News and Views [ June 2001 ]

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Saturday, 30 June, 2001: The Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi [photo], has failed in an attempt to stop the presiding trial judge preparing a report for his appeal hearing. During a two-day pre-appeal hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh, defence counsel William Taylor QC said the 82-page written judgment, handed down by the three trial judges following Al-Megrahi's conviction for mass murder in January, should suffice. He said that allowing the presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, to express anything further would be prejudicial to the appeal in that it would give him the opportunity to advance extra and different reasons for the decision to convict. However on Friday, five appeal judges led by Lord Kirkwood rejected his petition. [BBC]
Saturday, 30 June, 2001: Leading Russian politicians expressed anger Friday at the extradition of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Milosevic's extradition "does not contribute to the stability of Yugoslavia." Meanwhile, Libya on Friday also criticized Milosevic's extradition. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said it "could not be considered as a victory to justice," noting that "being victorious over the weak does not call for pride." Western powers reacted promptly to Milosevic's extradition, approving more than $1 billion in aid to Yugoslavia. [UPI]
Saturday, 30 June, 2001: Libya held Angola to a 1-1 tie Friday in an African World Cup qualifier. Cameroon (5-1), the Group A leader, can become the first team to clinch a berth in next year's tournament when it plays at home Sunday against fourth-place Togo (1-2-2). [AP]
Saturday, 30 June, 2001: Former South African President Nelson Mandela has invited 12 African heads of state to a summit in Tanzania next month for talks on ending the civil war in Burundi. The presidents of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Namibia, Togo, Zambia, Libya and Gabon had been invited. [Reuters]
Friday, 29 June, 2001: Canada said on Thursday it had opened an embassy in Libya. Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley said the Tripoli embassy would be headed by charge d'affaires George Jacoby, the first Canadian diplomat to reside in Libya since diplomatic relations were first established in October 1968. "The presence of a Canadian diplomat and embassy in Tripoli opens a new era in our relations with Libya. It will reinforce our trade relations and expand political dialogue between the two countries," Manley said in a statement. [Reuters]
Friday, 29 June, 2001: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi offered on Wednesday to help end a regional conflict in West Africa which has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes. Liberia, under UN sanctions for fuelling civil war in Sierra Leone, is fighting an insurgency on its northern border for which it blames Guinea. Guinea in turn accuses Monrovia of backing Guinean rebels. Ali al-Traiki, Libya's minister for African unity, met Liberian President Taylor on Wednesday and offered to help mediate between Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. [Reuters]
Thursday, 28 June, 2001: A major U.N. AIDS conference has approved a battle plan committing nations to fight the killer disease but deleted explicit references to homosexuals, prostitutes and drug users as particularly vulnerable groups. After wrangling for weeks over whether to highlight the groups, the 189-member U.N. General Assembly accepted without a vote a 20-page final declaration at the end of its three-day high-level session on AIDS. "Homosexuality is one of the main causes of this disease. In fact, God sent the prophet Lot with a clear message preventing such practices and banning them," Libyan Ambassador Abuzed Omar Dorda told the General Assembly. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 27 June, 2001: OSS Inc., advocate of improved open source intelligence support to government decision-makers and the citizen voters that elected them, today released a list of countries practicing systematic torture. According to the international standard document on World Conflict and Human Rights prepared each year by the Interdisciplinary Research Programme on Causes of Human Right Violations at Leiden University, in the year 2000 the following countries practiced systematic, widespread, common, frequent or routine torture: Afghanistan, Albania, ... Libya, ... Zambia and Zimbabwe. [PRNewswire]
Wednesday, 27 June, 2001: Countries Continue Signing the Protocol Establishing the African Economic Community. Rwanda and Libya signed the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament. [Africa News]
Tuesday, 26 June, 2001: Libya's National Oil Corp. (NOC) is expected to award three upstream oil packages to international companies in the next few weeks, or perhaps as soon as the end of this month, Abdulkarim Ahmed, NOC's chairman, told the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES). Ahmed said the UK's Lasmo is currently working to bring the first stage of the Elephant field in the Murzuk area into production in 12-14 months with an initial output of 50,000 barrels a day. This production is expected to rise to 150,000 bpd one year later. Sweden's Lundin Oil will also bring 40,000 bpd on-stream from the En-Naga North and West Fields in block NC-177, while TotalFinaElf is currently developing offshore block NC-137 with a planned output of 40,000 bpd, Ahmed said, according to MEES. Ahmed said Libya is also planning to boost its natural gas capacity, which currently stands around 1.5 billion cubic feet a day. [Dow Jones]
