News and Views [ December 2000 ]

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Sunday, 31 December, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said in an interview published on Saturday that Libya would embrace globalization. "Experience has taught us the lesson that globalization forces us to open up," Qadhafi told the Berlin-based Der Tagesspiegel daily. "Those who do not accept this change will be considered reactionary," he said. Libya has recently stepped up efforts to open up its economy to the free market and has encouraged foreign investors to play a larger role in a five-year, $35 billion development plan. [Reuters]
Sunday, 31 December, 2000: The Libyan leader, Colonel Qadhafi, is reported to have made a statement categorically denouncing terrorism. His statement was reported by a Berlin daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel which quoted him as saying that the era of terrorism had ended. Colonel Qadhafi said the examples of Nicaragua and Northern Ireland had shown that conflicts could be resolved by democratic means. He warned that some groups -- notably in Algeria and Egypt -- continued to use armed struggle to achieve their aims, but he said their reasons had nothing to do with a revolutionary cause. [BBC]
Saturday, 30 December, 2000: Developing nations on the United Nations Security Council want to end, not just suspend, sanctions against Libya, saying Tripoli cooperated fully with the trial of two men accused of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. But Namibian ambassador Martin Andjaba, who introduced a resolution on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement members on the council, did not put the measure to a vote Friday as originally intended. Namibia leaves the 15-nation council, which rotates five members each year, next week. Council President Sergei Lavrov, Russia's ambassador said that "following additional informal contacts with interested members of the council, the president announces that the draft resolution on Libya will be discussed at a later stage." Both Britain and the United States made clear they would oppose the resolution until the trial of Libyan suspects had ended. [Reuters]

Friday, 29 December, 2000: Developing countries on the U.N. Security Council proposed lifting sanctions against Libya on Thursday on the grounds that the Tripoli government had fully cooperated with the trial of two Libyan suspects in the 1988 Pan Am bombing. The United States and Britain opposed the proposal, saying the trial at a special Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands wasn't over yet. It wasn't immediately clear if the Non-Aligned Movement of mostly developing countries would push for a vote on a resolution Friday. The council president, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov, said he would schedule more consultations for Friday morning. "We have made it very clear that we would not be able to support such a resolution," said British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, issuing a veiled threat to veto the resolution. The United States has said it won't allow the measures to be fully lifted until Tripoli complies with other outstanding U.N. demands, including compensating the families of the victims if the two defendants are convicted and renouncing terrorism. [AP]

Thursday, 28 December, 2000: Pressure from Western countries on the South to coerce the latter to saturate the international market with oil as means to force prices to drop could cause a worldwide confrontation, the Libyan daily "Al Zahf" predicted Tuesday in Tripoli. "The oil conflict tends to degenerate into confrontation after taking proportions that expose the security and stability of the world to serious dangers", it suggests, accusing industrialised nations of leading the world to disaster. The Libyan daily warns OPEC member countries against the oil policies of the new Republican Administration in power in the US. "There are negative indicators expressed by the new White House boss who declared that Washington and its allies will deal with the issue of crude oil in the Middle-East region on the basis of acceptable prices," it further warns. It explains that "acceptable prices" in the American logic are those that serve the interests of Washington to the detriment of the rest of the world. [PANA]
Wednesday, 27 December, 2000: Libya has extended until mid-January a bids deadline for three oil exploration packages. Libya's state National Oil Company (NOC) has pushed back the December 31 deadline apparently to avoid a clash with Moslem festivities marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan as well as the holiday season in most parts of the world to celebrate Christmas and New Year, sources said. Beyond January 15, foreign companies taking part in the licensing round for the three oil packages remain in the dark over what the next step might be relating to negotiations and awards. Libya, which has seen U.N. sanctions suspended for over a year now, has been pushing for a more international presence and foreign investment. [Reuters]

