News and Views [ November 1999 ]

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Tuesday: 30 November, 1999: Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema embarks on a ground-breaking diplomatic mission to Libya this week, becoming the first Western head of government for 15 years to meet Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. D'Alema's arrival in Tripoli tomorrow marks the first major step by a Western state to bring Libya in from the cold since Qadhafi surrendered two Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of a Pan American airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. D'Alema leaves Libya on Thursday. Rumours are circulating in Rome that Libyan officials have requested that D'Alema should personally invite Qadhafi to make a reciprocal visit to Italy, Libya's colonial ruler between 1911 and 1943. Such a request has not been officially confirmed. A visit to Italy, a European Union and NATO member state, would be a diplomatic coup for Qadhafi, who has gone some way to show he is ready to end Libya's international isolation and open up the country to foreign investment. Amnesty International, however, accuses Libya of continuing human rights violations. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 30 November, 1999: A conference on security and peace in Africa is expected to open Friday in Tripoli to discuss the struggle for power and its effects on security, stability and development, the role of youths in conflicts and armed struggles on the continent. The two-day meeting, organised by the General Union of Libyan Students, the African Students Movement and national youth committees in Africa, is to adopt a "declaration of the African youth" for support to security and peace in Africa. It would also make a fervent appeal for the settlement of armed conflicts tearing the continent apart. Under the aegis of Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the conference is also to propose the setting up of a volunteers' corps and peace caravans that would travel across throughout Africa. [PANA]
Tuesday: 30 November, 1999: Ethiopian rebels from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), who had been operating from bases in southern Somalia, have been disarmed and told to leave the country. The order came from leading Somali warlord and former OLF ally Hussein Aideed, and followed an agreement he signed with the Ethiopian government in Addis Ababa last month, officials from Aideed's faction told a news conference on Sunday. The two sides will also set up a joint committee to demilitarize the border region, and coordinate efforts to fight the Muslim fundamentalist group, Al-Itihad Al-Islami, which had been operating in both countries. The deal between Aideed and Ethiopia was brokered by Libya and Egypt, whose diplomats attended Sunday's news conference and whose officials helped to supervise the disarmament of the OLF, which was completed this weekend. [Reuters]
Sunday: 28 November, 1999: Libya Friday slammed a U.S. decision to maintain 18-year-old restrictions barring U.S. citizens from traveling to Libya, which Washington says is dangerous for Americans. ``Libya is much safer for them (Americans) than most of the American cities,'' said the Libyan Foreign Ministry, quoted by Libyan state-television and monitored in Tunis. The United States Tuesday said it was still too soon to lift sanctions against Libya, saying it had to end its support for what Washington calls terrorism and acknowledge responsibility for the action of Libyan officials. ``We still believe that it is possible to build balanced and good relations between Libya and the United States after we had passed the previous negative period,'' the television quoted a Libyan Foreign Ministry source as saying. [Reuters]
Sunday: 28 November, 1999: Lawyers acting for two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing claim Scotland's High Court has no jurisdiction to hear one of the charges. The bid to dismiss the charge will be heard at a special two-day sitting of the High Court in the Netherlands next month. It will be the first time the pair - who deny bombing the Pan Am jet which exploded over Lockerbie in December 1988 with the loss of 270 lives - have appeared before a Scottish judge. The legal dispute is highly technical and will be heard in what is called a "preliminary diet". The defence claim the alleged conspiracy with which the men - Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah - have been charged took place outside Scotland, so a Scots court cannot try the matter. Lawyers also say that the charges link the alleged conspiracy with the murder is "unfair, oppressive and incompetent". [BBC]
