News and Views

November 1997

30 November 1997: Al-Hayat newspaper reports that Egyptian immigration authorities told an Egyptian court that a Libyan national named Yousif Najm [pictured, right] was indeed in Cairo during the disappearance of Libyan activist Mansour al-Kukhia. Egypt denied previously that Najm was the last person seen with al-Kikhia. There are reports from Libya saying that Libya is now accusing Yousif Najm of being an agent for the American CIA. For more details [in Arabic - al-Hayat] please click here
New Libyan home page: Saad A. Elfadhil-Elshelmani's Page

28 November 1997: Libya is to give neighboring Niger a loan of $16 million, which will be repayable in part by the delivery of camels, Niger's government daily Le Sahel reported. The loan will be made at the start of the year by the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank, according to the newspaper's Wednesday edition. It will be repayable over 10 years, with 2-1/2 years grace, and the 3 percent interest will be payable part in cash and part through the export of 1,500 camels a year. [Reuter]
26 November 1997: Libyan Oil Minister Abdullah al-Badri said on Tuesday he was not in favour of an increase in OPEC's official production ceiling. When asked whether he was in favour of a rise in the limit, al-Badri replied: "I am not in favour of an increase.'' Asked whether he wanted a rollover in the ceiling he replied: "At least for the six months because we don't know what's going to happen in the market.'' He was speaking on arrival at a hotel in Jakarta that will host OPEC's ministerial conference starting today. [Reuter]
26 November 1997: A group of British World War Two veterans arrived in Libya at the weekend to visit graves of their "Desert Rat'' comrades in Tobruk, diplomats based in Tripoli said on Monday. A European diplomat contacted by telephone told Reuters the veterans arrived on Saturday and were expected to stay in Libya until Thursday. It was the first such visit since Libya in 1995 blocked a similar trip at the last minute. [Reuter]
23 November 1997: The official Libyan News Agency JANA said on Saturday that British Queen Elizabeth should have been stoned to death for having had her daughter-in-law Princess Diana murdered. A commentary by JANA's foreign editor on the British monarch's 50th wedding anniversary was broadcast on Libyan television and monitored by the BBC in London. He expressed surprise the anniversary should be celebrated at all so soon after Diana's death in a car crash on August 31 and reiterated Libyan allegations that the British royal family had had her killed. [Reuter]
23 November 1997: Dr. Esmat Abdel Meguid, the secretary-general of the Arab League, has received Saad Magber, assistant secretary-general of Libyan public conference, and they discussed the recent developments regarding the Libyan Lockerbie crisis. After the meeting, Magber praised Meguid's role in the current crisis. He said that he presented the invitation to the secretary-general for attending the urgent meeting of the Arab parliament union council which will begin on 14 December and will last for 3 days and discuss the solidarity of the Arab states with Libya in light of the Lockerbie crisis and the resulting UN blockade. [Arabic News]
23 November 1997: Egyptian minister of petroleum left Cairo on his way to Libya where he will head a delegation to resume talks with his counterpart Abdalah Salem El-Badry the Libyan minister of oil. The talks are to deal with supporting petroleum cooperation between the two countries and the best means of implementing the common projects which were agreed upon by the supreme committee headed by both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [Arabic News]
