News and Views [ October 2000 ]

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Tuesday, 31 October, 2000: Countries that are rich in natural resources spend less on education, and end up poorer as a result, according to a new study. Resource-rich countries rarely have fast-growing economies because of corruption, political complacency and poor economic policies, but a neglect of education is just as relevant, says Thorvaldur Gylfason, an economist at the University of Iceland. "Nations that are confident that their natural resources are the most important asset may inadvertently - and perhaps even deliberately - neglect the development of their human resources," Gylfason said. "Their natural wealth may blind them to the need for educating their children. According to Gylfason, from 1965 to 1998 per capita gross national product in oil-rich Iran and Venezuela fell by an annual average of 1%, by 2% in Libya, 3% in Iraq and Kuwait, and by 6% in Qatar. [Dow Jones]
Tuesday, 31 October, 2000: Gambians recently evacuated from Libya have disclosed to The Independent that Libyans in the presence of that country's police 'beat' and slaughtered' black Africans after a clash with Nigerian immigrants. Kemo Jatta a resident of Brikama who left The Gambia with his family since 1975 said at Gergaresh and Zawuya Libyans in the presence of the police pulled own blacks from vehicles at check points and in the streets and 'beat them to death and burnt them to ashes'. Mr. Jatta disclosed that at Zawuya a Sudanese national was 'slaughtered' while his wife and children were burnt to death. He added that in a separate incident 40 Libyans attacked one Abdoulie Sonko a Gambian from Niumi Berending. According to him Abdoulie was nearly beaten to death but fortunately for him, he escaped through the window of the house he was living in at the time. [The Independent]
Press Release: The Libyan National Democratic Grouping

Monday, 30 October, 2000: Libya Sunday deposited its instrument of ratification of the Constitutive Act of the African Union with the Organisation of African Unity, according to a release issued by the OAU from Tripoli. The release said the Secretary of the General People's Committee for African Unity, Ali Triki, presented the Instrument of ratification to OAU Secretary-General, Salim Ahmed Salim, who is on a working visit to Tripoli at the invitation of Libyan Leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Salim and Qadhafi later held extensive talks covering among other things, the recent events in the country, the progress so far made in implementing the Sirte Declaration and the Summit and Council Decisions taken in Lome, Togo in July on the establishment of the African Union. They also discussed ways of strengthening Afro-Arab Co- operation. The Libyan legislature ratified the Act establishing the Union 2 October. [PANA]
Monday, 30 October, 2000: Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko pins big hopes on the mutually beneficial economic cooperation with Libya, where he will head on an official visit on October 31. "We have a new rich and interesting partner in Africa," Lukashenko said on Sunday. He noted that Belarus can hope for promoting its merchandise on the regional market. On the other hand, Belarus is interested in Libyan investments. There is an official information that a number of accords will be signed on results of Lukashenko's two-day visit. These include the agreements on mutual protection of investments, the setting up of a joint commission for economic, trade, scientific and technical cooperation, and cooperation in education and culture. [Itar-Tass]

Sunday, 29 October, 2000: The UN General Assembly adopted by near unanimous vote on Thursday a resolution criticizing unilateral sanctions, which Libya said was aimed at the United States. The measure, sponsored by Libya, calls for the repeal of "unilaterally imposed extraterritorial coercive economic measures on trade and financial and economic cooperation, including at the regional level." The text had been negotiated with the European Union whose 15 members supported it. In a lengthy speech, Libyan Ambassador Abuzed Omar Dorda (photo) said Washington, which has imposed sanctions against Libya, might eventually be rewarded in kind. "As we impose embargoes on others, the others will start imposing the same on us," he told the assembly. "They could close their markets to American goods." "Does this serve the interests of the American economy?" he asked. [Reuters]
Saturday, 28 October, 2000: The Italian government Friday accepted to pay 260 million US dollars as damages of its occupation of Libya in 1911, the Libyan news agency reported Friday, quoting an official source. The agency said that the Libyan economic and finance minister and the Italian exports insurance agency had Thursday signed an agreement for the payment of compensation. In July 1999, Italy had officially apologised for the wrongs and suffering caused to the Libyan people during the occupation. The agency said that Italy also undertook to compensate the Libyan people for the ills they suffered during the colonial period. The signing of the agreement Thursday coincided with the day of remembrance of thousands of Libyans who were deported in October 1911 to the barren islands in southern Italy, where thousands of them died from diseases, famine and bad weather. Tripoli had asked Rome to explain what happened to all the deportees. Since the July 1999 apology, relations between the two countries have markedly improved. [ArabicNews.Com]
Friday, 27 October, 2000: A French Court ruling that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi could be prosecuted for the bombing of a French DC-10 aircraft over Niger has created anger amongst Libyans. Libyans have reacted to the ruling by staging protests in Tripoli and five other major Libyan towns. Protesters issued a statement saying, "The masses will sacrifice everything they have to defend the leader" according to Reuters. A French court sentenced six Libyans in absentia to life imprisonment in 1999 and protesters claim that the recent court ruling is an attempt to "sour the relations between Libya and France." [M2]
Friday, 27 October, 2000: South Korea's Hyundai Corp. plans to develop Libya's "elephant" oil field has been delayed by one year, a company source told Dow Jones Newswires. The company will likely begin pumping crude from the field in 2002, instead of the expected start date of middle to late 2001, he said. "We're waiting for the Libyan Parliament to give approval to the project," he said. "There are also financial issues involved." "Libya, as an OPEC member, wants to maintain its quotas," the source said. "They aren't in a rush to develop those fields." [Dow Jones]

