News and Views

December 1997

30 December 1997: Today [Tuesday] is the first day of the month of Ramadan [the month of fasting.] I wish all of you Ramadan Mubarak wa Kullu 'Amin wa'Antum Bikhair.
30 December 1997: Libya has appointed Mohamed Ahmed al-Mangoush as prime minister, replacing Abdelmejid al-Gu'ud, the official Libyan news agency JANA reported on Monday. The appointment was part of a cabinet reshuffle decided at the end of a five-day session of the General People's Congress in Sirt. The Planning, Economy and Trade Ministry was split into Economy and Trade, staying in the hands of Abdel Hafidh Zlitni. The new minister of planning is Jadallah Azzouz al-Talhi. Foreign Affairs Minister Omar al-Montasser, Energy Minister Abdullah Salem al-Badri and Finance Minister Mohamed Beit al-Mal kept their posts. Abderrahman al-Abbar was appointed non-cabinet minister in charge of public accounting. Libya's de facto head of state is Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [Reuter]
30 December 1997: Libya said that its budget for the fiscal year 1997 as well as the budget for 1998 were balanced without deficit despite the United Nations sanctions imposed on it since 1992. Prime Minister Abdelmajid al-Gu'ud said the 1998 budget approved by the General People's Congress (GPC) on Monday was set at 5.311 billion dinars ($13.759 billion at the official rate), down 70 million dinars from 5.381 billion dinars in 1997. [Reuter]
30 December 1997: Russian ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky held talks with Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on relations between the two countries, the Libyan state-run television reported on Sunday night. Zhirinovsky is visiting Libya for the third time this year. The Russian Liberal Democratic Party leader also visited Libya in January and April. [Reuter]
29 December 1997: An official Libyan source said that Libya's losses as a result of the United Nations sanctions imposed since 1992 are estimated at US $24 billion. In a report released on Thursday, the Libyan foreign relations bureau said the most vulnerable sectors are oil, agriculture, and industry, where US $15 billion registered as losses due to a shortage of spare parts. [Arabic News]
29 December 1997: Libya is among five countries that will not benifet from the launching of the world's first commercial spy-like satellite. "EarlyBird 1'' was designed to pick out features on the ground as small as 3 Meters. It was successfully launched last week atop a Russian rocket by its American builder, EarthWatch Inc. But the United States bans U.S.-licensed satellite operators from selling images to Libya. Prices of black-and-white pictures range from $2.75 to $7.25 per square km (0.4 square miles), depending on whether they come from the company's archives or are collected at a specified time and date. [Reuter] For more details, please click here
Views of Libya from "The Living Earth's Earth and Moon Viewer"

A new issue of Shu'un Libiyah Magazine

24 December 1997: Libyan official news agency JANA reports that a plane crashed while in a flight from Sirt to Tripoli. JANA said the crash was due to technical failure. Five people were seriously injured in the crash. JANA neither reported the names of the injured nor when did the plane crash. Libya's General People's Congress "Mu'tamar al-Sh'ab al-'am" is to convene in Sirt this thursday. [al-Hayat / 24 December 1997]
24 December 1997: AFP reports that 5 people seriously injured in plane crash in Libya.

23 December 1997: Tomorrow [24 December] marks the 46th anniversary of Libya's independance from Italy. The Italians occupied Libya from 1911 to 1943, where no Libyan national was safe from their prutality [see photos above.] After years of local resistance to the Italian occupation and years of political work locally and internationally following Italy's defeat in World War II [January 1943,] the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on 21 November 1949 granting Libya its independance no later than 1 January 1952. On 7 October 1951, the National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to adopt the Libya's constitution. The Libyan National Assembly at its forty-third meeting (6 November 1951) adopted unanimously the electoral law. The Assembly remained in session until the proclamation of the independance of Libya on the 24th of December 1951. For more details, please click on the following:
24 December 1951: Libya's Independance Day
The 1949 UN Resolution Relevant to Libya's Independence
The Italian Occupation and the Libyan Resistance
Pictures of the Italian Occupation [Part 1]
Pictures of the Italian Occupation [Part 2]
Omar al-Mukhtar [1862 - 1931]
The Constitution of Libya (October 1951 - September 1969)