Friday: 26 November, 1999: U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday renewed 18-year-old restrictions barring U.S. citizens from traveling to Libya after concluding Americans still faced imminent danger there. There had been some speculation that Albright could decide to ease the travel restrictions after Britain this week decided to reopen diplomatic relations with Tripoli. But the United States on Tuesday said it was still too soon to lift sanctions against Libya, saying it had to end its support for what Washington calls terrorism and acknowledge responsibility for the action of Libyan officials. Then on Wednesday evening, Albright decided to maintain the so-called passport use restriction. ``Secretary Albright renewed the passport use restriction for the normal period, which is one year, and she has asked the department to keep this issue under close review,'' spokesman Philip Reeker said late on Wednesday. [Reuters]
Friday: 26 November, 1999: Police seized control of Niger's flashpoint university in the capital Niamey on Tuesday on the eve of elections. Riot police moved into the campus in the middle of the night to expel students who staged violent protests last week over grant payments and who had threatened to disrupt polling. Wednesday's runoff was between Tandja Mamadou and former Prime Minister Mahamadou Issoufou. The United States last week warned countries in the region not to meddle in the election, a warning political analysts said was directed at Libya, which has been widely linked to Issoufou's camp. [Reuters]
Friday: 26 November, 1999: Somalia's most prominent warlord Hussein Aideed has been severely weakened by recent fighting and critics say he is now in danger of becoming no more than a bit player in the country's nine-year-old war. Aideed is currently in Kenya after spending weeks visiting his foreign allies in Libya, Egypt and Eritrea but sources say his reception was cool and that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is urging him to make concessions in order to survive. [Reuters]
Friday: 26 November, 1999: The U.S. Clinton administration released draft rules to relax export restrictions on data-scrambling technology, but the proposal was quickly criticized as inadequate by the software industry. The proposed rules lift all current restrictions on "hardest-to-crack" technology except for sales to customers in countries such as Iraq and Libya. The administration now limits U.S. companies from selling encryption products to certain industries. Software companies have until Dec. 6 to submit comments on the rules before the Department of Commerce releases its final regulations by Dec. 15. [CNET]

Thursday: 25 November, 1999: The news of two Saudi graduate students detained at the airport for "suspicious behavior'' didn't surprise the Arab community in central Ohio, whose members have endured similar incidents in the past. The story that appeared in The Dispatch the next day was particularly troubling to Khaled Farag [a Libyan national] of Worthington. He said his humiliation came in December 1996. "When I read it, I started reliving the pain all over again,'' said Farag, originally from Libya. He was in line waiting to get on a flight to Minneapolis when an attendant for America West stopped him at the counter. "She checked our IDs and gave us our boarding passes, then said, 'Now it's time to stand aside for a moment because you meet a profile,' '' Farag said. "I said to her, 'Why do you have to do this?' and she said she was just doing her job, part of airline policy.'' Farag said she escorted him and his friend past a metal detectors and searched their luggage. Nothing was found, and they boarded the plane. In hindsight, Farag said he wished he would have "made a bigger deal of it.'' "I'm very outspoken and usually settle the score on the spot,'' Farag said. "I don't know why I didn't make more noise about it. I might have felt too humiliated. But if you fire back, that confirms their suspicion of you.'' [The Columbus Dispach]
Thursday: 25 November, 1999: The two Libyans accused of blowing up PanAm 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 may shift the blame to a convict in their upcoming trial, the Herald newspaper said on Tuesday. Lawyers for Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima, awaiting trial in the Netherlands, plan to incriminate Mohammed Abu Talb [a Palestinean,] one of the original suspects in the case and currently in jail in Sweden, the Glasgow-based newspaper said. Neither defense lawyers nor officials from the Scottish Crown Office would comment on the report. The two Libyans face three separate charges including murder for allegedly planting a bomb on the airliner that killed 270 people. [Reuters]
Thursday: 25 November, 1999: The United States said it was still too soon to lift sanctions against Libya despite a British decision to reopen diplomatic relations because Tripoli had handed over compensation for the shooting of a policewoman. ``As far as we're concerned, we have made our view clear, that Libya must comply with the remaining requirements of Security Council resolutions before sanctions can be lifted,'' State Department spokesman James Rubin told a news briefing. Rubin said Libya had to take action on its promises to ``end support for terrorism, cooperate with the investigation of the Pan Am 103 disaster and trial, pay compensation and acknowledge responsibility for the actions of Libyan officials.'' [Reuters]
