News and Views [ July 2000 ]

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Monday, 31 July, 2000: The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak has ended a day of talks with the Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, in Tripoli. The two men discussed prospects for the Middle East peace process, pan-African and bilateral issues. Correspondents say Mr Mubarak is seeking support for an Arab summit on the Palestinian-Israel issue. He is expected to meet the King of Jordan and the Israeli prime minister this week to discuss the peace process. [BBC]
Monday, 31 July, 2000: The family of Libya's Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi have been paying secret visits to London as part of a diplomatic initiative which has ended in embarrassment for the Foreign Office. The visits came to light this weekend after a security scare involving Qadhafi's daughter, who broke diplomatic protocol by delivering a speech in support of the IRA. Aisha al-Qadhafi described the IRA as freedom fighters in a diatribe delivered at Speaker's Corner in London. Aisha, 23, was staying with her older half-brother Mohammed at a 1,500-a-night suite at the Dorchester hotel. Qadhafi's wife Safiya and daughter Hana have also visited recently. The family have not been welcome in Britain since 1984, when diplomatic ties were severed after the shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy. Last week, Aisha and Mohammed were booked in under a group name and accompanied by up to 30 "minders", including Ahmed Gaddaf-addam, the head of Libyan intelligence. [The Sunday Times]
Monday, 31 July, 2000: One witness fails to show up in court and is found lying unconscious in his apartment, surrounded by bottles of booze. Another mistakes a Palestinian terrorist for a Libyan defendant in a photo lineup. Yet another changes his story so many times that prosecutors bail on him. With the first stage of the Lockerbie bombing trial finished and the court in recess until late August, a cast of unreliable witnesses has left the impression that the prosecution's case against two Libyans has been fatally harmed. But legal experts say the case playing out at a special Scottish courthouse in the Netherlands is based not on witnesses, but on circumstantial evidence - and that there are reams of it. [AP]
Sunday, 30 July, 2000: The prospects for bilateral relations, including opportunities for expanding trade, were discussed in Minsk, Belarus, Friday by Prime Minister Uladzimir Yarmoshyn and Abdel-Rahman Shalgam, secretary of Libya's General People's Committee for Foreign Relations and International Cooperation. It was announced that a Libyan business delegation would come to Belarus in September for more detailed talks. [BBC-MS]

Saturday, 29 July, 2000: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam will arrive in Moscow on Sunday to discuss development of bilateral military and technical co-operation, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov said on Friday. "Russian specialists visited Libya last year, it was a sort of a come-back for Russian defence experts," as military co-operation between the two countries effectively ended 10 years before, Klebanov, who supervises Russia's defence industry, told a briefing in the government headquarters. After meetings with Libyan leaders, Russian working groups resumed work and outlined ways to modernise the Libyan Armed Forces, Klebanov said. [Itar-Tass]
Saturday, 29 July, 2000: Libya and Niger have decided to strengthen their co-operation in the agro-pastoral field by carrying out joint development projects in the northern Irhazer Valley, which the Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi toured recently. Speaking on his return from a three-day visit of Libya, Niger's prime minister said that the valley would be developed by borrowing irrigation skills used by Libya. "Our Libyan brothers also agreed to supply us with the required material to finish the 135km long Agadez-Zinder road and they agreed to continue the construction of an additional 115km stretch on the Sebha-N'Guimi road leading to Chad." he said. [PANA]
Saturday, 29 July, 2000: Serbian railway and Serbian economy are qualified and ready for making contribution to the modernization of the Libyan railroad - it was concluded in Belgrade, on the occasion of the Libyan economic delegation's visit to the Railway-transport Corporation "Belgrade", in the talks with Ljubomir Stozinic, deputy general manager of the Railway-transport Corporation "Belgrade" and the Serbian railway industry representatives. In the next five days, the Libyan delegation will visit "Vukov spomenik" railway station, construction sites of the Valjevo-Loznica railway and the new "Beograd Centar" railway station, as well as the Railway educational center. [Serbia Info]
Saturday, 29 July, 2000: Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade made a stopover in Tripoli Friday afternoon for discussions with the Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. He told an airport news conference that his discussion with the Libyan leader would focus exclusively on the African Union, whose treaty was signed during the 36th OAU Summit in Lome, Togo. "We are going to discuss in order to determine what to do next to consolidate the African Union," he said, adding that many issues still need to be discussed with a view to "harmonising our positions." Mr Wade said that he has been entrusted with the organisation of a conference of African intellectuals in Tripoli. "Some 500 African intellectuals will be invited to Tripoli to make their contribution to the African Union," he said. " [PANA]

Friday, 28 July, 2000: The prosecutor in the Lockerbie trial of two Libyans, Alan Turnbull, proposed an adjournment and presiding judge Lord Sutherland agreed, setting 22 August as the date of resumption. While the trial is in recess, the court will try to bring to the Netherlands two Maltese potential witnesses who have until now refused to attend. Mr Turnbull told the court police in Malta had visited the two, believed to be airport staff, with documentation, but they had refused to accept it. [BBC]
Friday, 28 July, 2000: The two sides in the Lockerbie trial of two Libyans have reached a deal which will significantly cut the number of witnesses called to testify at the Scottish court in the Netherlands. Prosecutor Alan Turnbull told the court on Thursday that about 60 people would no longer be asked to take the witness stand. It was also confirmed that a number of [the American] Federal Bureau of Investigation agents would not now be required. When the trial began in May it was expected to last at least a year, but negotiations between the two legal teams mean proceedings could take just a few more months. [BBC]
Friday, 28 July, 2000: The draw for the 2002 African Nations Cup qualifying competition made in Cairo on Thursday. Libya is in Group 7 ( Egypt, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan ) :
September 1 - 3: Libya v Sudan
October 6 - 8: Ivory Coast v Libya
January 12 - 14: Egypt v Libya
March 23 - 25: Libya v Egypt
June 1-3: Libya v Ivory Coast
June 15 - 17: Sudan v Libya.