Tuesday, 26 December, 2000: Almost all of the Middle East's Muslims will celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday. Religious authorities in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the UAE announced that Eid al-Fitr will be Wednesday, with only Libya deciding to mark the feast on Tuesday. Most Muslim authorities issued proclamations after observing the moon on Monday night, while Libya made its announcement Sunday based on astronomical calculations. Ramadan was marked around the region this year by passionate demonstrations of solidarity with the Palestinians in their clashes with Israel. [AFP]
Tuesday, 26 December, 2000: Oil-producing nations should consider stopping all pumping for one or two years to fend off any attempts to lower world oil prices, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said in a letter to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that was made public Monday. The letter, published in state-run Libyan newspapers, appeared to be Qadhafi's response to Chavez's call Sunday on members of OPEC to fight efforts to reduce the price of oil. "Since the issue is one of aggression on the resources of the people of OPEC, then our last resort might be halting oil pumping completely for a year or two," Qadhafi said in his letter. Halting production, Qadhafi wrote, is "a means of defending ourselves and our interests." [AP]
Monday, 25 December, 2000: The island State of Comoro Saturday received humanitarian supplies including clothes and medicine worth 100 million Comoro francs from Libya (540 francs = 1USD). Health Minister, Attoumane Abbas received the donation from a Libyan delegation at Tripoli's embassy in Moroni. The Libyan humanitarian mission includes specialist doctors who will provide free consultations in Moroni hospitals. [PANA]
Monday, 25 December, 2000: Venezuela's President Chavez urged OPEC Countries to fight efforts to reduce the price of oil. Chavez accused some oil-consuming countries Sunday of playing "a dirty game" by trying to push prices below $10 a barrel. "I must warn that there are countries that want us to give oil away at 8 to 10 dollars a barrel," he said. Chavez concluded saying that he would talk to Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, and Algerian President Bouteflika about the possibility of cutting production. [AP]
Otman Barrani's Moon Sighting Site

Sunday, 24 December, 2000: With UN report calling for tough sanctions against Liberia, British Foreign Office Minister for Africa, Peter Hain, has urged that the current arms embargo on Liberia to be "maintained and tightened and strengthened". The UN report said Mr. Taylor's links to diamonds for gun regime in Sierra Leone was "overwhelming." Mr. Taylor has however denounced the UN report. He denied having foreign bank accounts. But The Financial Times, in a story this year, said Western intelligence sources were monitoring a foreign bank account through which Taylor was paying his war debts to Libya's Col. Qadhafi. [The Perspective]

Saturday, 23 December, 2000: The suspension of international sanctions against Libya has given Russia more possibilities for expanding mutually beneficial cooperation with Libya, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Vasily Sredin told journalists on Friday. Sredin, who was commenting in response to questions from the journalists on prospects for the resumption of relations between Russia and the countries-allies of the former Soviet Union said that relations between Russia and Libya had never been interrupted. He went on to say that interaction with Libya "naturally envisages also contacts at the top level." [Itar-Tass]
Saturday, 23 December, 2000: - The UK Foreign Office marked the 12th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December. Minister of State Peter Hain paid tribute to the families of the 270 people killed and urged Libya to continue its cooperation with the United Nations, which led to two Libyan suspects being handed over for trial, PA News reported. A trial of two Libyan men handed over in April 1999 is being conducted in a special Scottish court that has been convened in the Netherlands. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Fhimah, 44 have denied the charges and claim that Palestinian terrorist groups were responsible. The trial is currently suspended and will recommence on 8 January 2001. [M2]
Saturday, 23 December, 2000: Latest monthly African rankings of world soccer (from FIFA):
1. South Africa 2. Tunisia 3. Morocco 4. Egypt 5. Cameroon 6. Zambia 7. Cote d'Ivoire 8. Nigeria 9. Angola 10. Ghana 11. Zimbabwe 12. Burkina Faso and Congo (DRC) 14. Guinea 15. Togo 16. Algeria 17. Congo 18. Namibia 19. Senegal 20. Gabon 21. Liberia 22. Mali 23. Uganda 24. Kenya 25. Mozambique 26. Malawi 27. Madagascar 28. Libya 29. Mauritius 30. Burundi 31. Rwanda 32. Sierra Leone 37. Tanzania 38. Benin 39. Botswana 40. Gambia 41. Cape Verde Islands 42. Eritrea 43. Mauritania 44. Chad 45. Central African Republic 46. Guinea Bissau 47. Sao Tome e Principe 48. Niger 49. Equatorial Guinea 50. Seychelles 51. Djibouti 52. Somalia. [PANA]