Thursday: 25 November, 1999: Libya was one of apartheid South Africa's closest allies in its quest to develop a biochemical warfare capability, the Pretoria High Court heard Tuesday. Libya was a key supplier of equipment and technology to the South African biochemical warfare programme -- codenamed Project Coast -- which was spearheaded by Dr Wouter Basson, his lawyer Jaap Cilliers told the court. This was confirmed by Niel Knobel, a former defence force colleague of Basson -- a brilliant scientist who was dubbed Dr. Death for his sinister work and is facing 61 charges of murder, fraud and drug-related offences. Knobel told the court Basson travelled extensively to Libya, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Croatia, China, Britain, East Germany, the United States and Iran for the project. "He did not try to hide the fact that he was visiting Libya. It is true that he must have built up very close ties with Libya's security forces in the 12 years of Project Coast," Knobel said. [AFP]
Tuesday: 23 November, 1999: British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said on Monday Libya had handed over compensation for the 1984 killing of a London policewoman, clearing the last hurdle to resuming full diplomatic relations. Cook told parliament he expected a British ambassador to take up his post in Tripoli next month, more than 15 years after ties were broken off. ``The government of Libya has handed over compensation for the killing of WPC Fletcher, so removing the last obstacle to the restoration of full diplomatic relations,'' Cook said. ``I can inform the house that we expect a British ambassador to take up his post in Libya next month.'' A Foreign Office official said the compensation was handed over in recent weeks to the family of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher. He declined to say how much money was involved. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 23 November, 1999: Lockerbie trial prosecutors have handed over to the defence teams vital documents in the case against the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing. At a preliminary hearing in Edinburgh, the Crown said two sets of papers had been sent and others demanded by the defence would be passed on within 10 days. The two men's lawyers were set to argue that had they not received the papers, their clients' human rights would have been breached. There were suggestions that the "competence and relevance" of the charges would be tested by the defence lawyers at another hearing ahead of the trial's scheduled start date next February. Neither of the accused - Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Al Amin Fhimah - was present at the 20-minute hearing. Sitting at the High Court, Lord Sutherland adjourned the case until 1 December. [BBC]
Tuesday: 23 November, 1999: The Libyan animal resources ministry, by completing 23 projects to develop natural grazing fields on 2.5 million hectares of land, has created the largest source of parcelled fodder in Africa. Grazing areas in the country represent 13 million hectares, or 86 percent of Libya's farm land. The projects were implemented by the ministry to allow farmers to benefit from a good environment to fight desertification and to develop water resources to assist in animal breeding. These projects as a whole, in addition to preventing soil erosion, are said to be comparable to that of the Great Artificial River which provides the country's Mediterranean coast cities with fresh water piped from 2,000 km away. [PANA]
Tuesday: 23 November, 1999: Saudi Arabia has held consultations with other Arab countries on a plan to forge closer cooperation in the Arab world, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah said in an interview published on Monday. Prince Abdullah, heir to the throne of the world's largest producer and exporter of oil, also told Lebanon's Ash-Shiraa news weekly that he had sought to convene an Arab economic summit during his recent visits to several Arab countries. Prince Abdullah said Saudi Arabia was holding consultations on the plan with several Arab states, including Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Libya and Morocco. Asked if any Arab country would be excluded from the meeting, he said: ``None...none. We have proposed this idea to these countries and we will cooperate to make it a success. Then we will see about other countries later.'' [Reuters]
The making of state [ 21 November, 1949 - 24 December, 1951 ]