Hosts Mali, holders Cameroon and group winners and runners-up qualify for finals. [AFP]
Thursday, 27 July, 2000: In Australia as many as 85 illegal immigrants at a Sydney detention centre have begun a hunger strike in protest of what they describe as inhumane conditions, a spokesman said Wednesday. Some of the detainees had been in the centre for up to four years and were forced to sleep on the floor without adequate warmth, a spokesman for the Iranian Refugee Association said. He said the hunger stikers were from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan. [AFP]
Wednesday, 26 July, 2000: The trial of two Libyans who have been accused of the Lockerbie bombing will be many months shorter than first expected. One of the men's defence lawyers, Bill Taylor, told the special hearing at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands on Tuesday that proceedings are expected to last a few more months. When the trial got under way in May there were more than 1,000 witnesses listed on the indictment and it was predicted that it would last a year or more. But Mr Taylor, who represents Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, told the court: "The estimate of the length of the case is now one third." [BBC]
Wednesday, 26 July, 2000: Pakistan's Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider on Monday said Pakistan and Libya have finalised a treaty on the extradition of wanted persons and negotiations with another 26 countries were progressing. He said that he intended to form a small delegation and send it to the countries with which he thought such a treaty should urgently be finalised as many 'fugitives from law' were hiding there and 'we want them early'. The minister said a United States official was arriving to brief the ministry on the paper work requirement when extradition of a person was required. [Business Recorder]
Wednesday, 26 July, 2000: Bilateral talks between Libya and Niger started late Monday in Tripoli aimed at consolidating co-operation between both countries in several areas. Prime minister Hama Amadou of Niger, who arrived in Tripoli Monday, is jointly chairing the talks with his Libyan counterpart, Mobarek Abdallah Shamekh. Also taking part in the talks are Libyan finance minister Mohammed Beit Al-Mal, the deputy secretary for political affairs at the African unity people's general committee, Said Hafyana, and representatives of the transport, petroleum and investment sectors. The ministers of finance and animal resources, Ali Badjo Gamatchi and Cornier Modibei respectively, represented Niger. [PANA]
Wednesday, 26 July, 2000: Bulgaria introduced a legal reform on Tuesday to smooth the way for one of its lawyers to defend six Bulgarian medics, accused in Libya of infecting hundreds of children with HIV. A Libyan court ruled last month that a Bulgarian defence lawyer could only take part in the trial if Libyan lawyers were allowed to defend Libyan nationals in Bulgarian courts. On Tuesday, Bulgaria's State Gazette bulletin carried amendments to the Bar Law, permitting foreign lawyers to defend their compatriots in Bulgarian courts with immediate effect. ``I very much hope the Libyan side will appreciate this good-will gesture and will respond by allowing me to represent my clients in court,'' defence lawyer Vladimir Sheitanov told Reuters. The medics have been charged with intentionally infecting 393 children in a Benghazi hospital where they worked with blood products contaminated with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 25 July, 2000: The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was ready to implement a comprehensive action plan integrating HIV/AIDS prevention into humanitarian action, the Economic and Social Council was told this morning as it finished discussing special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance. The plan called for cooperation at the global and country levels during complex emergencies, including for the acute phase of a crisis when social services were in disarray and government structures were weak. The representative of Libya described the social, environmental and health crises created by internal displacement. When forced to flee, people settled in areas not suitable for habitation. Many internally displaced persons migrated to urban areas, resulting in negative psychological impacts such as declining living standards and deterioration of both the family and the social fabric. [M2]
Monday, 24 July, 2000: Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Sunday called for quick action on the implementation of the proposed African satellite project. Qadhafi made the call in Tripoli, when he addressed participants at the 6th extraordinary general assembly of the African Regional Organisation for Satellite Communications (Rascom). He reiterated Libya's support for "this great African project" and said, he would, in the next few days, discuss the issue with African heads of state, especially those who were still sceptical about the project. [PANA]
Monday, 24 July, 2000: Mohamed Ghannouchi of Tunisia and the Director-General of the Libyan foreign investment agency, Mouhamed Ali el Houij, Saturday, in Tunis, discussed bilateral cooperation and joint venture opportunities. Ghannouchi and El Houij also pledged to intensify contacts and meetings between businessmen and promoters from the two countries. Meanwhile, a report on the proceedings published Saturday in Tunis at the end of discussions between the Tunisian minister of foreign affairs, Habib Ben Yahia and the secretary of the Libyan People's Committee for African Unity, Dr Ali Abdessalam Triki, stressed that Tunis and Tripoli were committed to promote and reinforce their commercial cooperation in accordance with decisions reached by their leaders. [PANA]
Sunday, 23 July, 2000: Libya's minister for African Affairs, Dr. Ali Triki, said Friday in Tunis that significant efforts were being made to re-launch the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA). The minister was addressing a news conference in the Tunisian capital after an audience with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to whom he handed a message from the Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. He said that in the message, the leader talked of the need by the two statesmen to step up efforts "to revive relations between Maghreb states and revitalise the UMA". [PANA]
Sunday, 23 July, 2000: Malawi and Libyan engineers have begun discussions on plans for a housing project that Libya has promised to finance, a Malawian official has said. Lucy Kapito of the Malawi Housing Corporation told AFP Wednesday that four Libyan engineers were holding discussions for the construction of 2,900 houses which the corporation will sell on to locals. Malawi President Bakili Muluzi said in March when he returned from a visit to Libya that Tripoli had agreed to accord a loan to Malawi to ease housing shortages. [AFP]