Thursday, 26 October, 2000: A Libyan paper emphatically condemned "the attempts of certain French circles seeking to undermine Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and torpedo the good relations existing between Tripoli and Paris." Reacting to the vague attempts of the French courts to open a new inquiry on Qadhafi, following the complaint lodged by an association of victims of the UTA DC-10 attack in 1989, the Libyan daily "Al-Zahf Al-Akhdhar" denounced the approach, saying it is a "criminal aggression against the Libyan people." "The Libyan masses, represented by the people's congress at the grassroots,...producers, professionals, intellectuals and writers led by the movement of revolutionary committees, consider this approach as a direct aggression against the Libyan people and France bears full responsibility for it," the daily, an organ of the Libyan revolutionary committees, writes. Qadhafi's lawyer, Francois Gibot, said there was no charge against his client in this case. [PANA]
Thursday, 26 October, 2000: Libya on Tuesday endorsed a fully-fledged African Union merging all nation states throughout the continent, ahead of an African summit scheduled for March next year. "The Great Libyan Jamahiriya on Tuesday informed the Organization of African Unity (OAU) of the unanimous approval by the Basic People's Congresses of the legal status founding the African Union," Libyan television reported. It said the union will be formally proclaimed in March at an African summit in the Libyan city of Syrte. The Basic People's Congresses theoretically rule Libya, according to its fundamental law of the masses' power. Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has been striving to persuade African leaders to form the union, arguing that nation states have failed to cure many of the continent's woes, including wars, famine and diseases. [CNN]
Thursday, 26 October, 2000: African trade unions have called for a commission of inquiry into recent violence in Libya against workers from sub-Saharan Africa. A statement in Nairobi at the end of an executive meeting of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, African Regional Organisation, called on the Libyan authorities to take urgent measures to bring perpetrators of criminal acts to justice, to compensate victims and ensure that migrant workers are guaranteed security and the right to join unions. The statement said Libya should respect internationally-accepted labour standards. In the violence, at least one-hundred Africans from several sub-Saharan nations died in attacks against them by Libyans. [BBC]
Thursday, 26 October, 2000: Egyptian information minister Safwat El-Sharif headed yesterday to Libya to meet President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi but the details of the visit were not stated in Cairo, yet it is known that El-Sharif is the one authorized with the Libyan file in the Egyptian foreign policy. It is expected that El-Sharif will convey a message from the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to President Qadhafi who refused to attend the last Arab summit. In pre-departure statements, Sherif said he had met Qadhafi and will convey a message from him to President Mubarak. [ArabicNews.Com]
Thursday, 26 October, 2000: Liberia has announced plans to repatriate some 110 of its citizens from Libya following recent violent clashes between Libyans and immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, press reports said Wednesday. Liberia's minister counsellor to Tripoli, Yanks Smythe, told reporters the repatriation would be carried out based on requests from Liberians who are presently seeking refuge at their country's chancery in Tripoli. The clashes between Libyans and the immigrants, mainly from West Africa, resulted in several deaths, and led to the repatriation or deportation of thousands of the immigrants. [PANA]
Thursday, 26 October, 2000: Preparations for a session of the Russo-Libyan inter-governmental commission for economic, scientific and technical cooperation were considered in Moscow on Wednesday at a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu, Minister for Emergencies. Shoigu, who co-chairs the commission on the Russian side, told journalists after the meeting that the Commission's session is to take place in Libya on November 8, this year. The Minister pointed out that from the viewpoint of mutually beneficial cooperation "Libya is of great interest to Russia". He mentioned the construction of gas and oil pipelines as possible joint projects. [Itar-Tass]

Wednesday, 25 October, 2000: Libya recalled its ambassador to Lebanon on Monday to protest treatment by Speaker Nabih Berri, a diplomatic source said on Monday. The source said Libya had officially informed Lebanon of its decision to recall Ali Maria because of Berriís failure to invite him to the opening ceremony of the new Parliamentís inaugural session on Oct. 17, to which all ambassadors to Lebanon were invited. He added that this was not the first time Berri snubbed Maria, arguing that there were similar incidents in which Maria, who has served in Beirut since 1998, was the only ambassador not to be invited to an official event. Berri, who heads the Amal Movement, holds Libya responsible for the disappearance of the groupís founder, Shiite cleric Musa Sadr, who went missing during a trip to Libya in 1978. Libya contends that Sadr disappeared after leaving Libyan territory. [Daily Star]
Wednesday, 25 October, 2000: The Lockerbie trial has been adjourned for another week to allow the defence team to study evidence that could have a major impact on the case. The information, received by the Crown from an unnamed foreign government, is said to be relevant to the case being put forward by lawyers for the two Libyan suspects. The trial resumed on Monday after the latest delay - a two-week adjournment to allow further inquiries to be made into the material passed to the prosecution. On Tuesday, defence counsel Bill Taylor QC told the court: "It is apparent that the information contained, if true, will have the greatest conceivable effect on this trial and in particular on the special defence." [BBC]
Wednesday, 25 October, 2000: The Algerian President Abd El-Aziz Bou-Taflika visited the night before last Tripoli where he held talks with the Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The Libyan radio broadcasted that the two leaders discussed means of enhancing the bilateral relations and the situation in the African continent as well as the current Arab stance. Qadhafi did not participate in the Cairo's Arab summit and he denounced the results of the summit which he depicted of being weak. The Algerian daily Sawt al-Ahrar said that Bou-Taflika's visit to Libya was a diplomatic expression of his protest to the decision of the Arab summit in his own special way of supporting al-Qadhafi's stand despite his opposition in form to al-Qadhafi. [ArabicNews.Com]
Wednesday, 25 October, 2000: Sudanese President Omar Bashir Monday commended Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi for his efforts to settle differences between his country and Uganda. "Thank God and through your efforts to settle the Sudan-Ugandan conflict, we have succeeded in holding the quadripartite ministerial meeting," Bashir said in a message to Qadhafi. According to the Libyan news agency, the ministerial meeting was held in the presence of the secretary of the Libyan people's committee, the OAU and the Egyptian foreign minister. "We believe that this meeting took a huge step towards the solving of this conflict," Bashir's message said, which urged the Libyan leader to continue pushing for a global and final solution to the conflict between the two neighbours. Uganda and Sudan mutually blame each other of helping their respective armed dissidents. [PANA]
Wednesday, 25 October, 2000: Transaer has had 3 of its aircraft seized by Libyan Arab Airlines and Egyptair. The Libyan airline is holding 2 Airbus A320 aircraft in Tripoli, each worth around $30-40m, while Egyptair holds an A300, worth $20m. Aer Rianta has been holding 2 aircraft leased by Transaer since last Friday as it owes Aer Rianta Ir£200k in unpaid landing fees. Other TransAer creditors include leasing companies like GE Capital Aviation Services, ILFC and Orix. [Yahoo]