Sunday: 21 November, 1999: Libya's LAFICO investment company has bought a hotel from Gambia's government, pledging to renovate it as a five-star establishment, finance ministry officials said on Saturday. The Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company paid $9 million for the privatised Atlantic Hotel, which currently has four stars. Gambia, with its palm-fringed sandy beaches, is a popular tourist destination in West Africa. [Reuters]

Saturday: 20 November, 1999: Libya will repay its debts to Bulgaria and the two countries have agreed to boost economic cooperation, Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Evgeni Bakardzhiev said on Friday. He told reporters after an intergovernment economic commission session that Libya's debts to Bulgaria totalled $290 million, including state debt of more than $50 million. The rest is owed to Bulgarian firms. ``We agreed that a timetable for payment will be worked out by the end of the first three months of the next year,'' Bakardzhiev said. A working group would agree how to settle the debt, either with crude oil or through direct banking operations, an official from the Bulgarian Finance Ministry said. [Reuters]
Saturday: 20 November, 1999: A Libyan minister said on Friday that six Bulgarian nationals charged with infecting children with the HIV virus would be given a fair trial. In early February, 19 Bulgarian medical workers were detained in connection with an investigation by Libyan authorities into how children in a hospital in Benghazi, where the Bulgarians worked, became infected with the HIV virus. Thirteen of them were later freed but five nurses and a doctor remained in custody. Mohamed al-Higazi, Secretary of Youth and Sports in Libya's General Popular Committee, told reporters after a session of the Bulgarian-Libyan economic commission that children in 350 Libyan families had been infected with the virus. ``Libya's government guarantees a fair trial...and defending lawyers are to be offered to the people in question,'' he said. [Reuters]
Saturday: 20 November, 1999: Libya's National Oil Corp. (NOC) has designated 80 onshore and offshore blocks as open areas for international oil companies under Exploration Production Sharing Agreements, or EPSA-111, the Middle East Economic Survey reported Monday. An additional 15 blocks located primarily in the Sirte and Murzuk Basins are the subject of talks between Libya and international companies. The Libyan NOC's Joint Venture and Operation Department procedure was to send a letter of invitation to the companies, asking them to review the open blocks and indicate areas of interest. Two weeks ago, NOC awarded an addition to the existing EPSA for blocks NC-186 and NC-187 held by a European consortium. The consortium includes Austria's OMV AG (OMV), with 23%; Repsol YPF (REP), with 32%; Total Fina S.A. (TOT), with 24%; and Saga S.A. (F.SGA), with 20%. The new block, called M4, covers an area of 12,300 square kilometers and is located to the north of block NC-186. [North African Journal]

Friday: 19 November, 1999: Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema will visit Libya next month on what his office said would be the first trip there by a Western head of government since 1992. D'Alema's office said he would visit the country on December 1 and 2 at the invitation of the Libyan government. The visit follows this year's gradual thaw with Libya by European countries after Tripoli surrendered two suspects in the 1988 bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. The two men are due to stand trial in the Netherlands next year. The United Nations slapped sanctions on Libya in 1992 when the country refused to hand over the two men. The sanctions were suspended last April. D'Alema's office said the visit would be important both for bilateral ties and regional and international relations. [Reuters]
Friday: 19 November, 1999: ArabSat satellite company is seeking to broaden its shareholder base to upgrade its services and reach more countries. Participants in the ArabSat conference in Beirut on Wednesday considered a report by its director-general which recommended selling part of the company to private investors. ArabSat is valued at $1.2 billion. Television stations from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Libya and the UAE broadcast to all the Middle East countries and part of Europe via ArabSatís three satellites. The company is jointly owned by several Arab countries. Saudi Arabia has the largest share. [Daily Star/ Lebanon]