Monday, 25 June, 2001: The government of Bangui decided to withdraw the Libyan forces which came to support the armed forces in Central Africa following the failed coupe took place on May 28th against President Batasi. A statement released on Friday carrying the signature of the commissioned minister for foreign affairs Victor Boshe said that the government of Central Africa maintained the restoration of calm to the country and decided to withdraw the Libyan forces from the Central Africa, noting that one limited contingent from Libya will be kept to train the armed forces in this country. The commissioned minister did not reveal number of Libyan soldiers who came to central Africa nor the number of soldiers who will stay in Bangui. [Arabic News]
Monday, 25 June, 2001: Philippine President Macapagal-Arroyo thanked Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi for Tripoli's mediation over the conflict between the Manila government and the country's Muslim rebels, JANA reported Sunday. In a written message quoted by the official JANA news agency, Ms Macapagal thanked Qadhafi "for efforts undertaken by the (Qadhafi) charitable organization to restore peace in the Philippines." The Macapagal government and the separatists of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed a peace deal Friday in Tripoli under the auspices of the Qadhafi charitable foundation, run by Qadhafi's son Seif al-Islam. [AFP]

Sunday, 24 June, 2001: The wife of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president, urged his Socialist party executive last week to engineer a popular uprising aimed at saving him from the ignominy of being sent for trial at the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague, party officials in Belgrade have revealed. Zivadin Jovanovic, a former foreign minister, flew to Libya in an effort to persuade Colonel Qadhafi to intervene, possibly by offering Milosevic asylum. Jovanovic was sent packing from Tripoli where even a modest request for some party funds was turned down. As the Milosevic story nears its concluding chapter - his trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity - his condition has worsened in the Belgrade prison where he has languished since his arrest in April on charges of fraud and abuse of power. [The Sunday Times]
Saturday, 23 June, 2001: Coventry University students won prizes in a competition organised by fellow students from Libya. Mostafa Wali, who has been doing research at the school of engineering, helped organise the contest. He said: We are a minority group at the university and so we asked all our fellow students to answer four questions about Libya as a way of fostering friendship and co-operation between us. Some 400 students entered the competition. Mr Wali, who lives in Earlsdon but comes from Ghat, southern Libya, said the 10 winners represented the number of nationalities studying at the university. [Coventry Evening Telegraph]
Saturday, 23 June, 2001: The Philippines government and Islamic separatist rebels have wrapped up peace talks in Libya by agreeing to implement a four-year-old ceasefire accord and water down the rebel secession claim. Representatives of the Manila government and of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a four-page document called the Tripoli peace agreement after three days of talks on Friday. Libyan ambassador to the Philippines Salam Mohamed Adam said the ceasefire would be effective immediately. [Reuters]
Saturday, 23 June, 2001: Advanced Technology Industries Inc. (ATI) has entered into a modified license agreement with Nurescell Inc., and has been granted an exclusive license to the Nurescell radiation shielding technology and products. Under the terms of the new agreement, ATI has been granted by Nurescell an exclusive, transferable, right and license to market, distribute, sublicense, sell, transfer and otherwise commercially exploit the Nurescell technology and products in the European Union, ... Algeria, Libya, ... Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. [Buisness Wire]
Saturday, 23 June, 2001: Indonesia is planning to set up an embassy in Libya in an effort to strengthen trade and industrial relations between the two countries, Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said. The need to have an embassy in Tripoli arises from "possible business opportunities for the Indonesian government in Libya," Shihab said, adding that both countries were members of the world oil body OPEC, as well as the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). [AFX]
Saturday, 23 June, 2001: Indonesia is planning to import crude oil directly from Libya, Baihaki Hakim, president of state-owned oil company Pertamina, has said. Baihaki told reporters that Pertamina will also open an office in Libya to begin oil exploration. Currently, Indonesia imports crude oil from Libya via Dubai, but plans to cut out the transit point, Baihaki said. [Dow Jones]