Saturday, 22 July, 2000: Libya has replaced Central Bank Governor Tahar Jehimi and appointed his deputy Lajili Abdesslam Brini as acting governor, officials said on Thursday. Mr Lajili Abdesslam Brini is now the acting governor, replacing Tahar Jehimi," an official at the Libyan Central Bank told Reuters by telephone. He gave no reason for the reshuffle but Arab bankers, who have contacts with Libyan counterparts, said the change was part of a reshuffle at the finance ministry in Libya. Arab bankers said Libyan Finance Minister Mohamed Bait-ul-Maal had been sacked recently and replaced by Abdul Qader al-Baghdadi. Libyan officials declined to comment on the reported dismissal of Bait-ul-Maal and his replacement. [Reuters]
Saturday, 22 July, 2000: The head of Libya's Foreign Ministry is arriving in Russia soon for the first time in the history of Russian-Libyan relations. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Mohammed Shalgam will stay on a working visit in Moscow from July 30 to August 2, 2000 as the Russian government's guest, Itar-Tass learned from informed diplomatic sources on Friday. Over the past few years Russia and Libya have maintained foreign political contacts at the level of deputy foreign ministers. Abdel-Rahman Mohammed Shalgam has been to Russia more than once in a different rank. During the upcoming visit to Moscow in his capacity of the foreign minister Shalgam will meet his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov. [Itar-Tass]
Saturday, 22 July, 2000: The assistant secretary for political affairs at the people's general committee for foreign relations and international cooperation in Libya on Wednesday in Tripoli met with the director of North Africa and Middle East department at the French foreign ministry, currently visiting Libya. During the meeting, the two sides discussed cooperation relations between Libya and France and means of strengthening and developing them in the service of the two countries' s joint interests. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 22 July, 2000: Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Wednesday received a message from Tunisian President Zein al-Abidin Bin Ali pertaining to coordination on means of giving a push forward to the Arab Maghreb federation and revitalizing its mechanism. The message was handed by the secretary general of the democratic constitutional coalition in Tunisia Abdul Rahim al-Zawari, the special envoy for the Tunisian President during his meeting on Wednesday with the Libyan President. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 22 July, 2000: A British court order that journalists hand over documents and e-mails from former MI5 agent David Shayler was quashed in the High Court today by a two-to-one verdict. The order was made by Judge Martin Stephens QC in March following the publication of stories based on information from Mr Shayler of a plot by the security services to assassinate Libya's Colonel Qadhafi. Today, after a judicial review of the decision, Lord Justice Judge said the order "would have had a devastating, stifling effect on the proper investigation of the Shayler story" and "would be an unhealthy development". [This is London]
Friday, 21 July, 2000: Two former leaders of Salt Lake City's successful bid to host the 2002 Winter Games were indicted on Thursday for spearheading an alleged $1 million cash-for-votes campaign to lure the games, the U.S. Justice Department said. The indictment alleges that with a view toward influencing them, Welch and Johnson then identified current and former IOC members from Chile, the Ivory Coast, the Netherlands, Swaziland, Mali, Finland, Yugoslavia, Barbados, Ecuador, Cameroon, South Korea, Sudan, Kenya, Libya and the Congo. Bashir Attarabulsi, the Libyan representative to the IOC, received $91,000 to vote for the American city to host the 2002 Winter Games. [Reuters / AP]
Thursday, 20 July, 2000: Security at one of the airports linked to the Lockerbie bombing has been described as lax by a lawyer for one of the men accused of the blast. Jack Davidson, QC, told the trial of the two Libyans in the Netherlands that security at Frankfurt Airport had been poor at the time of the bombing. He said a US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) inspection had strongly criticised Pan Am security at the airport months after a bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December, 1988, killing 270 people. The two accused Libyans deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act. However, the Libyans have entered a "special defence" blaming Palestinian terrorists. [BBC]
Wednesday, 19 July, 2000: Two Libyan men on trial in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 flew to Malta the day before an explosives-laden suitcase began its journey from that Mediterranean island to the doomed airliner, according to testimony Tuesday in a Scottish court. Prosecutors claim the two Libyans reached Malta on Dec. 20, 1988, and returned to Libya the next day - the same day the bomb blasted a hole in the luggage compartment of the Boeing 747 as it flew over Lockerbie, Scotland en route to New York. All 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground died. On the witness stand Tuesday, Air Malta official Martin Baron confirmed the authenticity of immigration cards registering the arrival and departure of defendant Lamen Khalifa Fhimah and a man by the name of Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad, which allegedly was an alias used by co-defendant Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi. [AP]

Tuesday, 18 July, 2000: Venezuelan energy minister Ali Rodriguez left Tripoli late Sunday after a two-day visit during which he held talks with the president of the Libyan national petroleum company, Abdullah Badri. The discussions focussed on current preparations for the forthcoming OPEC summit scheduled to take place 28-30 September in Caracas. Both parties reviewed the prevailing situation on the international oil market, agreeing that the "irregularities" on the market were directly linked to speculation and not the supply and demand of crude oil. The two parties seized the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to a balanced market, in the interest of producers and consumers. [PANA]
Tuesday, 18 July, 2000: The first meeting of directors of telecommunication organisations from the Sahelo-Saharan Community or SIN-SAD member countries ended in Tripoli, Libya, Sunday with a recommendation to forge reliable links among the 10-member states. The directors created a technical committee of experts in satellite communications, optic fibre cables, traffic and tariffs to examine the possibility of a direct link among all member countries. These experts are required to submit a report to the Tripoli-based SIN-SAD secretariat before 15 August 2000. The directors called for closer co-operation in the process of introducing modern telecommunication technologies, including the Internet and mobile phone services. [PANA]