Friday, 22 December, 2000: The Pak-Libya holding company has signed a deal with the Moody's International Certification Ltd. [MICL] to obtain ISO-9002 certification. The company will acquire the certificate by conducting a third party audit. MICL is a British subsidiary of the RCG-MOODY, USA Organisation, which offers an independent and international service for the accredited certification of Quality Management System. Pak-Libya will be the first financial institution in Pakistan, which has gone a long way towards achieving the ISO certification of entire operation. Pak-Libya is joint venture financial institution between the government of Libya and Pakistan. [Asia Pulse]
Thursday, 21 December, 2000: The Libyan National Office for the Protection of the Environment (ONPE) and the National Libyan Petroleum Enterprise (ENP-Naft-Libya) held an emergency meeting from Tuesday night till Wednesday morning to discuss the pollution of several wells 30 km West of Tripoli, caused by a leaking underground gas pipeline. The gas pipeline in question links the Zawia refinery to the gas tank depot of the Al-Matar Road, 15 km south-east of the Libyan capital. The official from the Libyan Petroleum Company claimed that the leak was caused by erosion and added that the repairs were being delayed by the people who demanded compensation before the start of the operations aimed at locating the leak in the gas pipeline, which passes through several fields. The official assured that the ENP had taken all the necessary steps to check every inch of the gas pipeline, which is more than 25 years old. [PANA]
Thursday, 21 December, 2000: Five more fugitives were indicted Wednesday in the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, raising to 22 the total number accused in the case. The indictment portrayed the five new defendants as key members of a terrorism group allegedly led by exiled Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden. Two of the five indicted Wednesday - identified as Saif Al Adel, an Egyptian, and Anas Al Liby of Libya - allegedly sat on a consultation council for the terrorism group Al Qaeda, which the indictment said discussed and approved terrorist operations. The three others were Egyptian. [AP]
Thursday, 21 December, 2000: More than four in 10 of the world's people live in free countries, according to a study released Wednesday -the highest proportion since the study began in 1981. Democracy and human rights significantly improved this year, the annual study by the Freedom House said. The study said that countries with a high degree of freedom tend to be more economically prosperous than those that are more restrictive. The report noted some exceptions; some poorer nations offer high levels of freedom, such as Belize, Benin, Bolivia and Jamaica, and some prosperous nations have high degrees of repression, such as Bahrain, Brunei and Libya. But there is generally a strong correlation between prosperity and freedom. [AP]

Wednesday, 20 December, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi urged his fellow OPEC heads of state to cut crude oil supply, saying oil prices were threatened by rising world stocks, Libyan news agency Jana reported on Monday. "The (market) situation at this stage requires a serious look into cutting production to restore the market balance," Jana quoted Qadhafi as saying in a letter sent to OPEC leaders. The Libyan leader asked OPEC leaders to ignore calls by consumer countries for more oil supply, arguing that such demands were not backed by the market fundamentals. "There is a glut of oil in the market and there is no need to increase oil production as many analysts and oil specialists are pointing to a stockpile of about 105 million barrels," he said. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 20 December, 2000: Some 189 Cameroonian nationals, recently expelled from Libya, arrived Tuesday in Kousseri after being transported from N'djamena by a military cargo flight chartered by the Chadian authorities, the Cameroon News Agency has reported. Last week, nine other Cameroonians returned home on their own from Libya where a wave of xenophobia has made them victims of attacks since October. The Cameroonians join nationals of other sub-Saharan African countries who have escaped from Libya after falling victims to Libyan youths. According to Toutat Paterne, one of the expelled, 400 Cameroonians took refuge in a camp soon after the October riots but the camp was attacked by young Libyans despite security measures taken by the authorities. [PANA]