23 December 1997: Libya on Monday summoned the General People's Congress "Mu'tamar al-Sha'b al-'am" to meet on Thursday in a session that will be its second this year. The Libyan state-run television quoted the Congress's secretariat as saying the session would be held in the coastal town of Sirte, some 450 km east of Tripoli. It did not elaborate on the agenda. The last sesion was held in Sirte on March this year. [Reuter]
23 December 1997: Two legal experts who recently visited Britain for the United Nations secretary-general concluded that two Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, would receive a fair trial under the Scottish judicial system. Libya has long argued that the two alleged intelligence agents cannot get a fair trial in either Britain or the United States, where they have been indicted, and that they should be tried elsewhere. [Reuter]
22 December 1997: The black American Muslim activist, Louis Farrakhan, has held talks in Tripoli with Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Libyan television said they discussed the situation of Muslims in the United States. Mr Farrakhan had earlier called for UN sanctions against Libya to be lifted, saying they were causing the deaths of innocent women and children. The United States government has criticized his visit. [BBC]
22 December 1997: The American Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan criticized United Nations sanctions imposed on Libya in a statement after his arrival in Libya Saturday night, state-run Libyan television said. Farrakhan said the sanctions were "tantamount to a weapon of mass destruction,'' the television said. The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Libya in April 1992 to try to force Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to turn over two Libyans wanted in the 1988 explosion of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. The crash killed 270 people. [AP]
22 December 1997: The families of the victims of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, urged Britain on Sunday to allow two Libyan suspects to be tried in a neutral country. ``If the British government does not change its position, we shall go to our graves not knowing who murdered our children,'' Jim Swire, the father of one of the Lockerbie victims, told Britain's Sky television. Yesterday [Sunday] was the ninth anniversary of the tragedy in which 270 people were killed. [Reuter]
22 December 1997: Libyan -French relations have been improving over the last few months, while Libyan - British and Libyan -American relations are embrioled in disputes and deterioration. The manager of the Middle East and North Africa Department in the French Foreign Ministry visited Libya last week and met with ambassador Abul'ati al-Ebeidy, Libya's head of European - Libyan relationships. [Arabic News]
20 December 1997: A United Nations envoy has completed a six-day mission to Libya and will report next week to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the impact of Security Council sanctions there, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Friday. Vladimir Petrovsky, director-general of the U.N. European headquarters who made three previous trips in 1992, headed a four-member mission to Libya at Annan's request. He met Libya's foreign, agriculture, transport and health ministry officials, who briefed him on the effects of sanctions on each sector, according to Libya's state-run television this week. [Reuter]
18 December 1997: A United Nations envoy on a mission to assess the impact of U.N. Security Council sanctions on Libya held talks in Tripoli with the Arab League chief on the Lockerbie affair, Libya's state-run television reported. "We hope that it will make positions move in order to reach a satisfying solution to this issue,'' Arab League Secretary-General Esmat Abdel-Meguid said in a broadcast statement. [Reuter]
18 December 1997: Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it would arrange special flights to transport Libyans and Iraqis to the kingdom for the annual Islamic hajj [pilgrimage.] Last year both Libya amd Iraq defied U.N. sanctions by sending airplanes with pilgrims to the kingdom, home to Islam's two holiest sites. [Reuter]
15 December 1997: A United Nations envoy arrived in Tripoli on Saturday for a six-day visit to assess the impact of Security Council sanctions on Libya, U.N. officials in the Libyan capital said. The mission headed by Vladimir Petrovski, director-general of the U.N. European headquarters, travelled by air to the Tunisian island of Djerba before going on to Tripoli by road, said a U.N. official in Tripoli. U.N. sanctions were imposed on Libya for refusing to allow two Libyans suspected of involvement in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, to stand trial in Scotland or the United States. Libya has said the two would not get a fair trial in either place, but has offered to let them be tried in a third country -- a solution rejected by Britain and the United States. [Reuter]
15 December 1997: United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Saturday soft-pedalled a dispute with South Africa over visits to Libya by President Nelson Mandela, but indicated the affair had not been forgotten. "We did not find many disagreements and those that we have we talk about quietly,'' she said in reply to a question about the visits at a news conference after talks with South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki. Albright held a meeting later with Mandela, who stirred American displeasure by paying two visits to Libya last month and presenting an award to Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [Reuter]
15 December 1997: Attorneys for families of the victims of PanAm Flight 103 and the Libyan government clashed in court on Friday over whether Libya should face a civil lawsuit seeking to hold it accountable for the Lockerbie bombing. On Friday, United States District Judge Thomas Platt heard arguments from lawyers representing Libya, which wants the civil case tossed out, and attorneys for victims' families, who believe it should go forward. The suit, which seeks unspecified financial damages, alleges the Libyan government contributed to the bombing and so should be held responsible. Two Libyan nationals, suspected intelligence agents, have been in indicted on criminal charges in the United States for allegedly planting the bomb. [Reuter]
12 December 1997: Reports from Tripoli say a Chinese delegation has begun discussions with Libya on ways of developing economic relations between the two countries. Libyan Television said the delegation, headed by the Vice-Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, Liu Shanzei, represented major Chinese companies and industry. The Libyan news agency, JANA, quoted Mr Liu as saying that China strongly opposed sanctions against Libya, which he described as unfair. [BBC]
12 December 1997: Leaders at an Islamic summit in Tehran, Iran, on Thursday attacked a United States law that seeks to punish non-American companies doing business with Iran and Libya. A draft final declaration said the 55 members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference reject "unilateralism and extraterritorial application of domestic law and urge all states to consider the so-called D'Amato law as null and void.'' The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, whose passage in August 1996 drew severe criticism from Washington's European and Asian allies, has yet to be enforced. [Reuter]
12 December 1997: Libya hopes to make further investments in Italy after taking a stake in newly-privatised Banca di Roma, Libyan central bank governor Tahar Jehimi was quoted as saying on Thursday. "Services, health and telecommunications are the sectors which interest us, apart of course from energy,'' Jehimi said in an interview with the daily newspaper La Repubblica. The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank took a five percent interest and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank a combined eight percent in Banca di Roma, Italy's second largest banking group. [Reuter]
10 December 1997: The Libyan National Alliance "al-Tahaluf al-Watani al-Leebi" said it will never stop its efforts to know what happened to its leader Mansour al-Kikhia. Al-Kikhia disappeared in Cairo, Egypt, on 10 December 1993. Ibrahim Emmeesh, the head of the political bureau of the LNA, said that al-Kikhia attended a meeting with a United States government representative prior to his disappearance, in the meeting the American told al-Kikhia that his administration considers him the man who could govern Libya after Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and according to Emmeesh Mansour al-kikhia refused the offer. For more details [in Arabic/al-Hayat] please click here
10 December 1997: The proposal which was approved by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) through which NATO will be able to land more than 50,000 soldiers on the North African Mediterranean coast was received with diverse reactions. Libya confirmed its absolute rejection of the proposal and its refusal to approve of the presence of any foreign forces in the North African countries. It described the proposal as a plan for new colonization. [Arabic News]
9 December 1997: Two Libyan oppositon organizations issued a joint press release in the 4th anniversary of the disappearance of the prominant Libyan opposition figure Mansour al-Kikhia. The Libyan National Alliance [al-Tahaluf al-Watani al-Leeby] and the National Front for the Salvation of Libya [al-Jabha al-Wataniyah li-Inqath Libya] blamed Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and his agents for the kidnapping of al-Kikhia while he was attending a convention of the Arab League for Human Rights in Cairo, Egypt, on the 10th of December 1993. The LNA and the NFSL asked the governments involved in al-Kikhia's case to investigate his disappearnce and tell the public what they know about the Libyan activist's disappearance. For a full text of the LNA and NFSL's joint press release [in Arabic] please click here
9 December 1997: Tomorrow, the 10th of December, marks the 4th anniversary of the disappearance of Libyan activist Mansour al-Kikhia. Al-Kikhia disappeared in Cairo, Egypt, on 10 December 1993 while attending a convention of the Arab League for Human rights. Various sources reported that he was kidnapped by Libyan agents working for Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and that al-Kikhia was killed in Libya early 1994. Libyan govenment denied its involvement in the disappearance of al-Kikhia and accused the American CIA of the Libyan activist's kidnapping. Al-Kikhia was the leader of the anti-Qadhafi Libyan National Alliance and was a member of the executive committee of the Libyan League for Human Rights.
For more detals, please click on the following:
1. Where is Mansour al-Kikhia?
2. Who kidnapped Mansour al-Kikhia?
3. Al-Kikhia's wife speech in in the LHRC's symposium on Kikhia's disapperance
4. The Libyan League for Human Rights report on the state of human rights in Libya
5. The Libyan League for Human Rights latest report: "1st September 1997" Report
8 December 1997: Libya and the United Nations Development Plan have agreed on the implementation of five projects for Information Technology [IT] in education. It is thought that the projects will cover teacher training, the introduction of IT in secondary education, and the development of computers as a tool in education in general. [Computing]
Book Review: [Libya's Qaddafi:The Politics of Contradiction] by Mansour O. el-Kikhia
Reviewed by: Dr. Mohamed Said in Shu'un Libiyah Home Page