Tuesday, 24 October, 2000: Libyans displayed their dismay at the results of Cairo's Arab summit by staging nationwide demonstrations Monday, with banners denouncing the Arab leaders' actions as ``unrepresentative of Arab public opinion.'' Libya's delegation to the Arab summit walked out of the summit on the first day, saying it wouldn't take strong enough action. In the Libyan capital, Tripoli, thousands marched to the Palestinian Embassy. There the Palestinian Authority's top diplomat in Libya, Ali Mohamed Mostafa, delivered a speech pledging the uprising ``will not end until all Palestinian land is liberated.'' [AP]
Tuesday, 24 October, 2000: Protestors and Arab newspapers across the board on Monday criticised the Arab summit, saying it failed to live up to the expectations of an Arab street clamoring for tough action against Israel. Thousands of Libyans denounced the summit Monday in a demonstration outside the UN offices in Tripoli. The protesters chanted: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem!" and "Liberate Palestine from the Israeli occupier." The only Arab state that was not party to the resolution issued by the Arab summit was Libya, which walked out of the summit Saturday to protest the "weak" stands against Israel. [AFP]
Tuesday, 24 October, 2000: European Commission President Romano Prodi's willingness to improve ties with Libya will not be affected by a French ruling that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi can be prosecuted for blowing up a passenger plane, a European Union ( EU) spokesman said Monday. "I don't think President Prodi's belief that we should speed up the improvement of ties with Libya changes at all. He continues to think that's the case, but he also thinks that the conditions, the very firm conditions, attached to that ... remain," the spokesman told a news briefing. "So, Prodi's enthusiasm remains, but the conditions hinging on that remain as well," he said. The firm conditions referred to by the spokesman relate to a stipulation that Qadhafi must pledge in adherence to the so-called Barcelona process, an EU-Mediterranean cooperation project that includes Israel. Libya has given the EU verbal assurances in the past that it would drop its objections to Israel's participation, but stopped short of providing the firm commitments sought by Brussels. [Xinhua]
Tuesday, 24 October, 2000: British police have interviewed six people over the last two weeks as a result of new information received by prosecutors in the Lockerbie trial of two Libyans. The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, told the Scottish court in the Netherlands that five of those spoken to were in Europe, while the sixth was in the United States. He said the new information was complex and sensitive and that the people involved were concerned about their security. Details, along with a file which is more than an inch thick, were passed to the defence teams on Monday. They asked the court to adjourn the trial until Tuesday - when it is expected that they will say how long they need to examine the new material before the trial can resume. [BBC]
Tuesday, 24 October, 2000: Al-Rayan volleyball club of Qatar Sunday won the first edition of the Arab winners' cup, hosted by Libya 15-22 October in Tripoli. The Qataris beat Olympique Klebia of Tunisia by three sets to love (25-23, 25-22, 25-22). Organisers said proceeds from the tournament would be donated to support the Palestinian people. Eight teams, Al-Ahli and Al-Jazira (Libya), Al-Rayan (Qatar), Al-Jahra (Kuwait), Olympique Klebia (Tunisia) Al- Zamalek (Egypt), Sejjana (Sudan) and Borj Bouarije (Algeria) took part in the competition. [PANA]

Monday, 23 October, 2000: Aisha al-Qadhafi relayed greetings from her father, the leader of Libya, in a visit Sunday with President Saddam Hussein before she flew back to Libya with a delegation that included government officials opposed to U.N. sanctions against Iraq. "Miss Aisha conveyed best wishes from her father, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, to President Saddam Hussein and the people of Iraq, praising the steadfastness of the Iraqi women and people and their high morale in facing American aggression," the state-run Iraqi News Agency reported. Aisha al-Qadhafi led the delegation of nearly 100 government officials, unions and other organizations that arrived in Iraq on Saturday aboard a Libyan flight that she told reporters in Baghdad was meant as a challenge to the U.S. and British air patrols over northern and southern Iraq. [CNN]
Sunday, 22 October, 2000: Libya walked out of an emergency Arab summit in Cairo on Saturday complaining the forum was too soft on Israel after its bloody crackdown on the Palestinians. The Libyan delegation said it walked out due to "reservations about a draft resolution which carries no clear decision concerning a break in Arab relations with the Zionist entity." Libya was represented at the summit by its permanent delegate to the Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi. Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi already announced on October 10 that he did not intend to take part in the two-day Cairo summit because it would fail to take firm steps against Israel. [AFP]
Sunday, 22 October, 2000: Arab leaders at an emergency summit in Cairo decried Israeli "barbarism" against the Palestinians on Saturday as Israeli troops killed two more Palestinians in fresh violence in the West Bank and Gaza. The Arab leaders proclaimed solidarity with the Palestinians and agreed to demand a U.N. war crimes tribunal to try Israelis responsible for "massacres," according to a draft communique. The latest killings in the Gaza Strip and West Bank brought to 119 the number of deaths since the violence erupted on September 28. All but eight of the dead have been Arabs and the killings have enraged the Arab world. Libya, represented only by its Arab League ambassador, walked out of the meeting in protest at the planned communique, saying the Arabs had failed to cut ties with Israel as a minimal protest against the violence. "The Libyan delegation concluded that the Arab summit being held in Cairo at present will not take any practical measures that will deter the aggressive Israeli practices," said a Libyan statement, clearly prepared well ahead of the walkout. [Reuters]