Friday, 22 June, 2001: Petro-Canada announced today an agreement to purchase the interest of Lundin AB of Sweden in an oil development opportunity in Libya. The purchase gives Petro-Canada a 25% interest in the En-Naga block in the Sirte basin. The other 75% interest is held by the National Oil Company (NOC) of Libya. The block contains two proven but undeveloped oil fields. The purchase price, subject to final adjustment, is $75 million US. The purchase - expected to close sometime in the third quarter - is contingent on NOC's approval of Petro-Canada as owner and operator of the block. [PRNewswire]
Friday, 22 June, 2001: The investigation which eventually led to the Lockerbie bomber being brought to justice has been hailed as one of the great achievements of co-operation between countries. A former head of the American security services said the international effort behind the inquiry was "pleasing" to be involved with. William Webster, who became director of the FBI in 1978 and then the head of the CIA until 1991, was speaking in Edinburgh. He said the investigation and subsequent prosecution of those responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103 was "one of the great achievements of international co-operation". Libyan national Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for life in January after being convicted of the bombing. He is appealing against his conviction. A second accused, Al-Amin Fhimah, was found not guilty. [BBC]
Thursday, 21 June, 2001: A U.S. House of Representatives panel Wednesday endorsed a five-year extension of sanctions against Iran and Libya, brushing aside a White House-backed proposal to limit the renewal to two years. On a 41-3 vote, the House International Relations Committee backed a renewal of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act for five years in an effort to curb foreign investment in the oil and natural gas sectors of both countries. It gives the president the authority to impose a variety of sanctions on foreign companies that invest more than $20 million a year in Iran's energy sector or more than $40 million in that of Libya. The House panel, which began debate on the issue last week, also voted to lower Libya's limit to $20 million. [Reuters]
Thursday, 21 June, 2001: Kia Motors Corp said that it has signed a contract with Pitoresque Co of Libya to export 1,900 trucks worth 20 mln usd to the country this year. The car maker and the Libyan distributor have also agreed to increase the supply of trucks by up to 8,000 units per year if customers respond in a favourable manner, it said. Based on the contract, Kia Motors plans to export as many as 20,000 vehicles of all kinds beginning next year, it added. [AFX]

Wednesday, 20 June, 2001: A German engineer was sentenced on Tuesday to two and a half years in prison for helping Libya build up its chemical weapons program by delivering parts for a factory that could manufacture poison gas. The state court in Stuttgart found Roland Franz Berger, 59, guilty of offenses under German arms control and export laws and of violating United Nations sanctions against Libya. Mr. Berger, who had lived in Libya since 1973, ran an office that handled contracts for German firms, prosecutors said. They alleged he was involved in delivering a device to filter emissions from a factory at Tarhuna. [AP]
Wednesday, 20 June, 2001: Libya has agreed to supply 30,000 barrels of oil per day to Ghana. The deal, which is on favourable terms, makes up for the 60,000 barrels needed daily by Ghana. Nigeria supplies the other 30,000 barrels. This was disclosed to newsmen at the airport by Mr Hackman Agyeman, Foreign Minister on his return from Tripoli, where he delivered a special message from President John Kufuor to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the Libyan Leader. He said Libya has also agreed to Ghana's request for a 250 million dollars to establish an investment fund for small-scale and agro-industries as well as assistance to business. [Accra Mail]
Tuesday, 19 June, 2001: A court in Libya is to hand down its verdict against six Bulgarians on September 22. The five Bulgarian nurses and a doctor are accused along with a Palestinian doctor of deliberately injecting 393 children in their care with blood products infected with HIV in a hospital in Benghazi. Twenty-three children are reported to have died already. The accused are charged with "premeditated murder with the aim of undermining Libyan security" while eight Libyan doctors are also facing charges of negligence. They have all pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor called on Saturday for the death penalty to be applied against the Bulgarians and the Palestinian. But Bizanti argued on Sunday that the HIV infections were caused by "poor hygiene in the hospital, where syringes are used over and over again by the Libyan staff." [SAPA]
Tuesday, 19 June, 2001: Philippine Vice President Guingona flew to Libya late Monday for landmark talks to end a decades-long Muslim rebellion in the Philippines, as a hostage crisis involving other Islamic rebels threatened to destabilise the process. Guingona headed a delegation of government negotiators, with talks with the 12,500-member MILF scheduled to open in Tripoli on Wednesday. The MILF has been fighting for an independent Islamic state in Mindanao, the southern third of the mainly Roman Catholic Philippine archipelago. [AFP]