7 December 1997: The secretary general of the Arab League, Dr. Esmat Abdel Meguid, called on the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to form an Islamic committee to work for a unified stand with Libya's position in its Lockerbie crisis with the USA and Britain. The OIC will hold its summit, in which all the Islamic countries will participate, in the Iranian capital Tehran on 9-11 December. [Arabic News]
6 December 1997: Libyan television quoted Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi as saying he had agreed to a request to help the Lebanese people to resist Israeli occupation, but it did not specify what form the help would teke. The most active guerrilla groups in southern Lebanon are Hezbollah and Amal, both Shi'ite. Relations have been strained between Libya and Lebanese Shi'ite Muslims since the disappearance in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, of the Shi'ite Muslim spiritual leader, Imam Musa Sadr, in 1979. [BBC]
6 December 1997: The Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram reports that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's adviser Osama el-Baz is due to go to Libya today [Satudrday] to deliver a message from the Mubarak to Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on bilateral issues and the latest developments aimed at finding an end to the Lockerbie dispute.
5 December 1997: A former key prosecution witness in the trial of five people charged over the 1986 bombing of a West Berlin night club on Thursday alleged that United States secret agents were behind the attack. Musbah Eter had earlier this week surprised a Berlin court by insisting a statement he made which underpinned much of the prosecution case had been misinterpreted. The 40-year-old former diplomat at the embassy said his co-accused had only been given a dummy explosive to take to the night spot as a test of their trustworthiness. But Eter said shortly before the attack, a Libyan exile acting on U.S. secret service orders had exchanged the dummy explosive, which had been carried into the club by the German Verena Chanaa, for a live one. [Reuter]
5 December 1997: A United Nations rights body is poised to declare on Friday that the Security Council should consider the economic and social rights of vulnerable civilians before slapping on sanctions, its chairman said on Thursday. Philip Alston, an Australian who chairs the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, also said exemption mechanisms allowing food and medical supplies to be imported into countries under sanctions were "completely inadequate.'' Libya is among states under varying degrees of international sanctions. [Reuters]
4 December 1997: France Press reports that the Algerian Army is surrounding an anti-government hideout where a group of anti-government fighters [among them number of Libyan nationals] are residing . In other news the AFP reports that Amnesty International fears that the government of Saudi Arabia might force four ant-Qadhafi Libyan nationals to return to Libya where they face immediate arrest.
4 December 1997: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has met Sudanese opposition leader Sadeq al-Mahdi in Tripoli as part of an opposition campaign to coordinate an end to Sudan's war. Libyan state television late on Monday reported the talks but gave no details. A Tripoli-based diplomat said Sadeq al-Mahdi was seeking coordination among Sudan's neighbours to find a way out of the country's political crisis. [Reuter]
New Libyan home page on the Internet: Omran al-Zentani's Home Page