Saturday, 21 October, 2000: A French court has ruled that Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi can stand trial in France for the shooting down of a French airliner over West Africa in 1989. The court rejected a defence argument that Colonel Qadhafi enjoyed immunity from prosecution because he is a serving head of state. It said that immunity did not apply to terrorism. But BBC correspondents in Paris say the decision is a purely symbolic victory for the victims families as there is no precedent for extraditing foreign leaders. Relatives of the victims launched a legal action against the Libyan leader after a French court sentenced six Libyans, including Qadhafi's brother-in-law, in absentia to life imprisonment in 1999. France has issued international arrest warrants for the six. [BBC]
Saturday, 21 October, 2000: France expressed its willingness on Friday to continue normalizing ties with Libya despite a judicial investigation by a French court against Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi over a 1989 French plane explosion. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau said that his ministry cannot interfere with the justice of the country. He said relations between France and Libya have experienced "a new orientation" since U.N. sanctions against Libya were suspended last year. "From our point of view, the process will continue," he said. The Chamber of Accusation of the Court of Appeal of Paris said on Friday that French judge of investigation Jean-Louis Bruguiere will be in charge of investigating the accusation of "complicity of voluntary manslaughter" against Qadhdafi. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 21 October, 2000: Arab leaders meet in Cairo today after a U.S.-brokered deal to end Israeli-Palestinian violence collapsed and Israel threatened to suspend peace talks. At least 15 heads of state are expected to attend the first summit organised by the 21- member Arab League since 1996. Only Libya, whose unpredictable leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi denounced the summit in advance, has not confirmed it will be represented. Fierce clashes erupted in the West Bank on Friday in which 10 Arabs were killed. A senior Arab League official said a document prepared by Arab foreign ministers on Thursday could be changed in the light of the latest spasm of bloodletting. "Whatever happens the statement is going to give the Palestinians material and moral support," the official said. [Reuters]
Saturday, 21 October, 2000: Bulgaria's Justice Minister Teodossyi Simeonov said on Friday the trial of six Bulgarian medical staff accused of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with the HIV virus, might be delayed for a seventh time. The trial of the five nurses and a doctor, who were detained by Libyan authorities more than 20 months ago and could face the death penalty if convicted, is scheduled to open on November 4. It has been postponed six times so far at the request of the defense. ``It is quite possible that the trial of the six medics could be postponed again as their Bulgarian lawyer has yet to study the indictment,'' Simeonov told the Bulgarian parliament. The six Bulgarian health workers have also a Libyan lawyer, hired by the Bulgarian government, who says he is prepared for the trial. The six medics are charged with intentionally infecting 393 children in a Benghazi hospital where they worked with blood products contaminated with the HIV virus that causes AIDS. The 1,600-page indictment also says this was part of a conspiracy aimed at destabilizing the security of the Libyan state. Eight Libyans and a Palestinian face similar charges. [Reuters]
Saturday, 21 October, 2000: Tunis and Libya agreed on unifying the border passages between them in Ras Egdair area. The Tunisian parliament ratified yesterday an agreement according to which a unified customs center will be established in Ras Egdair point where currently there are nearly 1000 meters that separate between the Libyan and the Tunisian centers. Reda Koreira, the minister of the state properties and the Tunisian real estates affairs, said before the Tunisian parliament that "this new step come to give push to the bilateral relations in all sectors," clarifying that the observation operations in the borders center will take place in the future in a joint building of the Libyan - Tunisian customs departments. [ArabicNews.Com]
Saturday, 21 October, 2000: The Gambian secretary of state for the Interior, Ousman Badjie, has said that "some 100" Gambians are still in Libya waiting to be evacuated. He said the Libyan government is expected to provide an aircraft to fly the Gambian evacuees home. "The Gambian government was informed through its consul general in Tripoli that all efforts have been made by Gambian President Jammeh and his Libyan counterpart, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, to ensure the Gambians safe return," Mr. Badjie said. [Daily Obsever]
Friday, 20 October, 2000: Arab foreign ministers met in Cairo Thursday to prepare the first summit of their leaders in four years, called to forge a strong Arab rank behind the Palestinians. The Palestinians' representative said that Yasser Arafat will call for reviving an Arab League economic boycott of Israel as well as freezing diplomatic ties until peace is concluded. Of the 22 members of the Arab League, the foreign ministers of all countries except Libya were present Thursday and 15 heads of state were expected to attend the summit on Saturday. [AFP]
Friday, 20 October, 2000: Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Wednesday gave hints on the issues to be discussed at the Arab summit scheduled for 21 and 22 October in Cairo, Egypt. The meeting, which comes on the heels of this week's Middle-East peace talks, will focus on the clashes between Israelis and the Palestinians, which led to the death of 124 people and left 3,000 others, mainly Palestinians injured. Qadhafi, who was speaking live on "Al-Jazira" read parts of the final declaration to be adopted at the Cairo summit. These chapters "denounce and condemn" Israel for its aggressions against the Palestinian people. However, the Libyan leader wondered whether the angry Arab man in the street is going "to content himself with these types of empty communiques which limit themselves to denouncing and condemning Israel". [PANA]
Friday, 20 October, 2000: A former German terrorist testified during his murder trial in Germany Thursday that Libya was involved in planning a 1975 attack on an OPEC oil ministers' conference that left three people dead. Hans-Joachim Klein, a former aide to the terrorist Carlos the Jackal, said Libya provided weapons and information on security at the meeting in Vienna, Austria, where a terrorist commando took the ministers hostage. ``The fact that the necessary information about the conference building came from Libya convinced me that the action could be carried out,'' Klein said on the second day of his trial in a Frankfurt state court. On Dec. 17, 1975, four days before the attack, the terrorists led by Carlos the Jackal met with staffers of the Libyan embassy in Vienna who provided the arms and security details, Klein testified. The Libyan government does not usually respond to such allegations. But Klein's testimony is politically sensitive, coming just as Libya is seeking to improve relations with the West. [AP]
Friday, 20 October, 2000: Some 913 Niger nationals have been repatriated from Libya by land following events which took place in the country, the Niger foreign affairs and co-operation ministry announced Thursday. Three weeks ago Sub-Saharan Africans, including those from Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan, were involved in clashes with their Libyan hosts that officially left five people dead, and resulted in the repatriation and deportation of thousands of the immigrants. The Niamey foreign ministry said in a statement that another 757 Niger citizens are waiting to be repatriated from Libya. The ministry said no Niger national died in Libya and that "the government of Niger was in full control of the situation, in liaison with Libyan authorities". Meanwhile, more than 2,000 Niger nationals assembled in various camps in Libya, have appealed to their home government and human rights organisations to facilitate their return. The displaced Niger nationals quoted by local radio in Niamey, said "several Nigeriens are reported to have died in Libya." [PANA]
Friday, 20 October, 2000: While Palestinians had hoped this weekend's Arab summit in Egypt would give a major boost to their struggle with Israel, the fragile truce they reached with Israel may have taken the bite out of the Cairo meeting. "The Arab summit will be nothing but lip service," said Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestine Center for Research and Studies. "I don't think there will be any concrete steps." Many Palestinians were discouraged about the ability of the Arab summit to bring about real change after Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi read out extracts from a draft resolution sent out to participants ahead of the October 21-22 meeting. Qadhafi's interview with Qatari satellite television channel Al-Jazeera reinforced Palestinian impressions that the summit was a foregone conclusion that would not help them much. Egypt has criticized Qadhafi for revealing details of the summit's draft resolution. [AFP]
Thursday, 19 October, 2000: Arab leaders began to regroup following the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in preparation for a meeting in Cairo this weekend. But in a move likely to embarrass most Arab leaders, Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi released what he described as the draft final communique to be announced at the end of this weekend's summit, showing an overwhelming moderate Arab stand. The sharpest pronouncements in the communique, according to Colonel Qadhafi's statement, are calls by Arab leaders for Israel to respect the land-for-peace principle in its negotiations with Arabs and the trial of some unnamed Israeli leaders for "crimes of war". "The Arab leaders expressed their deep dissatisfaction and condemnation of the Israeli escalation ... They blame only Israel for the situation of tension and violence and urge it to end the violence immediately," Colonel Qadhafi said, reading from the draft. [The New York Times]