Monday, 18 June, 2001: European Union leaders provisionally called on Saturday for a "global and multilateral approach" to curbing proliferation of ballistic missiles. The call came on the heels of talks earlier this week at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where U.S. President Bush tried with mixed success to convince his European allies of the need to press ahead with an anti-missile defense shield. Many U.S. allies fear the plans for a missile defense shield, which Washington says is designed to prevent nuclear blackmail by rogue states like North Korea and Libya, could upset three decades of strategic stability under the ABM treaty. [Reuters]
Monday, 18 June, 2001: The child king of Toro has invited Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to the empango coronation anniversary celebrations on September 13 when the king turns nine. Oyo made the invitation during his visit to Libya last week. The child king went to Libya on May 31 aboard a chartered plane at the invitation of Qadhafi. [New Vision]
Sunday, 17 June, 2001: Libya has expressed "pleasure" and "satisfaction" at the "courageous initiative" taken by Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee in inviting Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf for talks. "Direct contact and dialogue between heads of State is still the shortest path to take in order to solve problems and overcome obstacles which may arise with regard to the establishment of good relations between States", Libya's Ambassador to the UN, Abuzaid Dorda, told the UN Security Council. In a letter to the council, Dorda also appreciated the "courageous response" of Musharraf in accepting the invitation to visit New Delhi for the talks. Along with the letter, Dorda conveyed to the council the messages sent by Libyan leader col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to Vajpayee and Musharraf. [The Hindu]
Sunday, 17 June, 2001: A Jordanian leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas was stranded at Amman airport for a third day on Saturday, unwanted either by his native Jordan or by the country he flew in from, Qatar. Ibrahim Ghosheh, 67, spent a second night in the airport's transit section after arriving on Thursday on a regular Qatari flight from Doha. Jordan, which expelled Ghosheh and three other Hamas leaders 18 months ago, denied him entry and asked him to leave again on the same aircraft. The airline refused to take him. A Jordanian official source said Libya had offered to mediate between Jordan and Qatar to end the standoff. Hamas said in a statement in Beirut that any mediation should focus on convincing the Jordanian authorities to allow Ghosheh into the country. [Reuters]

Saturday, 16 June, 2001: Libya and Tunisia on Thursday reiterated support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for restoration of their legitimate rights, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital. Libya and Tunisia support the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, said a statement issued at the conclusion of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's two-day visit to Libya. Ben Ali, whose country is a member of the United Nations Security Council, reiterated support for Libya in the Lockerbie issue, calling for an immediate lifting of sanctions on Libya. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 16 June, 2001: Morocco's Prince Moulay Rachid, younger brother of King Mohammed VI, on Thursday paid a short visit to Tripoli where he attended the marriage ceremony of the Libyan leaders' son Saadi al-Qadhafi. Prince Moulay Rachid was received in the evening by Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and met his other son, Saif al-Islam. Prince Moulay Rachid was accompanied by Sharif Moulay Youssef Alaoui and Moroccan minister of youth and sports Ahmed Moussaoui. [Arabic News]
Friday, 15 June, 2001: The International Secretariat of OMCT [l'Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture] has been informed by a reliable source about developments in the trial of at least 98 prisoners of conscience in Tripoli, Libya. According to the information received, a group of at least 98 prisoners of conscience are being tried before the people's court, having been arbitrarily arrested en masse in Libya's main cities during June 1998, ostensibly on the grounds of political opposition and, more specifically, for supporting or showing sympathy for the underground Islamic movement, the Libyan Islamic Group. This movement is not known to have used or advocated violence. The detainees include university lecturers, engineers, medical doctors, university students and businessmen. [All Africa]
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Friday, 15 June, 2001: The son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was married Thursday in a ceremony marked by the attendance of soccer legend Diego Maradona. Al-Saadi al-Qadhafi, 27, married the daughter of Lt. Gen. el-Khoweildi el-Hamidi, a close aid to the Libyan president. Libyan media did not carry the bride's name, but government officials said she holds a university engineering degree. Aside from Maradona, a former Argentine soccer player ranked among the greatest of all time, other guests included Togo's President Gnassingbe Eyadema. The event was followed by a celebration that included camel races and fireworks. During the day, Maradona and the young Qadhafi attended Libyan Cup final between Tripoli's el-Medina and Benghazi's el-Tahadi. Maradona presented the winners cup to el-Medina after the game. Al-Saadi is a graduate of Libya's Military Engineering Academy, an army colonel, head of the local soccer federation and national team player. The Libyan leader has six sons and one daughter. Eldest son Mohammed last year became his first child to marry. [AP]