Thursday: 18 November, 1999: Italian utility giant Enel is in talks with North African countries on power projects, including plants in Libya and Algeria, a senior Enel official said on Tuesday. ``We are in talks with Libya on a project for three thermoelectric or combined gas-oil power generation plants totalling 450 MW,'' ENEL President Chicco Testa told Reuters in an interview. The cost, depending on options, was put at around $400 million, he added. The plants are to be established in western Libya, near the Tunisian-Libyan border. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 17 November, 1999: A Cyprus bank account held by a Libyan businessman linked to the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing saw up to one million Cyprus pounds (1.8 million dollars) pass through it, a police source said Tuesday. "It is true as far as I know and this amount was stated before the Supreme Court," the source said. A justice ministry official said the court had handed over to the ministry Tuesday details of the bank account sought by Scottish detectives who arrived in the island earlier this month. "The evidence will be sent to Scotland within the next couple of days," the official said. The Scottish detectives are trying to discover if a Libyan man who was in Cyprus only two months before the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 funded whoever carried out the attack. [AFP]
Tuesday: 16 November, 1999: Airlines from Iraq, Iran and Libya, all under U.S. or U.N. sanctions, would like to be able to buy U.S. planes to get more competitive prices in renewing their ageing fleets, a Boeing Co official said on Monday. Douglas Groseclose, a Boeing vice-president for international sales, said top airline officials from the three countries visited the company's stand at an international air show in Dubai on Sunday to inquire about products. He said the officials included ``a couple of managing directors.'' ``Their comment to us is: 'We would hope that the sanctions would come down so we can (have competition) between Airbus and Boeing and pick the best product','' he said. Asked if the officials raised the possibility of buying Boeing planes, he said: ``Yes... They would like to have the opportunity.'' [Reuters]
Tuesday: 16 November, 1999: Libya and Morocco signed on Monday an ``accord of understanding'' to resume air links during a landmark visit by the Moroccan Prime Minister Abderrahmane El Youssoufi. ``We signed today a memorandum of understanding to unify the air space between Libya and Morocco ... The memorandum will enable Morocco's Royal Air Maroc airline (RAM) to resume soon its flights to Libya,'' Youssoufi told Reuters in an interview. The agreement was among eight other trade and cooperation accords signed at the end of a three-day visit, Youssoufi said. Tripoli allowed some Western and Arab airlines to resume flights to Libya after the Security Council in April suspended U.N. sanctions imposed after the Lockerbie airline bombing. A transport ministry official, travelling with Youssoufi, said Libya has not authorised RAM airline to resume flights because Morocco respected the sanctions against Libya. [Reuters]
Monday: 15 November, 1999: Moroccan Prime Minister Abderrahmane el Youssoufi on Sunday urged Libya to allow state-owned airline Royal Air Maroc to resume flights between the two countries after the UN suspended sanctions on Libya. ``We can't boost trade and exchanges between the two countries unless we redress the situation and establish air links,'' el Youssoufi told a gathering of government officials from both countries at the coastal town of Benghazi. El Youssoufi was visiting Libya to discuss means of increasing trade and economic cooperation between Morocco and Libya. It was his first official visit to Libya since he became prime minister in early 1998. ``I hope that we will overcome the current misunderstanding and restore air links between Libya and Morocco,'' he said. [Reuters]
Sunday: 14 November, 1999: The Libyan government has expressed interest in investing in the diamond sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Congolese media sources. A five-person delegation from Libya has reportedly been in-country since October 17, exploring either investing in the industry inside Congo, or expanding trade between Libya and DR Congo. The delegation' s visit has been shrouded in secrecy, and the individual identities of the Libyan delegation have not been revelealed. It is known, however, that two Congolese officials met the delegation. [North Africa Journal]
Sunday: 14 November, 1999: Cairo stepped up its criticism of Washington's position on the Sudanese peace process late Thursday, insisting it had just as much right as Khartoum's southern neighbours to be involved in efforts to end the country's 16-year civil war. "Sudan's southern neighbours cannot assume the right to resolve the problem on their own -- all of Sudan's neighbours are involved," Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mussa said after talks with his Libyan counterpart Omar al-Montasser. "The Sudanese problem directly affects Egypt and Libya," whose joint peace initiative for Sudan has been rejected by the United States in favour of a longstanding east African initiative, Mussa said. [AP]