"Peace of Middle East" ; By Libyan artist Fathi El-Areibi

Wednesday, 18 October, 2000: The trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing has run into another delay. Proceedings at the Scottish court in the Netherlands were due to resume on Tuesday after a week-long adjournment. But the case was halted again to allow the prosecution to make further investigations into information received within the last fortnight. The panel of judges reluctantly granted another adjournment until Monday 23 October and expressed concern about the slow progress of the case. The trial stopped on Tuesday 10 October after the court heard that "sensitive" information had been given to the prosecution by an unnamed government. [BBC]

Tuesday, 17 October, 2000: Kuwaiti sources revealed that Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the son of the Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, intends to make mediation to release the Kuwaiti captives in Iraq. Abdel-Aziz El-Mashari, the head of the association of the Kuwaiti captives families, said in a press conference during stopping over in Cairo yesterday on his way back from the Libyan capital Tripoli to Kuwait that "Qadhafi's son promised to ask the Iraqi leadership to release the Kuwaiti captives and close the detainees' file to restore the Arab solidarity." He added that Soliman El-Shehoumi, the secretary of the foreign affairs committee in the general public conference in Libya, also supports Kuwait in regaining its captives. [ArabicNews.Com]
Tuesday, 17 October, 2000: The Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has warned the Arab world that the only solution out of the impending water shortage crisis was to inter-link with the African Union whose countries have abundant water resources. Addressing a news conference in Riyadh last Friday, Qadhafi pointed at the Arab world's harsh environmental situation, characterised by the vast barren Sahara desert, which would have no future after oil reserves have been exhausted. "The non-renewable water reserves recede on a daily basis as a result of population growth," Qadhafi warned, adding that the Arabs have no future outside the African Union. He particularly singled out countries like Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and even Egypt, saying they were on the threshold of an environmental disaster due to the critical water shortage situation. [PANA]
Monday, 16 October, 2000: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi revealed Friday in Riyadh that Arab leaders have favourably received his call for the boosting of Afro-Arab co-operation between the two peoples. He noted, however, that his Arab brothers were somewhat hesitant to invest in Africa in the face of the conflicts tearing Africa apart. Qadhafi reminded his hosts that two thirds of Arabs are found in Africa, while the rest lived in the Middle East. He told the leaders, intellectuals, writers and other Arab businessmen that it was therefore in their interest to forge closer ties with Africa to guarantee their survival. [PANA]
Sunday, 15 October, 2000: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said he felt that the Arab summit convened next week in Cairo would not be of any great importance and would be meaningless if it was held after the quadripartite summit of Shram al-Sheikh. Answering a question Friday in Riyadh on the conditions he raised to participate in the summit, Qadhafi indicated that he had set no special conditions. "My condolences go to Arab masses. Could the Arab summit respond favourably and positively to the needs of the average Arab?" he wondered. "If so, then I am ready to participate even tomorrow." Qadhafi also affirmed Libya's total support to the "revolt" of Palestinians against Israeli occupation. He recalled that Libya has always put its means and resources, and all its capacities, at the disposal of the Palestinians for the liberation of the occupied territories. "Instead of getting involved in a situation which is not comfortable and taking decisions that they cannot execute, Arab heads of state are expected to let the average citizen express his/her views freely," the Libyan leader said, adding that he hoped angry demonstrations would continue throughout the Arab world. [PANA]
Sunday, 15 October, 2000: The prospect of the Arab summit has drawn a hostile reaction from some parts of the Middle East. Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, said such a meeting was an attempt to kill the Palestinian uprising. The Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, expressed a similar view, as have hardline Palestinian groups based in Damascus. The BBC correspondent in Cairo says this reflects much of the feeling on the street. Our correspondent says Arabs worry that the summit will leave Mr Arafat bound into an agreement that forces him to control his people and offers them nothing in return. [BBC]
Sunday, 15 October, 2000: Ismail Umusor, a 29-year-old cloth trader from Nigeria, was at his home last month in Tripoli when a gang of dozens of Libyan youths burst in. Swearing at him and calling him racist names, they told him they did not like black Africans living in Libya, he told AFP in an interview. The mob then brought in building blocks from outside and used them to beat him, he said, shattering his left leg before throwing him out of his house in Tripoli's Gergaresh district into the street. After a week, Umusor was finally able to get treatment for his leg and had it covered in a plaster-cast. The date of the operation - September 23 - was etched into the plaster. Still hobbling, he was deported at the weekend, one of 6,000 Nigerians flown back to Nigeria in the past ten days. "It was painful leaving Libya but I had no choice," he said. "My life is more important than anything else." [AFP]