Tuesday, 18 July, 2000: Lesotho and Libya were both winners on post-match penalties in their ties. Lesotho upset Mozambique in Maputo on Sunday, while Libya sneaked past Chad in Tripoli on Friday night. Libya won their shootout 8-7 against Chad following a 4-4 aggregate score after Libya won the second leg 3-1. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 18 July, 2000: A Libyan accused in the Lockerbie bombing handled baggage and tags at the Malta airport where prosecutors say the bomb was loaded onto the airliner, witnesses have said. Travel agent Dennis Burke said that Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima worked for Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA) at Luqa Airport in Malta in 1988. Because LAA flights were often overbooked in the late 1980s, the allocation of spare seats depended on Fahima, who selected favoured passengers to check in personally, he said. He pointed to Fahima in the dock on Monday and said, "He is here". The defence said security at Luqa was very tight, hoping to cast doubt on the suggestion that Fahima and co-accused Abdel Basset al-Megrahi planted a suitcase bomb on an Air Malta plane that was later transferred onto Pan Am Flight 103 in Frankfurt. [Reuters]
Monday, 17 July, 2000: Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said on Saturday: ``We hope that through consultations between the OPECchief and members suitable decisions will be taken.'' He was speaking after a meeting of Venezuelan Oil Minister and OPEC President Ali Rodriguez with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh. Rodriguez is on a tour of cartel member states to prepare for September's OPEC heads-of-state summit in Caracas. The tour took him to Libya on Sunday. [Reuters]
Sunday, 16 July, 2000: A parliamentary delegation from Bulgaria, led by the speaker of parliament, Yordan Sokolov, has arrived in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The Libyan news agency said the aim of the visit was to consolidate bilateral relations, but made no mention of reports that the delegation would discuss the issue of the six Bulgarian medical workers on trial in Libya on charges of infecting nearly four-hundred children with the AIDS virus. [BBC]
Saturday, 15 July, 2000: Egypt's national airline has resumed flights to Libya, after a break of more than eight years. EgyptAir's decision follows last year's decision by the United Nations to suspend international sanctions against Libya. Initially, EgyptAir says it plans to operate two flights a week to the Libyan capital Tripoli and plans to start flying to Libya's second city Benghazi soon. One hundred and thirty people were on board the first flight to take off from Cairo to Tripoli, including a large number of aviation officials. Mamduh Heshmet, head of Egypt's civil aviation authority, said he hoped the resumption of flights would greatly boost economic ties between the two countries. [BBC]
Saturday, 15 July, 2000: The Lockerbie trial has heard an airport supervisor admit it would have been possible for an unchecked bag to have been put on a flight from Malta which connected with Pan Am 103. But Wilfred Borg, ground operations general manager at Malta's Luqa Airport, denied unidentified luggage records produced by the prosecution showed safety procedures were broken. Prosecutors are trying to prove the two Libyans accused of bombing a New York-bound airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, planted the suitcase with the bomb on an Air Malta flight which later connected with the Pan Am flight. [BBC]
Saturday, 15 July, 2000: South Korea's Hyundai Engineering and Construction says it has agreed to take part in Libyan development projects through a joint venture with Libyan firms. The agreement was struck between the firm's president Kim Yun-kyu and visiting Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam. The first item of business is construction of a hospital in Libya with power plants, harbors, railroads, and airports to follow. The projects are all related to infrastructure improvements laid out by the Libyan government. [Asia Pulse]
Friday, 14 July, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Thursday that Christianity is an instrument of colonialism and that African Muslims should convert their brothers to Islam. ``Islam is the best religion. Christianity was introduced to Africa by colonialism to dominate Africans spiritually,'' Qadhafi told a rally in Benin's main city, Cotonou. ``All Muslims must convince all other Africans to convert to Islam.'' Qadhafi gave his address in Arabic to between 10,000 and 15,000 people gathered in a Cotonou stadium, including Benin's born-again Christian president, Mathieu Kerekou. [Reuters]
Friday, 14 July, 2000: The refusal of some prosecution witnesses to testify at the Lockerbie trial has dented but will not cripple the case against two Libyans accused of blowing up Pan Am flight 103, experts have said. They said the absence of witnesses expected to give evidence on security at Malta's Luqa airport was a hindrance to the prosecution but not an obstacle likely to wreck its case. Proceedings were adjourned for a day on Wednesday when prosecutors said the undisclosed number of witnesses had refused to travel to the special court in the Netherlands or testify by video link-up. The trial resumes on Friday. [Reuters]
Thursday, 13 July, 2000: African heads of state endorsed a plan Wednesday for continental union with a supreme body and an executive council, downgrading a grandiose scheme of Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi for a 'United States of Africa.' Leaders at this year's Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit, which ended Wednesday in Lome, signed a more limited proposal to create a watered-down version of the European Union, but gave no tight timetable for the plan's implementation. Twenty-seven nations out of more than 30 who attended the OAU summit signed the constituent act, which will then have to be ratified by parliaments of at least two-thirds of Africa's 53 nations. Qadhafi won support from several impoverished sub-Saharan nations and other countries which benefit from Libya's largesse, but met strong opposition from regional power-houses such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. [AFP]