Thursday, 14 June, 2001: Tunisian president Zain al-Abidine Ben Ali left Tunis on Wednesday for Libya on a two-day working visit. Ben Ali is expected to discuss with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi cooperation in various areas, the developments of the situation in the Arab world and Africa and other issues of common concern. The trade volume between both sides in the first five month this year stood at about 230 million U.S. dollars. [Xinhua]
Thursday, 14 June, 2001: A U.S. House of Representatives panel on Wednesday appeared ready to approve a five-year extension of sanctions against Iran and Libya, but delayed a vote on the issue until next week. Supporters of an extension said the law had worked, discouraging foreign energy firms from investing in the energy sectors of Iran and Libya. But U.S. energy firms claim the law has not prevented foreign competitors, especially those in Europe, from doing business with Iran and Libya. [Reuters]
Thursday, 14 June, 2001: The Toro child king, Omukama Nyimba Oyo has named the Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to be an adviser to the Kingdom. Kingdom spokesman, Phillip Winyi, who accompanied the child king on his 13-day, visit to Libya told The Monitor last evening that the appointment was made Saturday at Qadhafi's State House in Tripoli. Said Winyi: "The king dressed Col. Qadhafi in a Kitambi [Toro traditional wear]. He wrapped it around his head and over the shoulder. He also gave him a necklace for the Kings, and traditional equipment including a Kingdom Court of Arms." Qadhafi's installation will be concluded on Sept 12 during a ceremony called Empaango, Winyi said. [The Monitor]
Wednesday, 13 June, 2001: The Zambian government has sold Lusaka's Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Millennium Village which is still under construction to a Libyan company. According to sources at the Ministry of Lands and Zambia Investment Centre, the Village has been sold to Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO) for US $8.4 million. The source said LAFICO has since been granted title deeds whose certificate number is L11356. The Zambian government last year embarked on the construction of the village as accommodation for the heads of state coming to attend the 37th OAU summit in Lusaka early next month. [The Post]
Wednesday, 13 June, 2001: Blake Kilburn, the brother of Peter Kilburn and Administrator of his estate, today filed a lawsuit against Iran and its Ministry of Information and Security and Libya and its Jamahiriya Security Organization for their roles in having Kilburn kidnapped, held hostage, sold and murdered in Lebanon. The lawsuit seeks $200 million in compensatory damages and an unspecified amount of punitive damages. The lawsuit was filed today in federal district court in Washington, D.C., USA, and seeks damages from Iran and Libya as a result of their state sponsorship of terrorism. [U.S. Newswire]
Wednesday, 13 June, 2001: A German engineer who ran a business in Libya went on trial on Tuesday accused of involvement in a Libyan effort to manufacture poison gas. Roland Franz Berger, 59, was charged with offences under German arms control and export laws, and of violating UN sanctions against Libya. Berger, who had lived in Libya since 1973, ran an office that handled contracts for German firms, prosecutors say. They allege he was involved in delivering a device to filter emissions from a factory at Tarhuna, Libya. State attorney Joerg Kieniger argued the engineer was aware that the equipment "was to be used at a plant for the production of mustard gas and sarin". The investigation against Berger started in 1995, and he was arrested at Stuttgart airport last summer. [SAPA]
Tuesday, 12 June, 2001: Lawyers acting for Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi have lodged the grounds for his appeal against conviction. A Crown Office spokeswoman, on Monday, confirmed the appeal grounds had been submitted to the Court of Appeal. It is unlikely that the grounds for appeal will be made public at this stage. A judge sitting in chambers will now decide if the grounds warrant an appeal against conviction. Assuming Al Megrahi's appeal goes ahead, the hearing will take place before five judges at Camp Zeist in Holland. Libyan Al-Megrahi was jailed for life after being convicted by three Scottish judges of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. [Reuters]
Monday, 11 June, 2001: Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has declined help, but has thanked Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi for an offer to assist in the hostage crisis in the southern Philippines. The Arroyo government is taking a hard stance with Muslim rebels threatening to kill three American hostages held with 10 others on Basilan Island. Presidential Spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao in Manila confirms President Arroyo called the Libyan leader. He said the purpose of the call was to thank Colonel Qadhafi for hosting the peace talks between Muslim rebel groups and the Philippine government in Tripoli next week. [VOA]