Sunday: 14 November, 1999: Libyan Foreign Minister Omar Mustafa al-Montasser arrived in Cairo late on Thursday on a special flight from Tripoli for a private visit due to last several days, airport sources said. Montasser was met by his Egyptian counterpart Amr Moussa, with whom he was scheduled to hold talks on the latest developments in the region. Egypt and Libya jointly sponsored a peace initiative for war-torn Sudan last May, aimed at reconciling the Islamist-led government with its opponents. [Reuters]
Sunday: 14 November, 1999: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi discussed issues in the Great Lakes region with Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Libyan state television reported on Thursday. The television, monitored in Tunis, quoted Museveni as saying after the meeting on Wednesday that Uganda supported Gaddafi's efforts to facilitate implementation of a peace deal signed to end a 15-month-old war between the government and rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [Reuters]
Thursday: 11 November, 1999: The Philippine government will try to recover the wealth accumulated by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos from more countries where it may be hidden, the panel in charge of recovering the assets said Wednesday. The Presidential Commission on Good Government previously focused on locating Marcos wealth in Switzerland and the United States, but commission members have said they believe the wealth was stashed in 12 other countries as well. A report prepared by former commission chairman David Castro said Marcos is believed to have kept billions of dollars in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Germany, Britain, the Cayman Islands, Morocco and Libya. [AFP]
Tuesday: 9 November, 1999: A Libyan aircraft last week defied air control instructions and made a surprise landing at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa-Kenya, saying it had run out of fuel. The emergency landing caused a security scare which led to its detention for almost three hours. According to the acting Airport OCPD, Mr. Jackson Gichuhi, the white plane made an emergency landing at the Airport at 2.15 p.m., defying air traffic control instructions. They said they had run out of fuel. The plane was allowed to land after radioing emergency, fearing it would crash-land. Airport security and the nearby Kenya Airforce base were put on alert as Kenyan officials boarded the white Fokker 28 Jet and embarked on a search which, however, yielded nothing. Coast Police Boss Ezekiel Weitage told the Nation that only personal belongings to the two captains and an all male crew of 9 who were enroute to Addis Ababa from the Seychelles, were found.
[The Nation - Nairobi]
Tuesday: 9 November, 1999: Libyan external trade minister Abdoul Hafidh al-Zlitini is in Bamako, Mali, where he arrived Sunday on a mission to promote closer co-operatin between the two countries. Al-Zlitni, who is leading a delegation of senior officials from the economy, finance and energy sectors, was received the same day by Malian President Alpha Oumar Konare. [PANA]

Saturday: 6 November, 1999: Libya has made its first purchase of U.S. wheat in at least 15 years, the North Dakota Wheat Commission said on Friday. The purchase of nearly 600,000 bushels of durum also is Libya's first since President Bill Clinton eased sanctions on the country earlier this year. According to U.S. Agriculture Department, Libya last bought U.S. wheat in 1984/85, when it purchased 35,000 tonnes. The new purchase is roughly half that amount. The U.S. has had sanctions on Libya since the 1980s. Much of those remain in place, but Clinton announced a policy change in April to allow the sale of food and medicine to Libya and two other sanctioned countries -- Iran and Sudan. In the months since the April announcement, the U.S. wheat industry has been busy courting Libyan buyers. Last month, representatives of the U.S. Wheat Associates visited Tripoli to meet with Libya's public sector buyer, NASCO. During that visit, the U.S. industry officials were told that U.S. wheat would be an eligible origin on Libya's next tender scheduled for January 2000, said Paul Dickerson, U.S. Wheat Associates vice president. They also said Libya would consider U.S. wheat offers in an existing optional origin contract, he said. [Reuters]
Saturday: 6 November, 1999: Rehabilitation work at the Libyan Embassy, Nairobi, is nearing completion, and the mission "should be fully operational by early next year". The building, on Loita Street, which has been under construction in the last few months, "will be ready within two weeks," said Mr. Abdalla Elgaidi, who has been supervising construction work. He said the Libyan Government had tentatively identified a mission chief. "Mr. Elhirk is already in Tripoli, having been recalled from Copenhagen, Denmark, where he was the ambassador," Before that he was in Afghanistan," Mr. Elgaidi said. Mr. Elgaidi - who is being moved to Europe as a Charge d'Affaires after he is through with the Nairobi works - said when the embassy re-opens "it will be a fully-fledged mission, with strong consular, commercial and cultural sections." [The Nation - Nairobi]