Thursday, 13 July, 2000: The 36th Summit of the Organisation of African Unity wound up in Lome, Togo, Wednesday, after reasserting Libya's right "to compensation for the damage caused by the sanctions imposed by the Security Council following the so-called Lockerbie case." The Heads of State also "asked the Security Council to take a speedy decision for a total and permanent lifting of the sanctions imposed" on the country. The 1998 OAU summit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, had unilaterally authorised its members to travel to Libya by air on certain missions in defiance of the embargo. The leaders had maintained that they took the decision to correct what they considered an injustice. [PANA]
Thursday, 13 July, 2000: The trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing has been adjourned for two days after a group of witnesses refused to testify. Proceedings are due to resume on Friday at the Scottish court in the Netherlands. For the Crown, Alistair Campbell QC told the court that the witnesses in Malta were not prepared to give evidence. This meant that the the prosecution would have to restructure the presentation of its evidence in discussion with defence counsel. At this point, he had no further witnesses, Mr Campbell said. Court spokesman Richard Bailey said the witnesses had refused to come after "quite lengthy negotiations". They had been summoned to discussevents at Luqa airport on Malta, but declined to give their names or elaborate. A prosecution official said the witnesses were airport staff workers. [BBC]
Thursday, 13 July, 2000: Saudi tycoon Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdel Aziz is to build a five-star hotel in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, his holding company announced Wednesday. The hotel will be managed by the Movenpick hotel chain, Kingdom Holdings Co. said in a statement. The construction of the hotel has been subject of discussions between Prince Walid and Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on the sidelines of the 36th summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Lome, it said. Prince Walid held talks with Qadhafi on investment opportunities in Libya in the eastern town of Syrte in November 1999. [AFP]
Wednesday, 12 July, 2000: The trial of two Libyans accused of blowing up Pan Am flight 103 in 1998 resumed on Tuesday after a week-long break to allow prosecutors to examine last-minute defence witness statements. Prosecution and defence lawyers in the special Scottish court set up on neutral territory in the Netherlands will now move on to a second stage of evidence, after spending the last two months examining detailed forensic evidence collected from crash site debris. The Libyans deny the charges. The defence, which need only raise "reasonable doubt" in the minds of the three Scottish judges to secure an acquittal, is seeking to incriminate Palestinian extremists operating in Frankfurt. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 12 July, 2000: In cross-examination, Anthony Gauci, one of the strongest links in the Lockerbie prosecution case against the two Libyan defendants, admitted that in November 1991 he picked out a photo of a different suspect and told police at the time: "Of all the photos I have been shown, this photo ... is the only one that is really similar to the man who bought the clothing." Defense attorney Richard Keen noted that that photograph showed Mohammed Abu Talb, an Egyptian-born Palestinian jailed in Sweden for terrorist bombings in Europe. An early suspect in the Lockerbie investigations, Abu Talb was also sighted in Malta in the fall of 1988. [APB]
Wednesday, 12 July, 2000: A Maltese shop owner Tuesday could not positively identify one of the two Libyans accused of blowing up Pan Am flight 103 as the man who bought items alleged to have been in a suitcase with the bomb. Anthony Gauci said Abdel Basset al-Megrahi resembled the man who bought clothes and an umbrella from his store in 1988, just weeks before the plane exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie killing all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground. Forensic scientists have identified fragments of clothes and an umbrella found at the crash as having been in the suitcase along with the bomb and traced them to Gauci's store, Mary's House. Prosecutors wanted to link the two Libyan suspects with the suitcase. ``That is the one who resembles the man who came into my shop,'' Gauci said, pointing to al-Megrahi. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 12 July, 2000: African leaders Tuesday expressed their wish that the tripartite talks currently being held in Washington on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process would be a success. "We welcome the participation of Chairman Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ehud Barak in these direct talks and hope that their efforts will create the environment for success," the leaders said in a statement released while they are in a closed- door plenary session. The African leaders, 33 of them, are considering the Draft Constitutive Act of the African Union initiated during an extraordinary summit on September 9, 1999 in Sirte, Libya and the Draft Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament. [Xinhua]
Wednesday, 12 July, 2000: Liberia is making periodic payments from a monitored bank account to Libya for that country's financing of Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) war that led to the killing of 250,000 people and the destruction of most economic entities, the British newspaper The Financial Times reports. "A western intelligence official said Liberian bank accounts under observation showed payments from Liberia to Libya", The Financial Times revealed this week. Few months ago, Mr. Taylor demanded $26 million from state coffers as debt incurred by his rebel group, one of the most ruthless in Africa, for its war expenses. [The Perspective]
Wednesday, 12 July, 2000: The Lockerbie trial has heard that fragments of a baby romper suit recovered from the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 were traced back to a clothes shop in Malta. The blue Babygro was said to have been in the suitcase carrying the bomb which blew the plane apart above Lockerbie. All the items were bought by a Libyan man who went into Tony Gauci's outfitters in the Maltese town of Sliema just days earlier, the trial judges heard. Mr Gauci picked out one of the accused - Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi - as being someone who "resembled" the man who visited his shop, although he could not positively identify him. The prosecution says the two Libyan suspects went to the shop in Sliema on 7 December, 1988, and bought clothes and an umbrella. [BBC]
