Saturday: 3 June, 2000: The Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has indirectly criticised African legal experts and parliamentarians for lack of concrete suggestions on how to implement the recommendations of the 4th OAU Extraordinary Summit held in Sirte, Libya, September. He deplored that the experts who met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 17-21 April before coming to Tripoli, had not been mandated by their respective governments to take concrete decisions on the way forward towards the creation of the proposed Union of African States. He was Thursday addressing an extraordinary OAU Council of ministers session devoted to the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war, the situation in Sierra Leone and in the Great Lakes region. [PANA]
Saturday: 3 June, 2000: A British researcher testifying at the Lockerbie trial insisted Friday the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 was some way from the aircraft wall -- evidence backing the prosecution case. Christopher Peel, of the British government's Defense Evaluation and Research Agency, implicitly contested evidence by another British expert suggesting the blast was closer to the fuselage skin, saying the technique used did not apply. The exact location of the bomb is crucial to the prosecution's case that two Libyans planted it in a suitcase stowed in the plane's cargo hold, and the defense has been seeking to cast doubt on it. [Reuters]
Saturday: 3 June, 2000: A group of African states called Thursday for Britain to grant funds to help Zimbabwe solve a crisis over the occupation of farms by squatters, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported Thursday. At a meeting in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the leaders of Libya, Sudan, Mali, Liberia, Ghana, Chad and Malawi said they supported current efforts to resolve the dispute in Zimbabwe. Some 30 people have been killed in political violence in Zimbabwe since February when armed squatters began taking over white-owned farms, demanding the land be given to landless blacks. The heads of government and their foreign ministers urged Britain to help the Zimbabwean government by "guaranteeing financial resources to enable the government to distribute these lands in a way acceptable to all sides," the Egyptian agency reported. [SAPA-AP]
Friday: 2 June, 2000: A government explosives expert has told the Lockerbie trial how he used a complex mathematical formula to calculate the size and location of the bomb which destroyed Pan Am flight 103. Professor Christopher Peel was giving evidence at the Scottish court in the Netherlands, where two Libyans are accused of bombing the New York-bound Boeing 747. Professor Peel said he had worked out that the bomb was 24 inches from the skin of the plane inside a baggage container and weighed about half a pound. Professor Peel, a chief scientist with the Defence Research and Evaluation Agency (Dera), explained that a reconstruction of the part of the plane where the bomb exploded was used to try to locate the source of the blast. He said he applied a series of algebraic calculations to data describing the damage to the skin of the aircraft to work out the location and weight of the bomb. Professor Peel said only a unique combination of charge size and distance from the fuselage could have caused the damage he observed. He said his conclusions were confirmed by a computer simulation. On Wednesday, the court heard evidence relating to the cargo container believed to have held the suitcase containing the bomb. [BBC]
Friday: 2 June, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said in Tripoli Thursday that the definitive settlement of the armed conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea was imminent. Addressing the OAU foreign ministers council, the Libyan leader revealed that he had received on Wednesday an encouraging message from Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to this effect. The latter confirmed the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from invaded territories outside the conflict zones. This message, Qadhafi added, is a confirmation that the two-year war is over. The Libyan leader pointed out that he had also received a message from Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki, requesting that observers be sent to ensure that Ethiopian troops had effectively withdrawn from territories outside the conflict zone. [PANA]
Friday: 2 June, 2000: African leaders who adopted the Sirte Declaration in September at the end of their fourth OAU extraordinary summit have shown urgency in the implementation of an African Union, OAU secretary-general Salim Ahmed Salim said in Tripoli. Speaking during the opening of an extraordinary OAU council of ministers meeting, he paid tribute to Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's efforts to make real the "noble objective" of the union. Following the meeting of experts and parliamentarians in April in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and early this week in Tripoli, the ministers are expected to prepare the texts governing the Union to be submitted to the annual OAU summit slated for 10-12 July in Lome, Togo. However, another extraordinary summit is to discuss and adopt the final text of the Union in 2001 in Sirte. [PANA]
Thursday: 1 June, 2000: An armed man is holding more than 20 children and three adults hostage at a nursery school in eastern Luxembourg. The man, who is said to have a pistol, a grenade and a knife, earlier released eight children from the school in Wasserbillig, said police. Interior Minister Michel Wolter said the man had demanded to be flown to Libya. [BBC]
To send me the latest news or views please click here:
Back to: Libya: Our Home