Sunday, 10 June, 2001: The Libyan state oil company is considering offering up to 100m for the Jet network of filling stations in Britain. The Libyans are also considering making an offer for Save Group, the petrol retailer that went into administration this year. The Jet business, which has a network of almost 600 sites, is expected to be sold within weeks by its owner Conoco, the American oil giant. Conoco is in talks with several interested parties, including Libya's NOC, the Russian oil company, Lukoil, and Gerald Ronson's Heron Corporation. [The Sunday Times]
Sunday, 10 June, 2001: Philippine President Macapagal-Arroyo appealed to Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to help free the hostages held by Abu Sayyaf bandits, Libyan television reported Saturday. Ms Macapagal asked Qadhafi on the phone to "deploy efforts to help find a settlement to the issue of hostages held in the southern Philippines," the report added. The Abu Sayyaf Group is still holding hostage three Americans and 10 Filipinos in the jungles of Basilan. During his conversation with Ms Macapagal, Qadhafi said that Islam was "opposed to terrorism and blackmail," the TV station said. [AFP]
Saturday, 9 June, 2001: US President George W. Bush's administration oppposes efforts to extend for five years sanctions on foreign firms that invest in the Iranian and Libyan oil sectors and is trying to keep the renewal to only two years, a senior State Department official said Friday. "We are talking to the Hill about an extension of two years," the official said, a day after lawmakers introduced a bill in the US Senate seeking a five-year extension of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA). The official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said a five-year extension would unnecessarily hinder the Bush administration from altering US policy toward Iran and Libya should Washington deem such changes warranted. [AFP]
Friday, 8 June, 2001: Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Libya on Thursday signed an agreement on establishing a free trade zone to bolster their economic cooperation. The accord was signed at the end of the 73rd ministerial meeting of the Arab Economic Unity Council, held in Iraq. [Xinhua]
Friday, 8 June, 2001: U.S. Senators introduced a bill Thursday to extend sanctions against Libya and Iran, saying both countries remain terrorist havens. The bill introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Gordon Smith would extend sanctions against the two countries for five years. Seventy-four of the Senate's 100 members have signed onto the extension bill. [AP]

Thursday, 7 June, 2001: The Philippines expects to resume peace talks with the Muslim fundamentalist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) before June 24, possibly in Libya, presidential adviser Eduardo Ermita said on Wednesday. "Our panels are still discussing whether to hold the talks in Kuala Lumpur, Libya or Indonesia. But we have an invitation from the Libyan government to hold the talks there," Ermita told the Radio Mindanao Network. [Reuters]
Thursday, 7 June, 2001: Eight Ethiopians who reportedly spent eight years in a Libyan prison, have accused the Libyans of torture, and have demanded compensation, Reuters reported on 5 June. The eight said they went to Libya in search of work, but were arrested after arriving there. The Ethiopians, seven men and one women, were released in April and sent home, said Reuters. The eight said they were accused of being "Black Jews" and of spying for the Americans. While in captivity, another Ethiopian, Habton Berhe, died in custody after being tortured, they said. The Ethiopian foreign ministry said it had informed the Libyan embassy in Addis Ababa of the matter and was awaiting a response, Reuters reported. [Africa News]
Wednesday, 6 June, 2001: A German court Tuesday delayed planned court testimony by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's foreign policy adviser over alleged Libyan involvement in the 1986 bombing of a Berlin discotheque. The adviser, Michael Steiner, had been due to appear Thursday to answer questions over media reports that he told President George W. Bush in March that the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, had admitted that Libya was behind the bombings of the La Belle disco and a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The Schroeder government gave clearance for his appearance as a witness, but only behind closed doors. It argued that German interests could be damaged if foreign countries felt they could not count on confidential discussions remaining private. [AP]
Wednesday, 6 June, 2001: The Bush administration hopes to persuade Congress to shorten the renewal period for economic sanctions on Iran and Libya from five years to one year or two years, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. "What we would like to see happen is for Congress to roll over ILSA (Iran-Libya Sanctions Act) for a limited period of one or two years" to give the administration more flexibility, he told Reuters. Lawmakers last month introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would extend unilateral sanctions under the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act for five years and a similar move is expected this week in the Senate. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 5 June, 2001: Mortar blasts and automatic gunfire echoed in the capital of the Central African Republic Monday as fighting flared again despite President Ange-Felix Patasse's claim to have defeated coup plotters. Fighting erupted about noon, the latest of several outbreaks of violence since the coup attempt one week ago. Loyalist soldiers estimate the death toll since then in the hundreds. Most of the dead have been Yacomas, Kolingba's ethnic group. Libya, trying to build its influence in the region, sent tanks and troops to help the government. [AP]