Wednesday, 12 July, 2000: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgam arrived in South Korea Tuesday to discuss political and economic cooperation after a three-day visit to North Korea, government officials said. During his four-day visit, Shalgam will meet his South Korean counterpart, Lee Joung-binn, and Construction and Transportation Minister Kim Yoon-ki. He will also pay a courtesy call on South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and visit several industrial facilities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said. Shalgam visited North Korea from Saturday to Monday. Libya established diplomatic ties with North Korea in 1974 and South Korea in 1980. [AP]
Tuesday, 11 July, 2000: African leaders opened a three-day summit Monday expected to tackle difficult regional issues as well as a proposal by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to create an African Economic Union and a pan-African parliament. Togo President Gnassingbe Eyadema opened this year's Organization of African Unity summit by urging the continent to unite in the face of other ``richer and more powerful'' international trade blocs that he said threatened Africa's developing economies. Qadhafi was also expected to call on African leaders to urge the West to end sanctions against Libya, imposed for his alleged support of terrorism. The Libyan leader's proposal of an African political and economic union, modeled loosely on the 8-year-old European Union, is one that he has aggressively pitched since holding a mini-summit last September in his home town of Sirte, Libya. While some leaders have expressed qualified support for the idea, more powerful African nations like South Africa and Nigeria are believed to have serious reservations. [AP]
Tuesday, 11 July, 2000: The Lockerbie prosecution's star witness is to be kept in a fortified building in the court compound at Camp Zeist in Holland to protect him from terrorist attack. The evidence of Abdul Majid Giaka is crucial to the case against the two Libyans accused of the bombing. Giaka, 40, claims to have worked alongside the two accused for Libyan Arab Airlines at Malta's Luqa Airport. The witness has lived in fear of his life since defecting from Libya to the US nearly 10 years ago. Agents from Tripoli were reported to be under orders to track him down and kill him in 1992, when his defection was confirmed. However, he is understood to have prospered in the United States after being given a new identity under the federal witness protection programme. When Giaka, listed as crown witness number 684, arrives at the trial at Camp Zeist, he will be accompanied by 30 armed US marshals. [The Sunday Times]
Tuesday, 11 July, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi rolled into Lome, Togo, for the Monday opening of a three-day summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) at the head of a 200-vehicle trans-desert caravan with two aircraft flying overhead. Early Monday morning, a few hours before the three-day summit was due to open, two groups of young girls gathered outside the summit venue to celebrate the arrival of the great leaders, marking perhaps the difference in styles in the region. On one side of the road: around 100 young Libyan girls, looking serious, modestly dressed in long white dresses and wearing the Hijab or Islamic veil, carrying giant posters of "the leader of the Islamic world", and chanting Allahu Akbar (God is Greater) . On the other: around 100 young Togolese girls, smiling and swaying, wearing brightly coloured mini-skirts, waving pom-poms, whirling batons, and singing in a more west African style of welcome. [AFP]
Monday, 10 July, 2000: African leaders arrived in Togo on Sunday for their annual summit but a boycott led by Angola and other likely absences put a question mark over any meaningful discussions on the conflicts plaguing the continent. By nightfall, more than 20 of the OAU's 53 heads of state or government had arrived. Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, keen to persuade the more than 30 presidents expected to attend Monday's 36th Organization of African Unity summit to embrace his dream of a fully fledged African federation, had set up his tent at a beachfront hotel where bodyguards frisked everyone entering or leaving. [Reuters]
Sunday, 9 July, 2000: Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Togo on Saturday to attend the annual Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit after a symbolic overland journey across West Africa from Libya. Huge portraits of Qadhafi, specially brought in from Libya, adorned the seafront border crossing. A coastal patrol boat kept a watch offshore, and Qadhafi's guards and protocol people were everywhere. Qadhafi has helped tiny Togo foot the bill for this year's summit and regularly helps some of Africa's poorest nations pay their membership dues so they can take part. The Libyan delegation is reputed to number more than 1,000 people. They have taken over the largest hotel in this small city, presenting the Togolese authorities with something of an accommodation crisis. ``They paid for the party, they might as well enjoy it,'' one foreign businessman commented as he waited to cross the border into Ghana. [Reuters / BBC]
Sunday, 9 July, 2000: A Libyan Arab Airlines jet landed Saturday in Cairo, resuming flights between Libya and Egypt after an eight-year hiatus due to sanctions. The Airbus 320 was carrying an aviation delegation and 11 other passengers. The Libyan delegation was headed by Mohammed Issa, secretary of the Popular Committee of Libyan Arab Airlines. The airline will have 12 flights a week to Egypt, he said. Samir Imbabi, head of the EgyptAir Station's Service, said EgyptAir's regular flights to Libya would resume Thursday. Egypt's national airliner will have three flights a week to Libya, he said. [AP]
Saturday, 8 July, 2000: [American] Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Thursday charged that the U.S. government was imposing its will on the world and he criticized the United Nations, calling it the ``extended arm'' of Washington. Farrakhan condemned the United States, claiming it attempted to interfere in the internal affairs of Cuba, Iran and Libya. He also charged that it was using the world body to punish those countries that do not agree with it. The Nation of Islam billed Farrakhan's appearance as an address to ``the world body of the United Nations.'' But the event just drew diplomats from countries at odds with the United States, including Cuba, Libya, and Iraq. He spoke on invitation from Libya's U.N. Mission and the Family Federation of World Peace and Unification International. [AP]

Friday, 7 July, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Ghana on Thursday for a two-day visit as part of his trans-Saharan trip while enroute to the OAU summit in Lome, Togo. Ghana's Minister of Communications, John Mahama, said in an official statement in Accra Wednesday night that while in Ghana, Col. Qadhafi will address a public gathering Saturday on the challenges of African unity in the 21st Century. [PANA]