22 November 1997: Austria said on Friday it was pressing Tripoli to lift a ban on its citizens entering Libya imposed over a week ago following a dispute involving Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son. The travel restrictions were imposed amid confusion over whether the Austrian authorities would give a residence permit to al-Qadhafi's son who was planning to begin a course at an international business school in Vienna. "The Foreign Ministry has been trying for more than a week through the Libyan embassy in Vienna and the Austrian representative in Tripoli to have the entry ban lifted,'' a ministry official told Reuters. Vienna city authorities said there was no question of al-Qadhafi's son being refused a permit on security grounds, as reported earlier by the daily Die Presse. Die Presse said the permit was finally renewed after intense lobbying by the Foreign Ministry. Some Austrians have already been asked to leave Libya and others, including members of some of the country's biggest companies, have been turned back at the border despite possessing valid visas, Die Presse said. [Reuter]
21 November 1997: Libya said it found "strange'' a trial in Germany linking Libya to the 1986 bombing of a West Berlin night club as it thought the case was closed. "The political commentator of JANA (Libya's official news agency) found it strange linking again the name of the Libya and that of Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to this affair,'' Libyan state-run television said on Wednesday night. JANA's political comment is generally written by a senior cabinet member or al-Qadhafi himself. "The German judiciary had already delivered its word on this affair and the German prosecutor has ruled definitely and its file was definitely closed ... What is going on now in Germany enters within the framework of false accusations and allegations by the government of the United States and its European allies against Libya,'' it said. [Reuter]
21 November 1997: State oil company Petronas and other Malaysian firms will continue to invest in Iran and Libya despite a U.S. law that threatens sanctions against firms doing business in those countries, a senior official said on Thursday. "Petronas and other Malaysian companies would continue to invest abroad wherever economic opportunities exist, including in Iran and Libya,'' Mohamed Arshad Manzoor Hussain, undersecretary of the Americas Division of the Foreign Ministry, told reporters in the capital. [Reuter]
19 November 1997: Reports from Algeria say Libya has expelled about 130 Algerian nationals. Newspaper reports said the Algerians were arrested in their homes and taken directly to the Libyan-Algerian border. The issue had been discussed through diplomatic channels, but there has been no official comment from the government in Algiers. Correspondents say the deportees are believed to be Islamist activists. [BBC]
19 November 1997: Two Palestinians, a Libyan and two Germans went on trial in Germany behind bullet-proof glass Tuesday charged with the 1986 bombing on Libyan orders of a Berlin night club in which two U.S. soldiers and a Turk were killed. German prosecutors said the five acted on orders from Libyan intelligence during a period of tension between Libya and the United States. Then American president Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi, hitting a residence of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, in retaliation for the attack on La Belle discotheque, which was at the time a haunt of U.S. servicemen stationed in West Berlin. [Reuter]
17 November 1997: A group of victims of a 1986 bomb attack on a West Berlin night club are planning a civil suit in U.S. courts against Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, their lawyer said on Sunday. The blast at the La Belle club once frequented by U.S. military personnel killed two American servicemen and a Turkish woman and injured many of the 230 people there. Some lost limbs and were permanently disabled. Fourteen of them will appear in court on Tuesday when two Palestinians, a Libyan and two Germans go on trial for carrying out the attack, which prosecutors say was ordered by Tripoli. [Reuter]
New item added to "Libya: Our Home": A Poem by: Ahmed Fouad Shennib