Saturday, 14 October, 2000: Despite President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's apology, a Libyan envoy yesterday justified Libya's actions against Nigerian youths resident in the country, saying all the repatriated persons have been living in the country illegally. The justification came barely 48 hours after the Nigerian Odua People's Congress (OPC) vowed to retaliate the killings of over 500 Nigerians. The charge d'Affair of the Libyan Embassy in Abuju who gave his name as "Zakariah" added, that the expulsion was good riddance to bad rubbish. He said more of such persons residing in Libya illegally were being fished out. The envoy who spoke in harsh tone with The Post Express on phone, alleged that these Nigerians have been responsible for the rising crime wave in Libya. The charge d'Affair who expressed no regret in the actions of his home government, pointed out that the Ambassador of Libya to Nigeria, Mohammed Sherif, has been summoned to Tripoli for briefing. [Post Express]
Friday, 13 October, 2000: A new shift of Sudanese workers arrived in al-Khartoum fleeing acts of violence in Libya. The Sudanese independent daily "Akhbar al-Youm" said that some 255 Sudanese have left Libya and expected other 3,000- 8500 in the coming days. The paper explained that the fleeing of these Sudanese came after a decision taken by the highest legislative and executive side in Libya to launch a campaign against foreign labor force in Libya. Meantime, the Sudanese foreign ministry stressed that one Sudanese was killed in Libya while news reports talked about the killing of tens of Sudanese in the past weeks. [ArabicNews.Com]
Thursday, 12 October, 2000: One person was shot dead and several others, including policemen, were wounded in Nigeria Tuesday as a Nigerian Nationalist group protested the recent reported killings and harassment of Nigerians living in Libya. The dead person was identified as a Nigerian security official at the Bulgarian embassy in Nigeria, while the policemen were part of the security detail at the US Consulate in Lagos. The protest by the militant Oodua Peoples' Congress (OPC) came against the backdrop of the ongoing repatriation of Nigerians living in Libya. OPC, based in Nigeria's south-west, had on Monday given the Libyan government a 24-day ultimatum to evacuate its citizens living in Nigeria or face the wrath of the organisation, following harrowing tales of suffering by the more than 4,000 Nigerians evacuated from Libya. [PANA]
Thursday, 12 October, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'mmar al-Qadhafi met King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh Wednesday after arriving in a road convoy from Jordan, on his first official visit to the Gulf kingdom in 20 years, Saudi TV reported. The two leaders examined prospects to boost cooperation and latest developments in the Arab world, notably the violence in the Palestinian territories, it added. The Libyan leader's convoy of several dozen vehicles took 24 hours to make the journey from the Jordanian border. Qadhafi is on a rare Middle East tour trying to strengthen Arab cooperation and "promote the setting up of an Arab-African space for cooperation between the two communities", a Libyan embassy statement in Riyadh said. [AFP]
Wednesday, 11 October, 2000: Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Tuesday he will not take part in the emergency Arab summit called by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss violence in the Middle East. Qadhafi said more preparation was needed for the summit scheduled for Oct. 21 in Cairo, Egypt. In a letter to Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, Qadhafi said he will not attend the two-day meeting. He said the summit necessitates preparations "as we discussed before to know in advance what we are meeting for and on what we will sign." Qadhafi proposed instead to hold only an emergency meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers that would be followed by an Arab summit one or three months later" in order to adopt comprehensive Arab positions after the situation becomes clearer so that the Arab leaders are able to decide on what is needed at an appropriate time." So far, most Arab leaders accepted to attend the summit. [UPI]
Wednesday, 11 October, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Saudi Arabia by road from Jordan Tuesday, and would reach Riyadh Wednesday, witnesses at the al-Hadeetha border post told AFP. A Saudi security official said Qadhafi, travelling in a convoy of several dozen vehicles, had headed for the town of Hafer al-Baten, some 950 kilometres south of al-Hadeetha. From there he will drive to the Saudi capital, a further 550 kilometres, on Wednesday, after spending the night in a tent, according to a Libyan diplomatic source. Qadhafi is on a rare Middle East tour trying to strengthen Arab cooperation and to "promote the setting up of an Arab-African space for cooperation between the two communities," a Libyan embassy statement said. Qadhafi came via Jordan -- which he had already visited after driving from Libya through Egypt -- from Syria, his first trip to Damascus since 1990. [AFP]
Wednesday, 11 October, 2000: The Lockerbie trial has heard that one of the accused Libyans was issued with a false passport after security service chiefs sent an urgent request to the relevant authorities. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, 48, was given a "coded" passport in the name of Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamed, the Scottish Court in the Netherlands was told. Mailoud Mohamed Omar El Gharour, of the general passport and nationality department in Libya, said that in June 1987 his department received a letter from the external security services asking for a new "coded" passport for Al Megrahi. He told the court that the letter requesting the passport asked for the matter to be dealt with "very urgently". It said the name of the holder of the coded passport was Al Megrahi who was described as having the job of "collaborator civil". Carol Butler, of the British Immigration Services, told the court that stamps in the Abdusamad passport showed the user arriving in Malta on 20 December 1988 and flying back to Libya the following day. The passport was not used again after 20 December. The trial is to be delayed again after "sensitive" information was given to the prosecution by a government. [BBC]
Tuesday, 10 October, 2000: Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will pay an official visit to Saudi Arabia Tuesday, the Saudi press agency SPA said. The agency said the visit comes in response to an invitation from King Fahd. Qadhafi will hold talks with Saudi officials on bilateral ties, the recent Israeli crimes against Palestinians and the Arab summit scheduled for later this month in Egypt. Saudi Arabia has played an important role in the agreement between the United States, Britain and Libya over the Lockerbie issue. [ArabicNews.Com]
Tuesday, 10 October, 2000: In a mysterious twist in the Lockerbie trial of two Libyans, prosecutors sought an unexpected adjournment Monday to investigate new evidence of ``considerable sensitivity.'' Scottish judges at the special court in the Netherlands agreed to hear four witnesses Tuesday and then postpone hearings until Oct. 17. Monday's session was then abruptly adjourned for the day. ``On the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 4, the Crown (prosecution) received certain information from a country - not the United States - which is relevant to the evidence in this case,'' prosecutor Colin Boyd told the court. The information was of such a sensitive nature that proceedings could not continue until further inquiries were conducted, Boyd added. ``The matters raised by this information are of some complexity and considerable sensitivity. They relate not to the Crown case but to the defense case,'' he added. [AP]
Tuesday, 10 October, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Monday blamed ``hidden hostile hands'' for causing a wave of violence in Libya against migrant workers from sub-Saharan Africa. In the first official reaction to the attacks on thousands of black migrant workers, Qadhafi said he regretted the violence but did not make clear whether he thought those responsible were domestic dissidents or non-Libyans. ``We regret the skirmishes that have taken place between the brothers because there are hidden hostile hands which took advantage of the circumstances and fomented them,'' Qadhdafi said. The Libyan leader's comments came in a message to the Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 10 October, 2000: The head of Libyan Mission in Nigeria, Ahmed Eudy, has said that the ongoing mass deportation of Nigerians and other black Africans living in Libya is aimed at ensuring compliance with the country's residence laws. Eudy spoke in a media interview in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, at the weekend, against a backdrop of growing discontent among the population about the fate of Nigerians living in Libya. The Nigerian deportees said at least 500 Nigerians were killed during the attacks, reportedly sparked by differences between Nigerian and Libyan drug gangs in the Gergaresh area, which is noted for illicit drug dealing and prostitution. But the Libyan envoy denied any knowledge about any killings, which have even attracted the attention of the sub- regional body, Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). "I do not know anything about death, I have not been briefed by my home government in that regard," Eudy said. [PANA]
Tuesday, 10 October, 2000: Hundreds more black African migrant workers have fled Libya following weeks of violent attacks. The latest exodus of 200 Ghanaians on board a special Ghana Airways flight was accompanied by President Jerry Rawlings. More than 100 black Africans have been killed in the attacks, which were reportedly sparked off by a dispute between Nigerian and Libyan drugs gangs. Those targeted by the violence have included black Africans from Chad, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. State television coverage of the visit by President Rawlings included scenes of him addressing Ghanaians at a makeshift camp in Libya. [BBC]
Tuesday, 10 October, 2000: A light aircraft belonging to a French aviation club crashed into the Mediterranean Sea off Libya on Monday after a mid-air collision during a rally, Libyan television reported. It said the single-propellor, two-seater planes were on their way from Tripoli to Benghazi when they collided over the Gulf of Sirte. One of the aircraft landed safely in Baninah, near Benghazi, but the other crashed into the sea. The fate of the two on board the downed plane was unknown. [AFP]
Monday, 9 October, 2000: Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mussa arrived in Damascus Sunday for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi about Cairo's efforts to host an emergency Arab summit. "I will hand over a message from President Mubarak to Colonel Qadhafi and I will discuss with him all subjects" related to an Arab summit in Cairo on October 21-22, Mussa told reporters before leaving Egypt. The Libyan leader, who was initially opposed to such a summit, withdrew his objections on Saturday but remained lukewarm and did not say whether he would attend. [AFP]
Monday, 9 October, 2000: Ghana's President Jerry Rawlings arrived in Tripoli, Saturday evening on a visit whose length has not been disclosed. He was met at Em'aitiga airport by the Secretary of the Libyan General Popular Committee, Mubarek al-Shamekh. Other Libyan officials and Ghana embassy diplomats were also present at the airport. [PANA]
Sunday, 8 October, 2000: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi blamed Israel for the current "dangerous situation" in the region, a Syrian spokesman said Saturday. The two leaders, meeting in Damascus, discussed "the dangerous situation created by Israel in Palestine and its surroundings," Assad spokesman Gebran Kurieh said in a statement. The statement made no mention of Israel's threat to hold Syria responsible for the latest flare-up of violence on the border with Lebanon. [AFP]