Friday, 7 July, 2000: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam on Thursday held wide-ranging discussions with his Indian counterpart External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported. Shalgam, who arrived in India on Thursday morning on a two-day official visit, also had talks with Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes on regional and international issues of mutual concern, and called on Indian Vice President Krishan Kant, said the PTI. He will call on Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday and meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the report added. [Xinhua]
Friday, 7 July, 2000: Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA) is set to resume its flights to Egypt next week, informed sources said in Tripoli. According to an agreement signed by the Libyan air company and Egypt Airlines, passenger planes would leave Tripoli, Benghazi and Sebha for Cairo and Alexandria. Libyan Airlines resumed flights to Tunisia and Morocco recently. The resumption of LAA flights follows the partial lifting of UN sanctions imposed on country in the wake of the bombing of a US airliner over Lockerbie in Scotland for which two Libyans are standing trial in The Hague. [PANA]
Friday, 7 July, 2000: The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian National Universities Commission Prof. Munzali Jubril, on Tuesday in Abuja denied speculations of a planned establishment of an Islamic University in Kano by the Libyan Government and described it as unconstitutional. He said no country, other than Nigeria, could establish a University within the nation's geographical location. Speaking to journalists against the backdrop of the purported plans by Libya to establish an Islamic University in Kano, Jubril described such an attempt as an exercise in illegality. [This Day]
Friday, 7 July, 2000: The Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has addressed a large rally in the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou on the second day of his visit to the country. Speaking to a crowd of several thousand people on Wednesday night, he called the town a city of liberators, because the Organisation of African Unity, the OAU, took the decision to lift the embargo against Libya there in 1998. [BBC]
Thursday, 6 July, 2000: Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi left Niamey, Niger, Tuesday for Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, after a four-day visit to Niger, state radio reported. Before departing Niamey, Qadhafi held discussions with Tanja at the Libyan embassy. Both leaders later jointly laid a foundation stone for the proposed 20 million US-dollar Libyan business centre in Niamey. Radio Niger reported that construction work on the centre was expected to begin soon. [ArabicNews]
Thursday, 6 July, 2000: Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, is learning more about Africa by travelling by land from the Mediterranean coast to the West African shores of the Atlantic, according to a close aide. Qadhafi late Tuesday arrived in Ouagadougou on what Libyan officials describe as his grand tour of West Africa which started Saturday in Agades, Niger. The Libyan leader, who is travelling by road, is on his way to Lome, Togo, where he will attend the 36th Summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) from 10 - 12 July. [PANA]
Thursday, 6 July, 2000: The need to enlist the effort of the world community to rebuff the evil of international terrorism was recognised by Russian special envoy for the Middle East settlement, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Sredin and Secretary of Libya's Supreme People's Council for External Relations and International Cooperation Abdel-Rahman Shalgam. This is said in the Russian Foreign Ministry's report summing up the results of Sredin's visit to Libya. [ITAR-TASS]
Thursday, 6 July, 2000: Expectations of greater output drove oil prices down Wednesday, even as OPEC members urged Saudi Arabia to drop its plan to pump an additional 500,000 barrels of crude per day. Libya appeared to side with Iran, Iraq and other OPEC members urging Saudi Arabia not to act alone, and the Saudis strove to find consensus on the divisive issue. The markets seemed to anticipate a production increase. In New York, crude prices fell 5.6 percent. [AP]
Thursday, 6 July, 2000: A Libyan envoy brokering the talks for the release of 20 mostly foreign hostages held by Moslem rebels in the southern Philippines has voiced hope that the negotiations could be concluded "in two or three days." Libyan ambassador Rajab Azzarouq and Philippine government negotiators are to return to Jolo island where the hostages have been held for more than 10 weeks, to resume talks with the Abu Sayyaf guerrillas. "I hope it will be the last (trip) to settle the matter. It already took too long. We gave them (the rebels) enough time," Azzarouq told reporters on Wednesday. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 5 July, 2000: Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has reiterated the importance of the proposed Trans-Saharan railway line, saying it would facilitate the movement of peoples and goods between countries bordering the Sahara desert. Addressing thousands of people gathered Sunday at the square of Zinder, 900 km East of Niamey, Qadhafi appealed for the transformation of the Sahara into a bridge between the peoples and countries who share the Sahara desert. "We need to catch up on the time wasted and reduce the distances separating us," Qadhafi said. [ArabicNews]
Wednesday, 5 July, 2000: Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam is arriving in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday on an official visit, during which he will call on Indian Vice President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and hold discussions with his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh, said the Indian External Affairs Ministry. Shalgam will also meet Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes, Industry and Commerce Minister Murasoli Muran and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the ministry said. [Xinhua]
Wednesday, 5 July, 2000: Diplomatic sources in the Libyan foreign ministry said that foreign minister Abdel-Rahman Shalgam is due to begin on Saturday, 8 July, a visit to South and North Korea for a week to hold talks to enhance bilateral relations between Libya and the two Koreas. Shalgam will hold talks during his 3-day visit to North Korea with Libiong Yang and with his North Korean counterpart Pak Nam Son to develop the relations between the two countries. Following his visit to North Korea, Shalgam will head to Seoul on 11 July in a visit that takes 4 days to hold talks with his counterpart Lee Young Pin. [ArabicNews]