3 December 1997: Libyan Oil Minister Aballa al-Badri said that Libya would increase output immediately to its new OPEC limit. OPEC members agreed on Saturday to raise their output ceiling for the first half of next year to 27.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from 25.033 million bpd. Under the deal, Libya's quota has increased to 1.52214 milion bpd from 1.39 million bpd. When asked if his country would be able to produce at the new level, the minister replied: ``We will go to it immediately.'' [Reuter]
3 December 1997: A key prosecution witness in the trial of five people charged over the 1986 bombing of a West Berlin night club took the court by surprise on Tuesday by saying it had put the wrong people on trial. Two Palestinians, a Libyan and two Germans, sitting behind bullet-proof glass, were accused in a Berlin court of carrying out the attack on orders from Libyan agents at the former Libyan embassy in East Berlin. Musbah Eter [pictured,] a former diplomat at the Libyan embassy in what was East Berlin, was the only one of the accused prepared to make a statement after prosecutors read the charges. In his capacity as witness for the prosecution, he withdrew statements he had previously made under investigation that had incriminated the four other accused. He further said the Libyan embassy had not ordered the attack. [Reuter]
3 December 1997: France confirmed on Tuesday that President Jacques Chirac sent a message to Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi recognising his help in the probe of a 1989 bombing of a French airliner blamed by Paris on Tripoli. French disclosure of the message came after Libyan television reported that Chirac had sent a message to al-Qadhafi expressing "France's willingness to improve the ties of friendship and cooperation which exist between our two nations.'' [Reuter]
3 December 1997: The United Nations is sending three legal experts to Britain on Tuesday to evaluate the legal system that would try two Libyans accused of blowing up a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, a U.N. spokesman said. Another team, headed by Vladimir Petrovsky, director-general of the U.N.'s European headquarters in Geneva, will go to Tripoli later this month to survey the impact of Security Council sanctions on Libya. U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said the request was made by the Libyan government and Petrovsky, who had visited the country previously, was chosen to lead a three-man mission. His departure date was not given. [Reuter]
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