Tuesday, 19 December, 2000: President of the United Arab Emirates UAE Sheikh Zayed al-Nahyan on Sunday received a message from the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi relating to consultation and co-ordination between the two countries on current conditions in the oil market. The message was delivered by the Libyan charge de affairs to the UAE Issam al-Shweihdi, during his meeting with the UAE foreign ministry secretary Seif Bin Sa'ed. [ArabicNews.Com]
Tuesday, 19 December, 2000: Ivorian interior minister Emile Boga Doudou Monday informed the Libyan minister for African Unity, Ali Triki, that his country had decided to establish an embassy in Tripoli to consolidate bilateral relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, the Libyan justice and public security minister met Monday with the interior ministers from the Central African Republic and Gambia. The three reviewed the preparations for the second meeting of ministers of interior, justice and public security in the countries of the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States to be held in Libya soon. [PANA]
Monday, 18 December, 2000: Tanzania Friday became the 35th OAU member state to sign the constitutive act of the African Union, when its ambassador to Ethiopia initialled the document adopted at the July OAU summit in Togo. OAU Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim expressed the hope that more member states would sign and ratify the act soon. He also appealed to member states that have not yet signed and ratified the act to do so "in order that the decisions taken in Sirte (Libya) and Lome (Togo) for the early establishment of the African Union, may come into fruition as scheduled." Only Mali, Senegal, Togo and Libya have ratified the act. [PANA]
Sunday, 17 December, 2000: Libyan television has for the first time highlighted a growing drugs problem in the country. The main evening news showed a report from a drugs rehabilitation centre in the south, where a group of 157 young former users and addicts were attending a "graduation ceremony" before being released back into society. "Dealers and pushers target the infrastructure of this country. They are agents of colonialism and Zionism," a Libyan official said. In another sign that Libya is becoming more willing to admit its internal problems to the rest of the world, Justice and Public Security Minister Musa al-Abbar this month attended an international conference on organised crime in Palermo, Italy. He admitted that Libya had a problem with criminal gangs who made use of its geographical position for smuggling. And he said that new laws had been introduced to fight drugs, including providing addicts with treatment and aftercare instead of punishing them. Last year Libyan doctors were allowed to admit to foreign journalists that a heroin problem was spreading among "children of the rich and young women". [BBC]
Sunday, 17 December, 2000: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Friday evening received a message from President of Burkina Faso, pertaining to conditions in West Africa and the efforts aiming at maintaining the unity of Africa. The message was handed over by Burkina Faso's minister of Agriculture during his meeting with Qadhafi. Qadhafi also on Friday evening received a message from Uganda handed over by the minister of foreign affairs during his meeting with Qaddafi. The Libyan TV said that the message related to efforts to establish peace in Democratic Congo and stability in the area of the Greater Lakes. [ArabicNews.Com]
Sunday, 17 December, 2000: A Libyan cargo plane has departed Tripoli with several tonnes of food and drug supplies for drought victims in Kenya, Libyan officials said Friday. The Libyan Red Crescent and several other Libyan organisations are participating in the humanitarian operation. Officials say the first consignment of supplies, which departed Thursday, is to be followed by other flights in the coming days. They explained that the assistance is under the framework of Libya's African solidarity. [PANA]

Saturday, 16 December, 2000: Libya and Uganda have agreed to convene a second quadripartite meeting in Tripoli to discuss the follow up of the process to normalise relations between Sudan and Ugandan, frozen since 1995, diplomatic sources said Friday in Tripoli. The secretary of the Libyan people's general committee on African unity and the foreign ministers of Egypt, Uganda and Sudan are expected to attend the meeting aimed at restoring relations between the two neighbours. But informed Libyan sources say the process has been bogged down by "some difficulties" which they did not specify. [PANA]
Saturday, 16 December, 2000: The terrorist attack in 1975 on the conference of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna was aimed at strengthening Libya's hand in a dispute with Saudi Arabia, a German court heard on Thursday. On trial in Frankfurt are former terrorist Hans-Joachim Klein, 52, and Rudolf Schindler, 57, both accused of taking part in the attack. According to intelligence documents read at the court's request, the organisation behind the attack was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Several witnesses have said the terrorists had support from the Libyan secret service. They said original plans called for the oil ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran to be killed during the attack. [News24]

