News and Views

January 1998

30 January 1998: France on Thursday took one more step in its bid to bring six Libyans, including a brother-in-law of Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, to trial over the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over the Sahara in which 170 died. Judicial sources said top anti-terrorism investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere had sent his report to the general prosecutor asking that the six be put on trial. Bruguiere's report, concluding that the order to blow up the plane came from al-Qadhafi's brother-in-law Abdallah al-Senoussi, has already been endorsed by lower state prosecutors. [Reuter]

28 January 1998: Eid al-Fitr al-Mubarak will be on Thursday in Libya, the official Libyan news agency JANA announced on Tuesday. JANA quoted Libya's astronomical organisation as saying that under its calculations the lunar month of Ramadan will end on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be public and business holidays, it said. [Reuter]
26 January 1998: The new United States ambassador to Malta told the Times of Malta that Washington will not lift sanctions on Libya until Libya turns over suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which blew up over Scotland. Ambassador Kathryn Profitt told the Maltese newspaper "... as the ambassador I want to make it very clear that the U.S. government wants to see the perpetrators brought to justice." Libya has been under an embargo on air travel and weapons sales since 1992 because of its refusal to hand over two suspects in the bombing to the United States or Britain. [The Washington Times]
22 January 1998: A United Nations report said Libya is anxious for the easing of an air embargo that is part of U.N. sanctions imposed in connection with the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. The report was drafted by a U.N. fact-finding mission that visited Libya last month to study the effects of the sanctions. "It was apparent to the mission that the Libyans consider the sanctions ... as 'illegal' and unjust and want them to be lifted immediately,'' the report said. [Reuter]
18 January 1998: A spokesman for the British Foreign Ministry said that the British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook will seek to convince the US to lift sanctions imposed on Libya and Iran during his visit to Washington. Reports quoted the spokesman as saying that Cook, being the representative of the European Union's Presidency, is hopeful that Britain would normalize its trade relations with the two countries with the exclusion of strategic commodities. [Arabic News]
18 January 1998: Sudanese opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi denies al-Arab newspaper reports that Sudanese opposition leaders met Sudanese government officials in the Libyan capital Tripoli last week. [AFP]

A new issue of the LMCR's Newsletter

15 January 1998: Libya on Wednesday called on OPEC to reverse the decision it made in December to raise its oil output ceiling. Libya's Energy Ministry said it was so concerned over a slump in the price of oil on world markets that Tripoli was ready to forgo the quota rise it was awarded by OPEC in December if other member countries agreed to do so. "Libya is ready to renounce production of its part of the raise in oil production that was decided at the last OPEC meeting, if all the OPEC members agree to take the same measure,'' the ministry said. [Reuter]

Libyan Relief Fund Ramadan Programs

11 January 1998: Libya on Saturday denied British newspaper reports that Iraqi scientists were helping it develop biological weapons. "A number of English papers...have alleged that the Libya was receiving help from Iraqi scientists and experts to develop what they termed as a programme to produce bacteriological weapons," BBC quoted the Libyan news agency JANA as saying. "The international affairs editor at JANA has rejected these claims, describing them as ridiculous and totally baseless." [CNN]
11 January 1998: The British Times and Guardian newspapers this week quoted Western intelligence sources as saying Libya was receiving help from Iraqi scientists in a covert programme, believed to be codenamed Ibn Hayan, to develop weapons of mass destruction. [CNN]
11 January 1998: Libya accused the United States on Friday of a double standard on the Lockerbie airliner bombing, citing its failure to return to Russia an American accused there of spying and the release by a Texas court of a Rwandan war crimes suspect. Libya has been the target of U.N. sanctions since 1992 for failing to extradite to Britain or the United States two men accused in the 1988 mid-air bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. [Reuter]

7 January 1998: The United States has renewed economic sanctions against Libya for the thirteenth year. In a letter to Congress, President Clinton said it was necessary to apply economic pressure to reduce Libya's ability to support what he described as international terrorism. The sanctions, which include an economic embargo and a freezing of Libyan assets in the US, were imposed in 1986 by President Reagan. [BBC]
4 January 1998: In a statement received Saturday, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya "al-Jabha al-Wataniya li-Inqath Libya" reminded the Libyan people of what happened a year ago this week, when Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi executed six senior officers and two civilians. The NFSL said that executing those innocent citizens was a criminal act. Four of the eight Libyans executed [pictured] from left to right: Saad Misbah, Col Miftah Ghroum, Major Ramadan al-Ihuri Muhammad and Major Khalil Salim Jadak. The other four are: Staff Col. Mustafa Abu al-Qasim Massud, Flight Lt.-Col. Saad Salah Faraj, Maj. Mustafa Hubayl al-Fudhil and Sulayman Ghayth Muftah. To view the NFSL's statement, please click here
4 January 1998: In a statement commenting on the Libyan government cabinet reshuffle decided at the end of a five-day session of the General People's Congress in Sirt, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya "al-Jabha al-Wataniya li-Inqath Libya" said that the new cabinet is no different than the old ones. The NFSL said the only decision maker in Libya is Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi not the government cabinet and its members. To view the full text of the NFSL's statement, please click here
New item added to "Libya: Our Home" : Omar al-Mukhtar - Part II

4 January 1998: Libya granted American balloonist Steve Fossett clear passage Saturday, but only after he took a risky change of course to bypass Libya in his quest to be the first to fly a balloon nonstop around the world. Libya's clearance offers Fossett the option of dropping south to pick up stronger winds, which could double or even triple his speed, mission controllers said. [Reuter]
2 January 1998: Libya is owed a total of $3.273 billion which it is trying to get reimbursed, a government report said. The figure did not include a total of $193.99 million reimbursed from January to September by Vietnam, Poland and Tunisia, said the report to the General People's Congress. [Reuter]
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