Saturday: 6 November, 1999: The Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, lauded African states by reaffirming that the continent "has never been a land of laziness and apathy." "On the contrary, Africa and its children have the energy to unleash development in all the fields because they know how, when and where to act," he told the 9th ordinary session of the conference of African information ministers. Qadhafi underscored that Africa was the first continent to take an interest in the affairs of its member states. This was in contrast to Asian countries which remained "silent" during the "destruction" of Iraq in the 1991 Gulf war, and the war between Iraq and Iran, he said. He also recalled the behaviour of Latin American states which did not react at the invasion of Panama, Granada and Haiti by the US and the hardship Cuba is facing as a result of a US embargo. But not Africa which has always shown interest in anything that concerned its member countries individually and the continent as a whole, he said. [PANA]
Saturday: 6 November, 1999: The Intergovernmental Council for Communication in Africa concluded its 8th session Wednesday in Tripoli after adopting of a nine-point report which welcomed the current progress in communication and information technologies. The meeting urged African states to create units within their information ministries to liase with the information section at the Organisation of African Unity secretariat. It unanimously adopted a report by the acting director general of the Dakar-based Pan-African News Agency, which is undergoing privatisation. Delegates also examined a proposal by the OAU to transform the Intergovernmental Council for Communication into a committee of experts. The council which, created in the 80's, is composed of 15 African countries represented by their information ministers, OAU, PANA and the Pan-African Telecommunications Union. [PANA]

Thursday: 4 November, 1999: Scottish police are in Cyprus investigating the activities of a Libyan businessman as part of inquiries into the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing, security sources said on Wednesday. The Scots, who are being helped by Cyprus police, are trying to uncover the relationship the unnamed man had with two Libyans due to stand trial next year for the downing of the airliner. The two suspects are accused of blowing up PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland in December 1988, killing 259 people on board and another 11 on the ground. Cyprus police have already secured a court injunction lifting secrecy laws on an account the Libyan businessman held at a branch of a foreign bank in Nicosia, the sources told Reuters. British diplomats confirmed there were police from Scotland in the Cypriot capital following up Lockerbie inquiries, but gave no further details. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 3 November, 1999: The Egyptian government has sued two Egyptian journalists for allegedly libeling Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in three signed editorials in a weekly tabloid, officials in the prosecutor's office said Monday. Prosecutor General Maher Abdel-Wahed charged the two with libel for describing Qadhafi as a "liar" and "fibber" in editorials published in September, said the officials who spoke on customary condition ofanonymity. The journalists were identified as Mohammed Hassan el-Banna, chief editor of the private el-Khamis newspaper, and columnist Fouad Fawwaz who wrote the editorials. The paper has a small circulation. If found guilty, the two face up to two years in prison. No date for the trial was set. The officials said Libyan authorities complained to Egypt about the editorials. Abdel-Wahed's office investigated the complaint and decided to take the journalists to court, the officials said. [AP]
Wednesday: 3 November, 1999: Senior military officers and politicians from across Africa went back to the classroom on Tuesday for a special U.S.-sponsored course on democracy. The two-week course at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies is largely financed by the U.S. Defence Department. Britain and France have contributed staff to the seminar and are also paying some of the costs, organisers said. Two participants -- one military and one civilian -- have been nominated by each African state, with the exception of Libya, Sudan and Somalia, which have no ties with the United States. [Reuters]