Friday, 15 December, 2000: Sixty-seven countries have signed up to the UN convention against organized crime, signaling their agreement to crushing cross-border criminality but two protocols, one of which outlaws human trafficking, are proving a sticking point for many states. The 67 states, including the European Union, signed the agreement in a gathering in Palermo, Italy, over the past two days. During conference plenary sessions, Libya's delegation denounced "more or less official crimes ... committed by certain big powers", such as "the bombing of peaceful villages," and international financial organizations which allegedly "starve people." [AFP]
Thursday, 14 December, 2000: Italy prodded the United States on Wednesday to move quicker on ending Libya's isolation as a past supporter of terrorism, saying Libya had proved itself with moves like the surrender of the Lockerbie suspects. The U.N. Security Council suspended its 8-year-old sanctions against Libya last year, but the U.S. extended its own, now 20-year-old restrictions on travel by Americans to Libya last month, citing concern over increased anti-U.S. violence in the Middle East. European countries have recognized Libya's efforts, Dini said, adding that "I would have expected that the U.S. would have lifted the restrictions on travel." Libyan Foreign Minister Abdulrahaman Shalgam was in Rome on Tuesday and Wednesday to sign memoranda of intent on areas including political consultation and de-mining efforts in Libya. [AP]

Wednesday, 13 December, 2000: The agreement signed by Eritrea and Ethiopia Tuesday ending their bloody border war, which had erupted suddenly in May 1998, will mark the crowning of African mediation. The 12 December 2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia agreement will also crown the efforts of the UN, the US and several African states, including Rwanda and Libya, which jointly sought a solution to the border dispute, which culminated into a bloody war in which thousands of people were killed on both sides. [PANA]
Tuesday, 12 December, 2000: A workshop on training for the evaluation of industrial risks is underway in Tripoli, an initiative of the General Libyan Environment Office. Secretary of the Committee for the Environment, H'tewish Faraj H'tewish, said the four-day meeting seeks to improve the competence of technicians working in the industrial sector. Papers on various themes pertaining to environmental pollution will be presented at the meeting. [PANA]
Tuesday, 12 December, 2000: Egypt, Libya and Iraq have agreed to a draft project to declare the establishment of a free market between the three states in the framework of the Arab economic unity council. Egypt's minister of planning and international cooperation Ahmad al-Darsh said in conclusion of the 72nd session of the economic unity council that there is a determination from the three states to fully and immediately resume stages of the joint Arab market signed in the framework of the council since 1971. [ArabicNews.Com]
Monday, 11 December, 2000: The Nigerian National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken the case of the over 2000 Nigerians deported from Libya to President Olusegun Obasanjo, urging him to intervene, by officially reaching the Libyan president Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to release their properties to them or pay adequate compensation for the worth of the properties they left behind in Libya. The commission pointed out that the rights of deportees including the right to their own property cannot be forfeited by the fact of their being illegal immigrants. [Africa News]
The Libyan League for Human Rights :
Seven years after his abduction; the fate of Mr. al-Kikhia is still unknown

Sunday, 10 December, 2000: The Philippine official who led negotiations to free dozens of hostages held by Muslim rebels, on Saturday denied German reports that he and President Estrada pocketed some of the ransom money. "I flatly deny it and I guess I can also speak for the president since I was the chief negotiator," presidential adviser, Roberto Aventajado told AFP. The German weekly "Der Spiegel" in a report due out on Sunday, said Aventajado and Estrada skimmed off half of a 20 million-dollar ransom payment, for the release of unnamed hostages. Der Spiegel quoted German secret police as saying that Aventajado earned 10 percent of the total. The ransom was allegedly paid by donors in Germany and Libya, the magazine said. [AFP]