Saturday, 7 October, 2000: President Mubarak of Egypt has gained the agreement of most Arab leaders for a summit on 21 and 22 October to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories. But the summit has received short shrift from Colonel Qadhafi. "What will the summit do besides issue denunciations, present condolences to the families of the victims and provide an occasion for Arab leaders to eat and drink?", the Libyan leader asked on a visit to Jordan. "A summit must declare a war or an economic boycott against the enemy (Israel) but the Arabs are not capable of fighting or boycotting the enemy," Mr Qadhafi told reporters. [BBC]
Saturday, 7 October, 2000: Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has strongly decried constraints and restrictions which Eastern Arab societies impose on women, describing them as a form of "injustice". Qadhafi made the remarks Friday when he received officials of Jordan's feminist associations in Amman. He called for a Cultural Revolution that would advocate the eradication of the mentality which has hitherto prevented the emancipation of Arab women. "Men have shaped society so that their own interests would be preserved, without taking into account those of women, who make up the other half of the population." Qadhafi said. [PANA]
Saturday, 7 October, 2000: African migrant workers are once again visible and have resumed their activities in Tripoli, one week after several sub-Saharans were killed in Zawia, 50 km west of the Libyan capital. Libyan authorities officially said that the skirmishes between young Libyans and the migrants led to the death of five people and several others were wounded. The government sent security forces to calm the situation while two Libyan ministers lost their jobs as a result of the incident. Labourers of various African nationalities had returned to the "Workers Square" at Janzour where they have been working alongside Egyptians, Tunisians and Moroccans. However, less of the migrants can be seen than in the past. [PANA]
Saturday, 7 October, 2000: At least 500 Nigerians have died in Libya following the recent beatings and killings of mostly West African citizens by the Libyans, according to Nigerian media reports. Most newspapers in Nigeria reported the massive killings in their front pages Friday. More than 3,000 Nigerians have been repatriated from Libya since Monday. The newspapers quoted the returnees, mostly young men and women, as saying that the Nigerians lost their lives in the hands of the Libyans "who insisted that all blacks should vacate their country." [PANA]
Saturday, 7 October, 2000: More than 130 black African migrant workers in Libya have been killed in growing racial attacks by Libyan Arabs in recent weeks, Nigerian deportees told AFP Friday. Dozens of individual accounts and eyewitness statements painted a grim picture of attacks around the country by Libyan youths against black Africans from countries including Chad, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. In recent years, Libya's isolated leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has sought to win African support and has eased immigration rules, which has caused the black African migrant worker population to swell to around one million amid a population of six million Libyan Arabs. "From the figures we have, 137 black Africans, mostly Nigerians, have been killed since September," said Emeka Nwankwo, a 26-year-old welder who had lived in Tripoli for two years. They were killed by "youths who do not want black Africans in their country," he said. [AFP]
Saturday, 7 October, 2000: An Iranian Kurd has told the Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands that he had played no part in the bombing 12 years ago. Parviz Taheri made his statement while giving evidence at the trial of the Libyans accused of murdering 270 people. The court heard Mr Taheri admit that he had travelled to London from Frankfurt on the Pan Am feeder service which linked into the doomed Flight 103. He also confessed to owning a notebook which contained the address of a flat where German police found a large quantity of arms and explosives. Mr Taheri is one of 10 people named in a special defence of incrimination. He fled to Germany from Iran in the early 1980s on a forged passport and now lives in Sweden. [BBC]
Friday, 6 October, 2000: One of the two Libyans (photo) accused of the Lockerbie bombing allegedly made a note in his diary shortly before the atrocity to collect airline tags. On the same day, a diary entry said the other accused man would be arriving in Malta from Zurich, the trial at Camp Zeist has heard. Earlier the trial judges ruled that the diary belonging to Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was admissable in evidence. Defence lawyers have been arguing for three days that the diary was improperly obtained by Scottish police. But on Thursday, the presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, rejected the plea and told the special hearing in the Netherlands that it could be used. An Arabic translator questioned about the diary said there were two entries six days before the Lockerbie bombing. The court has already heard Megrahi was in Switzerland, where it is alleged that he obtained detonators. [BBC]
Friday, 6 October, 2000: Thousands of Nigerians deported from Libya arrived Thursday in Lagos and reported that widespread killings of black Africans were taking place. Five planes arrived Thursday from Tripoli, each carrying hundreds of deported Nigerians, a reporter at the scene told AFP. The deportees alleged widespread killings of Nigerians in several towns in Libya at the end of last month, amid a general crackdown by authorities on black Africans living in the country. The Libyan embassy in Nigeria declined to comment on the claims. [AFP]
Thursday, 5 October, 2000: Jordan's King Abdullah and visiting Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Wednesday denounced Israel's weeklong attacks on the Palestinians and reiterated their support for the Palestinian people to reclaim their legitimate rights. The two leaders, who held talks in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba, condemned Israel's unjustified acts of violence, killing and provocative action in the Palestinian territories. They also stressed their support for the Palestinian people in their struggle to recover their legitimate national rights, and the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. [Xinhua]
Thursday, 5 October, 2000: In a sign of improving ties, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Jordan on Wednesday on his first visit to the Arab kingdom in nearly two decades. Qadhafi, on a four-nation tour that will later take him to Syria and Yemen, arrived by ferry from Egypt at Jordan's Red Sea port city of Aqaba. According to Jordanian officials speaking on condition of anonymity, the two leaders met at a palace compound on the shores of Aqaba. Libya has offered Jordan $100 million in grants for water projects, which, according to estimates, will cost $730 million. The rest is expected to be covered by soft loans with Libyan guarantees. [AP]
Thursday, 5 October, 2000: An eight-member team led by Kofi Quakyi, Ghana's minister responsible for National Security, left Accra Wednesday for Tripoli to assess the conditions of Ghanaians who were engulfed in the recent attacks on Black Africans by Libyans. A source close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the mission of the team is to assess the situation with particular attention to the state of the affected Ghanaians. Based on its findings, the team will be informed on whether the victims should be evacuated home or not. The source said the Libyan government has already expressed regrets over the attacks and indicated its willingness to help in the resettlement and where necessary, evacuation. It said the number of Ghanaians affected by the attacks has now increased to about 2,000. [PANA]
Thursday, 5 October, 2000: Repatriation of thousands of Nigerians residing illegally in Libya has begun, in line with their government's decision announced in Abuja at the weekend. Presidential spokesman Doyin Okupe said thousands of Nigerians living in Libya had become a burden on their host country by engaging in various kinds of anti-social activities. Media reports Wednesday said the first batch of 700 Nigerians were airlifted to the Murtala Mohammed airport Monday and Tuesday by a Libyan airliner. The privately owned Concord newspaper reported that most of the deportees looked unkempt on arrival at the airport, where they were attended to by a team of security and immigration officials. The paper quoted some of the returnees as saying that they spent two weeks in various detention centres in Libya before they were flown home. [PANA]
Wednesday, 4 October, 2000: The Lockerbie trial has begun hearing arguments over whether the diary of one of the accused Libyans is admissible in court. The diary of Al-Amin Fhimah was removed by police officers from the office of a travel business he ran in Malta in April 1991. The Scottish Court, sitting at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, heard that Fhimah had set up the travel firm with Maltese businessman Vincent Vassallo. Mr Vassallo told the court that in April 1991 he received several visits from the police at the office. On one occasion they looked in drawers and began picking things up. He said: "They opened drawers, took out Fhimah's audio cassettes to listen to recordings in Arabic. "I sometimes used Fhimah's desk and from his desk they took my diary, Fhimah's diary and business cards. "They told me they were taking the diaries. I could not say either yes or no." He said the police had not asked permission. [BBC]