Monday, 4 June, 2001: The Central African Republic's (CAR) government on Sunday admitted for the first time that Libyan troops are operating in the country, as loyalist forces hunt for the perpetrators of a failed coup. The admission of Libyan involvement in the government's efforts came despite a U.S. warning to Tripoli not to get involved. The U.S. on Thursday said it had no proof of a Libyan military presence in the CAR, but warned Tripoli against getting involved. [AFP]
Monday, 4 June, 2001: Former African champions, Egypt, Ghana and Ivory Coast have qualified for next year's Nations Cup finals in Mali after impressive wins in their various groups on Sunday. Ghana came from behind to beat Zimbabwe 2-1 in Harare; Ivory Coast also won 3-0 in Tripoli against Libya , while Egypt beat Sudan 3-2 to go through. [Africa News]
Sunday, 3 June, 2001: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said on Saturday Russia was firm in its backing of the 30-year-old Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, but was ready to be constructive in talks with the U.S. on missile defense. Russia has fiercely opposed U.S. plans to amend the ABM treaty so it can build a missile defense shield. Washington says it needs a missile defense to stop possible attacks from states it views as threats such as Iraq, North Korea and Libya. "Why take unilateral measures which could worry other countries and, to a greater extent, harm the interests of their national security?" he said, referring to the U.S. plans. [Reuters]

Saturday, 2 June, 2001: More than half of the 16-team field for next January's African Nations Cup finals in Mali is likely to be known after the 13 matches in this weekend's penultimate round of qualifiers. At least eight countries have an opportunity to secure their places at the continental championship to join both Senegal and South Africa, who have already qualified along with the holder's Cameroon and the hosts. The Ivory Coast and Libya will meet in Tripoli on Sunday. A win for the Ivorians will also secure their berth in the finals, but a Libyan win would put them in line for their first appearance at the finals since they were hosts in 1982. [Africa News]
Friday, 1 June, 2001: Troops in the Central African Republic, backed by Libyan combat helicopters and rebels from the neighbouring DR Congo, prepared Thursday to flush out army mutineers who launched a foiled coup bid. A third Libyan transport aircraft flew in early Thursday carrying men and equipment to back President Ange-Felix Patasse. Two Tupolev planes had already arrived from Libya on Wednesday. Libyan combat helicopters were being prepared for action at Bangui's M'Poko international airport northwest of the city, said army sources, who added that about 100 Libyan soldiers were posted there. [AFP]
Friday, 1 June, 2001: The U.S. Congress is poised to vote overwhelmingly in favor of extending a law seeking to curb foreign investment in Iran's and Libya's oil and natural gas sectors, according to congressional sources. Legislation will be introduced in the Senate next week to reauthorize the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) for another five years. The sanctions law, which is set to expire in August, was approved by Congress in 1996 to deny Iran and Libya the money to pay for what the United States believed were government-sponsored terrorist activities. However, U.S. firms claim the law has not prevented foreign energy companies, especially those in Europe, from doing business with Iran and Libya. [Reuters]
Friday, 1 June, 2001: Banana farmers in Mpumalanga, South Africa, sent their first batch of bananas to Libya on Wednesday. Elated manager of the Banana Growers Association, Wikus Joubert, said that 45,000 cartons of bananas were being shipped from Maputo harbour. He said the deal followed six nail-biting weeks of negotiation with Libyan trading expert, Saade Souheil, and Dutch shipping agent, Ries Jongerius. Libya approached the association with a demand for 100,000 cartons of bananas per month. Libya had strict conditions and requirements, which include size of the bananas, quality and the method of packing. [Africa News]
Friday, 1 June, 2001: Toro's child king, Omukama Oyo Nyimba Rukiidi IV, leaves for an official visit to Libya today. Oyo was invited to Libya by the country's leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi who is facilitating the trip. The kingdom's spokesman and deputy minister of information, Phillip Winyi, told The New Vision yesterday that Oyo would travel with eight other kingdom officials including the queen mother, Best Kemigisa. He said Qadhafi extended the invitation when he was in Uganda for President Museveni's swearing-in. [New Vision]
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