Saturday, 9 December, 2000: The Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has received a message from President Eyadema of Togo, current chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). According to Libyan official sources, the message was related to the situation in Africa, particularly the pre-parliamentary election crisis in Cote d'Ivoire as well as preparations for the extraordinary OAU summit to be held in Sirte, in March 2001. That meeting is expected to adopt the constitutive act of the African Union, which was signed during the OAU summit in Togo, July. The message was delivered to Qadhafi by Eyadema's sons, Sozimna and Essonam. [PANA]
Friday, 8 December, 2000: Libya has freed twenty-six Egyptian fishermen detained on suspicion of fishing illegally in Libyan waters. The men are the first to be released of a group of one-hundred and forty-nine who were arrested at the end of October when their boats were seized off the Libyan coast. Their release has been agreed between the Egyptian and Libyan authorities who are still in negotiations over the remaining men. This is the latest in a series of incidents in which Libya has detained Egyptian fishermen. Twenty six were arrested in June and held for two weeks before being released. [BBC]
Friday, 8 December, 2000: Middle East governments continued to violate their citizens' human rights in the year 2000, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2001 released on Thursday. Even where countries had made strides in areas such as judicial reform, press freedom and womens' rights, the progress was often negated by fresh abuses or back-pedaling, it said. In Libya, the report cited widespread attacks against black Africans from this past September, which reportedly left 50 Sudanese and Chadians dead. [AFP]
Friday, 8 December, 2000: A Jordanian man convicted of a four-year crime spree with his wife that left 12 people dead and stunned a nation used to tight security, was hanged Thursday. Bilal Musa, 34, was executed at dawn in Swaqa Prison, police said. Musa and his wife, Susan Ibrahim, 31, posed as salespeople or journalists to persuade their victims to let them into their houses, the officials said. Once inside, they killed and robbed the inhabitants. The couple fled to Libya in 1998 but were arrested and extradited to Jordan in October of that year. [AP]
Friday, 8 December, 2000: A presidential adviser in Niger, Ali Sidi Adam, Thursday, accused the international press of "abusively exaggerating" the confrontation between young Libyans and immigrant workers from sub-Saharan African countries which led to many death in Libya in September. Speaking to PANA at the end of his month-long stay in Libya to assess the condition of his compatriots in the country, the Niger official said he regretted the events of last September. He did not exclude the exploitation of the incidents by "invisible hands" trying to sabotage the African Union project as is also believed by Libyan authorities. "I met the community of Niger nationals in Sabha, in Wadi Al-Hayat, in Mourzuk and in Tripoli. They are faring very well and continue to provide their labour to the Libyan private sector, particularly in the field of agriculture and are not undergoing any form of harassment by the local population", Adam said. He said talks were underway between the concerned authorities of the two countries that could lead to the issuance of "special cards" to Niger nationals to enable them live and work in Libya. [PANA]


Thursday, 7 December, 2000: Somali warlord Osman Ali "Atto" Wednesday demanded that Libya stop interfering in Somalia's internal affairs after Tripoli donated equipment to a police force being formed by the transitional government in Mogadishu. Transitional Somali president Abdulkassim Salat said that Libya's intentions on Somalia were for the country's own good. Atto's appeal followed the arrival last weekend of a planeload of equipment from Libya for Salat's police force. "Libyan policies will ignite hostilities in Somalia. Libya sent military equipment to Somalia and that might ignite new rounds of interclan violence," Atto told AFP. [AFP]
Thursday, 7 December, 2000: Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a message to Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi calling for closer ties and Libya's greater involvement in matters of regional security, the Kremlin said Tuesday. Putin, who has already accepted an invitation to visit Libya, said in the message that the two men should discuss halting the spread of international terrorism and exchange opinions on the situation in the Mediterranean and the Middle East in general. Putin also called for an improvement in bilateral trade and closer military links between Moscow and Tripoli. Russia has recently stepped up ties with Libya -- once an important military client of the Soviet Union -- in a bid to sell Tripoli advanced weaponry. [UPI]