Tuesday, 3 October, 2000: The Libyan leader, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has had talks in Egypt with President Mubarak. A Libyan official said they discussed efforts to unite Arab and African countries. Other issues expected to be on the agenda were a joint peace initiative for neighbouring Sudan, and ways of lifting the sanctions against Iraq. Although international sanctions against Libya have now been lifted Colonel Qadhafi chose to drive rather than fly to Egypt. It's the Libyan leader's second visit there this year. A BBC Correspondent in Cairo says that as Colonel Qadhafi seeks a greater role in international affairs, he is patching up ties with Arab countries after they angered him for not breaking the air embargo against Libya and he turned his attention to Africa. He goes on to Jordan after his Egyptian visit. [BBC]

Monday, 2 October, 2000: Nigeria says it will repatriate several thousand illegal Nigerian immigrants currently in Libya, following reports of violence there between locals and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. A government statement said illegal Nigerian immigrants were endangering their own lives and those of others in their host countries. In the first official Libyan reference to the clashes, the parliamentary speaker Muhammad al-Zannati declared immigration into Libya must be regulated. "The great principle of our sharing our income and revenues with our Arab and African brothers is being betrayed," he said. The BBC's correspondent in Lagos, Barnaby Phillips, says the violence is a huge embarrassment to the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who is keen to assume the role of a leading statesman on the African continent. [BBC]
Monday, 2 October, 2000: State radio in Niger has quoted the Libyan authorities as saying no Niger nationals were killed in recent clashes involving Libyans and nationals from other African countries. The Prime Minister of Niger, Hama Amadou, who is visiting Libya, was earlier quoted as saying five of his nationals were killed and two hundred others injured in the clashes. A correspondent for the state radio also quotes Libyan sources as saying Niger nationals were not responsible for the clashes. He says they were drawn into the conflict because Libyans could not differentiate the nationalities of black immigrants. The radio says fighting started following the murder of a Libyan doctor and the rape of members of his family. [BBC]

Sunday, 1 October, 2000: Libya's parliament on Saturday disbanded the ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and chose new leaders for the Justice and Public Security ministry and Finance ministry. The Cabinet changes came during a session of the General People's Congress, or parliament, in Sirte. The parliament transferred the work of the disbanded ministry to local authorities. Fawziya Shalabi(photo), who held the information and culture position for five years, was not given any government post. Secretary of Finance Mohamed Bayt al-Mal was replaced by el-Ojeili Breini, who was deputy governor of the central bank. Secretary of Justice and Public Security Mohamed Belgasim al-Zuwiy was replaced by Abdel-Rahman el-Abbar. It was not clear if al-Zuwiy's removal was related to riots earlier this month in the town of Az-Zawiyah involving Libyan citizens and African workers. About 50 people reportedly were killed in the riots. [CNN]
Sunday, 1 October, 2000: Lawers who are defending two Libyans on trial for the Lockerbie bombing will try to force an early halt to the proceedings. They will move that there is no case to answer when the prosecution completes its evidence in a fortnight's time. The prosecution is preparing to revise the original indictment by dropping a number of allegations it now believes it cannot sustain. The crown team dropped two senior CIA witnesses, George Johnson and Leonard Stauton, following last week's testimony of Abdul Majid Giaka, a Libyan defector and double agent who is the only person who can link the two defendants. The court was presented with evidence that the CIA regarded Giaka as unreliable and whose testimony was motivated by money - Giaka is in line to claim the $4m (£2.7m) reward offered by the FBI to anyone securing the conviction of the bombers. [The Sunday Times]
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