Wednesday, 5 July, 2000: An Amazigh summer festival will be held in Rabat, Morocco, July 6 - 8 at the initiative of the Youth and Future Association. Culture, handicraft and youth and sports ministries are contributing to the festival that features debates on topics related to the Berber culture, music, poetry and other forms of arts, in addition to concerts by Berber musicians from Morocco, Spain, Algeria, Libya and Mali. According to the Youth and Future association, set up in 1995, this is a premiere for the public of Rabat and could be a new breath for artists concerned with various aspects of the Berber culture. [ArabicNews]
Wednesday, 5 July, 2000: Egypt and Libya criticized the declarations of the Ethiopian President Ngaso Gidada in which he said that "Ethiopia is still committed to supporting the peace initiative of the governmental organization for development IGAD which aims at gathering the Sudanese government and the public movement around the negotiation table." Egyptian and Libyan officials said that I.G.A.D heads to a solution between the public movement for liberating Sudan and Khartoum's government and that it could be replaced by the joint Libyan - Egyptian initiative which emphasizes a solution to Sudan's crisis with all the opposition parties with the government. [ArabicNews]
Wednesday, 5 July, 2000: Two British newspapers have accused the government of trying to "shoot the messenger" after allegations by ex-M15 agent David Shayler of UK involvement in a plot to kill Libyan leader Colonel Qadhafi. The accusation came as the editors of The Guardian and The Observer and a correspondent challenged in the High Court orders requiring them to hand over documents and e-mails relating to Mr Shayler. Asking Lord Justice Judge, Mr Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Gibbs to grant a judicial review, Mr Tugendhat appearing for the newspapers on Monday said: "In a nutshell the complaint is that, instead of addressing the message, the government attempts to suppress or shoot the messenger." [BBC]
Tuesday, 4 July, 2000: The Libyan leader, Colonel Qadhafi, is continuing a journey by road around the neighbouring state of Niger. He was due to arrive in the capital, Niamey, late on Monday where he was expected to have talks on co-operation between the two countries. He earlier visited the cities of Agadez and Zinder. At a rally in Zinder, Colonel Qadhafi called for regions of Africa linked by common culture or religion to unite. His tour is expected to take him on to Burkina Faso and Benin later in the week. [BBC]
Tuesday, 4 July, 2000: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Sredin will visit Libya on July 4-6 for consultations on a bilateral agenda and urgent international issues. Sredin, who is also Russian president's special envoy to the Middle East settlement, will visit Libya as part of "coordinated efforts by the parties in the interest of promoting a political dialogue and mutually advantageous cooperation in various fields", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in statement on Monday. [ITAR-TASS]
Tuesday, 4 July, 2000: Following are [some of] the results of African Nations Cup preliminary round, first leg matches played over the weekend: Djibouti 1 Burundi 3 - Mauritania 0 Burkina Faso 0 - Botswana 1 Madagascar 0 . . . Chad 3 Libya 1 . . . [Xinhua]
Monday, 3 July, 2000: EgyptAir, the national carrier of Egypt, will resume flights to Libya this month, an official of the airline said on Sunday. The development comes following intervention of the two countries' leaders, aimed at the resumption of flights, initially scheduled for April 1999, the official was quoted as saying by Egypt's Middle East News Agency. The delay for more than one year was caused by technical and commercial problems, the official said on condition of anonymity. He added that three return flights in a week will be organized in the last 10 days of July, including two between Cairo and Tripoli and one between Cairo and Benghazi. A delegation from EgyptAir will head for Tripoli in the coming days to make the final preparations for the resumption of flights and discussion of re-opening EgyptAir offices in Libya, the official said. [Xinhua]

Sunday, 2 July, 2000: Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived Saturday in Agadez, some 1,200 km north of Niamey, for a working visit whose length was not specified, Niger National Radio said. President Tandja Mamadou greeted his host and they later held private talks before travelling to the Irhazer Valley to visit out of season crop sites. According to Niger governmental sources, Libya intends to finance a huge hydraulic programme to develop irrigated agriculture in the valley. Qadhafi will also visit Zinder, Niger's second largest town, and the capital city Niamey, where he will lead the Great Mosque prayer on Friday. [PANA]
Saturday, 1 July, 2000: Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar held bilateral talks with his counterparts and representatives from several countries on the fringes of the 27th session of Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) here today. The countries included Uganda, Guinea, Qatar, Libya and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Libya's Secretary-General of Political Affairs, Saad Mustafa Mujber said thanks to Malaysia's leadership, participants of the ICFM had reached consensus on every issue despite many people's prediction that those matters would divide them. "We showed unity and will by cooperating in many fields. We hope the conference is going to be a turning point for the Islamic world from today onwards," he added. [Asia Pulse]
Saturday, 1 July, 2000: An invitation to Irish live cattle exporters to tender for 10,000 tonnes of beef for Libya was being seen in the trade yesterday as a first move by Libya towards the reopening of the live trade. The offer was made because Libyans have traditionally dealt with live cattle shippers rather than beef processors. There was an enthusiastic response from Compassion in World Farming in Ireland to the report in the Irish Farmers' Journal that Libya wants beef instead of live cattle. The report said that Libya was asking that the first of the beef must be delivered by the first week in August. [The Irish Times]
Saturday, 1 July, 2000: Sudanese President Omar el Bashir has invited all opposition groups in Sudan for a meeting with his government in Khartoum within one month, to prepare for a reconciliation conference proposed by Libya and Egypt. "We reaffirm our commitment to the joint Libyan- Egyptian initiative for the convening of a comprehensive national reconciliation conference, Bashir said Thursday in a state address marking his eleventh year in power. [PANA]
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