Wednesday, 6 December, 2000: Lawyers defending one of two Libyan men accused of the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing were allowed on Tuesday to delay the case until January. The lawyers for Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi [photo] are under pressure to bring their client to the witness stand, but insist they will only do so after they have received a potentially vital document from the Syrian government. The prosecution finished its case last week. "With regret and some reluctance, we feel we will have to adjourn until January. We should make it clear that the period until January is really the last opportunity for this document to appear," presiding judge Lord Sutherland said. He added Megrahi's leading counsel, William Taylor, would be expected to recommence his case on January 8. Only under the "most exceptional circumstances" would he tolerate more delays. [Reuters]
Wednesday, 6 December, 2000: Lawyers for one of the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing have begun presenting his defence at the Scottish court in the Netherlands. They attempted to undermine allegations that a shopkeeper sold clothing, which was packed round the bomb that blew up Pam Am Flight 103, to one of the accused. Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci had told the court that he sold clothes to a man - whom he identified in court as the first accused Abdel-Baset al-Megrahi - at his shop on 7 December, 1988. Charred fragments of the clothing were recovered from the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 and traced back to Mr Gauci's shop. On day 76 of the trial, lawyers for Mr al-Megrahi called retired meteorologist Major Joseph Mifsud who worked in Malta's Luqa airport in 1988. They also began to concentrate on the activities of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) during October 1988. They have already indicated that they would produce evidence which would incriminate others, including the PFLP-GC. [BBC]
Tuesday, 5 December, 2000: Iran's foreign ministry on Monday denied the creation of a joint commission with Libya to investigate the 1978 disappearance of a Lebanese Shiite cleric in which Tripoli is suspected of having a hand. The case of Imam Mussa Sadr still envenoms relations between Beirut and Tripoli, which recently withdrew its ambassador from Lebanon amid a row with current Amal leader Nabih Berri. "Such a commission does not exist," said ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi during a press conference in Tehran. "The fate of Imam Sadr is of extreme importance for Lebanese Muslims and Iranians, as well as Iranian officials ... but (the report) that a joint Iran-Libya commission has been created, this is not correct," Asefi told reporters. [AFP]
Tuesday, 5 December, 2000: A major gas deposit has been discovered north west of the Libyan gas field of Assoumoud, near Brega, 700-km from Tripoli, the National Oil Board has announced. The Board said Sunday the reserve is estimated at 472 billion cubic feet, 293 billion of which can be tapped. This is larger than the Assoumoud reserve. [PANA]
Tuesday, 5 December, 2000: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received the secretary of the Libyan people's general committee for African unity Ali al-Tureiki. Al-Tureiki expressed happiness to visit Syria and to have met with President Assad. In statements to the press following his meeting with President Assad, al-Tureiki stressed Libya's backing to Syria. He added that during the talks discussions dealt with finding out means to back the Intifada and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation. [ArabicNews.Com]
Tuesday, 5 December, 2000: Akhmad Kadyrov, the Russian civilian administrator in war-torn Chechnya, will visit Iraq and Libya in his first official trip abroad, Itar-Tass news agency said on Monday. It said Kadyrov would discuss aid for the troubled separatist province with the governments of the two Arab states. Moscow installed Kadyrov after its forces retook control of Chechnya earlier this year from pro-independence leaders who had run the breakaway region since 1997. Kadyrov is a Muslim cleric and former rebel leader who last year switched sides and threw his weight behind Russia's latest military drive to bring Chechnya to heel. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 5 December, 2000: The U.N. General Assembly condemned the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Monday for using ''widespread terror'' and systematic torture to repress dissent and urged it to abide by international human rights treaties. The vote was 102 in favor and three against with 60 abstentions. The ''no'' votes were cast by Libya, Mauritania and Sudan. Last year's vote on a similar resolution was 100-3-52. [Reuters]