Tuesday: 2 November, 1999: The U.S. Treasury Department issued revised rules on Monday for sales of U.S. food and medicine to Iran, Libya and Sudan, which remain under general economic sanctions. A grain industry official, who asked not to be identified, said the changes would take some of the hassle out of making sales to the three countries. However, it may not be enough to increase actual purchases, the aide said. ``This is a plus. But I don't think it's enough for them to do something they weren't going to do otherwise,'' the industry official said, referring in particular to Iran. The original rules, issued on August 2, prohibited buyers in Iran, Libya and Sudan from using banks in those countries to open a letter of credit to buy U.S. farm goods. That, in effect, required buyers in the three countries to deposit funds in a foreign bank to open a letter of credit, the industry aide said. The revised rules allow banks in Iran, Sudan and Libya to open letters of credit, but still prohibit U.S. banks from participating in the transaction, the aide said. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 2 November, 1999: Libya said on Monday Arab and north African countries should take urgent action to fight Mauritania's decision to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Mauritania simultaneously sent Prime Minister Cheikh El Avia Ould Mohamed Khouna to Morocco to explain the initiative it took in Washington on Thursday, diplomats in Rabat said. Libya's state television issued the call to action as foreign ministers from five Arab countries who had gathered urgently in Libya at the weekend sought to work out a common stand with their host towards the Mauritanian decision. The ministers from Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Sudan were discussing with Libya a ``common stand towards Mauritania's move taken without consulting the Mauritanian people and without any consideration to the interests that will suffer from it,'' the television, monitored in Tunis, said. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 2 November, 1999: South Africa's Apartheid government involvement in obtaining funds from Libya to pay for African National Congress Women's League's president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's 1991 defence on murder and abduction charges was hinted at yesterday [28 Oct.] in the trial of Wouter Basson. Basson, still a brigadier in the SA Defence Force at the time Mandela went on trial for murdering teenage activist Stompie Seipei, went to Libya to collect funds for the defence of the wife of former president Nelson Mandela, his advocate, Jaap Cilliers, told the high court. "The money was delivered by Basson to the Houghton home of Nelson Mandela," he said, but gave no further details except that his client had travelled to Libya with a business associate, Solly Pienaar. [Business Day - South Africa]
Tuesday: 2 November, 1999: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi hosted a dinner Sunday evening in the honour of Gabonese President Omar Bongo who arrived in Tripoli on the same day for a visit whose duration was not specified. The Gabonese leader said his visit was a mere follow-up to the results of the OAU's extra-ordinary summit in Sirte in September. He added that the visit would also give him a chance to strengthen co- operation between Gabon and Libya. [PANA]
Monday: 1 November, 1999: The foreign ministers of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia travelled to Libya to discuss Mauritania's decision to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, local news agencies reported on Sunday. Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf arrived on Sunday in Tripoli to review with Libyan officials ``several issues in particular bilateral relations and latest developments in the Maghreb and Africa,'' the official Algerian news agency APS said. Tunisian Foreign Minister Said Ben Mustapha also arrived in Tripoli on Sunday, the Libyan news agency JANA, monitored by the BBC, said. The visit was part of ``the ongoing coordination and consultations to confront the serious breach by the Nouakchott government in upgrading its diplomatic representation with the Zionists to ambassadors' level without consulting the Mauritanian people,'' JANA added. [Reuters]
Monday: 1 November, 1999: Former South African president Nelson Mandela has uncovered an international campaign to discredit him as he prepares to launch a comprehensive peace plan for the Middle East, a South African newspaper said. Mandela, who retired in June, told the Sunday Independent newspaper in an interview that certain groups he did not name were behind reports that he had bought a home in Cape Town for Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Other media reports say the 81-year-old Mandela has received a large amount of money from Libya to pay for the trial of his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. ``We know who they are but we don't want to mention them,'' Mandela said. ``These stories are totally without foundation and false and appear to have a single-minded objective, and that is to derail the peace process in the Middle East,'' he said. [Reuters]
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