14 November 1997: A Libyan, Two Palestinians and two German women go on trial next Tuesday accused of involvement in a 1985 bomb attack in a West Berlin night club, La Belle, once frequented by off-duty American servicemen. The blast killed two American soldiers and a Turkish woman. United States President Ronald Reagan ordered reprisal bombings of the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, claiming many lives including that of Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's adopted baby daughter. [Reuter]
12 November 1997: South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday defended his recent visits to Libya and lashed out at whites who criticise his foreign policy because he is black. "This contempt for black leaders is something I resent from the bottom of my heart,'' Mandela said in a question and answer session broadcast by the CNN television network on Tuesday. Mandela was criticised mainly by the United States for visiting Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in the face of sanctions intended to force Libya to give up two suspects in the 1988 bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie in Scotland. [Reuter]
New item in "Libya: Our Home": Libyan Banknotes: issued 1952, 1981 and 1988

9 November 1997: Libya said on Saturday the United States was behind "unjust'' U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on Tripoli over the Lockerbie affair and vowed not to succumb to pressure. The Security Council on Friday retained sanctions imposed on Libya since 1992 for failing to hand over for trial two suspects in the 1988 mid-air bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. "Within the framework of its total domination over the so-called Security Council to transform it into an American security council, America has renewed, through this council, the unjust measures imposed on the Great Jamahiriyah,'' Libya's news agency JANA said in a commentary. [Reuter]
9 November 1997: The Security Council on Friday retained sanctions imposed on Libya since 1992 for failing to hand over for trial two suspects in the 1988 mid-air bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. After its 17th review of sanctions, conducted every 120 days, council President Qin Huasun of China said "different opinions were expressed and no consensus was reached on a modification of the sanctions measures.'' But speaking in his capacity as the Chinese representative, he said his country condemned all forms of terrorism, was "not in favor of sanctions against Libya'' since they caused suffering to the Libyan people, and hoped they would be lifted soon. Libyan U.N. envoy Abuzaid Dorda, who was not at the council review, told reporters a majority of council members supported Libya's proposal. He said the problem was not between Libya and the Security Council but between Libya and the United States and Britain. [Reuter]
9 November 1997: Libya asked the Security Council on Thursday to send a United Nations envoy to Libya to assess the humanitarian impact of sanctions and certify that the Libyan government “has nothing to do with terrorism.” Libyan Ambassador to the U.N. Abuzaid Dorda [pictured] made the request one day before the council holds its periodic review of aviation sanctions imposed on Libya in 1992. [MSNBC]
7 November 1997: Dr. Ibrahim al-Ghwail, the lawer of the two Libyans accused of masterminding the 1988 Pan Am explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland, told France Press that his clients [Abdulbasit al-Megherhi and Lameen Fhaima] are afraid that the United States spies might kidnap them. The two Libyans said they had a serious car accident last week where they almost got killed.
For more details [in Arabic - al-Hayat] please click here
7 November 1997: Libya asked the United Nations for a public meeting of its members to discuss the Lockerbie affair. The Arab group in the U.N. and the African group are supporting Libya's request. It is expected that Libya's representative in the U.N. will address the meeting. For more details [in Arabic - al-Hayat] please click here
7 November 1997: Business leaders and top officials from the United States and the European Union are attending a conference this week in Rome, Italy. The EU is expected to use the conference to voice its strong concern over the Helms-Burton and D’Amato acts trying to curb investment by non-U.S. firms in Libya, Cuba and Iran. The two sides failed to bridge fundamental differences over the U.S. laws by an 15 October deadline and had to continue talks. [ABC]
4 November 1997: According to France Press Agency, Libyan authorities arrested 1,200 persons accused of drug trafficking. Libyan sources abroad said some of those arrested might have been arrested for their political activities against the government.
4 November 1997: Libya has said it is impossible for two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing to get a fair trial in Scotland although the Scottish justice system is fair. The Libyan Foreign Ministry said British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's invitation to the United Nations to send observers to Scotland to evaluate the Scottish legal system in action was a ploy to undermine other initiatives to solve the problem. "Libya does not doubt the fairness of the Scottish judiciary or its equity,'' the Libyan Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued at the weekend and obtained from the official Libyan news agency JANA on Monday. "But...the campaign through the press and statements by officials in Britain and the United States has led to a prior condemnation of the two suspects, ruling out any possibility of a fair and just trial for them in Scotland,'' it added. [Reuter]
4 November 1997: Italy is ready to become the first Western power to re-establish full diplomatic relations with Libya, according to Government sources in Rome. The news will anger Britain and the United States, both already frustrated by Mr Nelson Mandela's high-profile visit to Tripoli and his open support for Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The US suffered another setback in its Libya policy last week when the Pope called for an end to sanctions. [The Sunday Telegraph, London]
4 November 1997: The head of the Arab League said on Sunday that Libya would never extradite two of its citizens to Britain or the United States for trial on charges of bombing a U.S. airliner in 1988. Esmat Abdel-Meguid told a news conference on the sidelines of a symposium on the future of the Arab world [in Abou Dabi] that Libya maintained its offer to let the two men stand trial in a neutral country but with Scottish judges. "Libya would not turn over its citizens because under international law, it is not possible for one country to surrender its citizens to another country unless the two are bound by a mutual extradition agreement,'' Abdel-Meguid said. [Reuter]
2 November 1997: Qatar's immigration authorities have issued new instructions barring any nationals from ten countries [Libya is one of them] from entering the country whether on a visit, employment or business-basis. Even stopovers during air-flights are banned for those nationals. [Arabic News]
2 November 1997: The pretender to Libya's throne said on Saturday South African President Nelson Mandela had sullied his political reputation by defending Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Prince Mohammed al-Hassan al-Sannousi, the exiled nephew of the last king of Libya [Idris al-Sanousi,] said in a statement from his home in London that Mandela would do better to defend Libyans from al-Qadhafi's tyranny. [Reuter]
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