Monday, 4 December, 2000: The Libyan Association for the Control of Drugs (LACD), a local non-government organization (NGO), Saturday launched a massive anti-narcotic drug campaign throughout Libya's schools. The operation, organised in partnership with the education, justice and security departments, is designed to sensitise Libyan youths on the dangers of the consumption of narcotic substances on the development, progress and stability of their society. Khaled al-Kikli, the co-ordinator of the drug abuse prevention operations of the Education Popular Committee of Tripoli's Abou-Milyana commune, said students were targeted mainly so as to forestall the effects of drug consumption in the Libyan society. He said the society has been affected by the use of narcotic drugs for some time now. The drug addict rehabilitation centre of Tripoli reportedly receives between six and 10 drug addicts daily who discreetly seek treatment. [PANA]
Sunday, 3 December, 2000: The London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat daily said yesterday that the Libyan authorities have started since four days to impose an entry visa on those who carry Lebanese and Syrian passports. Diplomatic sources in Tripoli said that the Libyan decision which was not officially announced, comes in the course of the practical measures taken by the Libyan authorities in response to the campaign carried out by several local leaderships of the Shiite community in Lebanon against the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [ArabicNews.Com]
Saturday, 2 December, 2000: Libya is to build a five-star hotel in Khartoum. The Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company said in a statement it has entrusted the Quality Project Management Ltd, based in Malta, with the development of the 250-room hotel. The project will include a conference centre, a health centre, office space and a shopping centre spread over a total area of 45,000 square meters. Construction work is expected to start in early 2001. The area already hosts a number of landmark constructions, including the Khartoum Hilton. [PANA]
Saturday, 2 December, 2000: Hundreds of Nigerian evacuees from Libya Wednesday besieged premises of the Nigerian National Assembly to protest the non release of $25 million allegedly given to them by the Libyan leader, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. A spokesman for the returnees, Mr. John Achebe said that before they were deported to Nigeria, the Libyan government gave them the sum of $25 million which when shared would be $3000 each. He said that rather than pay them this money, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs only gave them a sum ranging between N500 and N1050 each. [ANS]
Saturday, 2 December, 2000: A high ranking Iranian diplomat who served as the political advisor for the Iranian embassy in Libya by the beginning of the Iranian revolution unmasked that he made precise and comprehensive investigations on conditions behind the disappearance of Mousa al-Sader and he had got documents and pictures showing that al-Sader and his companions are in a military prison in an area close to Sabha city in Libya. In a statement to al-Sharq al-Awsat daily issued on Wednesday, the Iranian diplomat stressed that a Tunisian guard used to work in the Libyan security forces contacted the Iranian embassy and gave controversial documents on this matter. He said he had sent the documents in a diplomatic bag to Iran but the documents fell in the hands of the revolution's guards intelligence. He added that after a short period of time former leader of the revolution guards and former guards minister Mohsin Rafiq Doust visited Tripoli and held a series of meetings with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi resulted in signing an agreement between the two countries on security and military cooperation. [ArabicNews.Com]
Friday, 1 December, 2000: Commenting on the United Nations Secretary-General's report about landmines, Libya's representative to the U.N. said that it was regrettable that the report did not refer to countries that had planted mines in the territories of other countries, and failed to ask those countries to provide compensation. Furthermore, the report did not distinguish between the use of mines for legitimate defence and the irresponsible use of mines by combatant States which already possessed a wide range of weapons. A significant number of mines had been placed in Libyan territory during the Second World War, he said. Those countries responsible should acknowledge their part in the killing and maiming of Libyans and should also provide maps of landmine fields. Compensation should also be provided for adverse developmental and humanitarian effects. [M2]
Friday, 1 December, 2000: Russia holds talks with Libya on the resumption of military cooperation, Vice-Premier of the Russian government Ilya Klebanov told journalists on Thursday. According to him, during this year three sessions of the Russian-Libyan Commission for military cooperation took place. At the same time, Klebanov noted, "we have expected a more vigorous growth than it was in reality." "There is no such effectiveness in the sphere of military cooperation, on which we counted," the vice-premier added. Klebanov noted that a strong impetus to the development of cooperation was given to civil projects, in particular, the construction of a gas pipeline and a thermal power-station with Russia's participation. "This may be more important than military cooperation," the vice-premier pointed out. [Itar-Tass]
Friday, 1 December, 2000: Nigeria's former Ambassador to Ethiopia and the OAU, Segun Olusola, said the dream of a united Africa had suffered a set-back due to recent attacks on black Africans living in Libya. Speaking to journalists in Lagos Tuesday, on the proposed peace seminar for Nigerian religious, ethnic and academic leaders in the capital city of Abuja, Olusola said the attacks were against the spirit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). More than 500 Nigerians reportedly died in the violence involving black African immigrants and their Libyan hosts. In the wake of the crisis, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered the repatriation of Nigerians residing in Libya. [PANA]
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