Libya:
News and Views


December 1998


Thursday: 31 December, 1998: In a symbolic move, a Libyan prosecutor on Wednesday ordered the arrest of nine American officials allegedly behind the 1986 bombing of two Libyan cities, a news agency reported. Among those on the list is the late William Casey, the former director of the CIA, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported. Former President Reagan, who ordered the bombing, was not on the list, it said. The announcement came as Libya is maneuvering over American and British demands that two Libyan suspects be turned over for trial in the Netherlands for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet, which killed 270 people. MENA said the prosecutor, Mohammed Abdel-Wahab, announced the arrest orders at a news conference at the People's Court in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. In addition to Casey, Abdel-Wahab named a number of American pilots as well as former National Security Adviser John Poindexter and Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. The prosecutor said if Libya failed to secure their arrest, ``it will resort to (U.N.) Security Council to get the accused,'' MENA said. [AP]

Wednesday: 30 December, 1998: Libya vigorously supports Iraq in its dispute with the United States over no-fly zones, state radio said on Tuesday. ``Libya backs strongly brother Iraq in this fair stand,'' the radio, monitored in Tunis, quoted a Libyan foreign ministry statement as saying. ``This stand (Iraq's) goes in line with the requirements of Iraqi sovereignty and answers necessary obligations to face swaggering and arrogance in order to stop America and make it respect peoples around the world,'' the statement added. Baghdad says it does not recognise no-fly zones in the north and the south of the country because they were not created under the authority of the United Nations. Iraq vowed to fire at Western aircraft patrolling them. [Reuters]

Libyan Relief Fund: "http://www.multitasking.com/lrf/lrf/lrfpage.htm"


Tuesday: 29 December, 1998: Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni flew out of Libya after meeting Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Libyan radio said on Monday. The radio said Museveni left Tripoli airport on Monday after holding talks with al-Qadhafi over the ``necessary steps aimed at establishing peace and stability in the Great Lakes region.'' Museveni arrived in Libya on Saturday where Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had flown a day earlier. [Reuters]
Libyan Artist Hasan Dhaimish's Page

Sunday: 27 December, 1998: President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo flew to Libya for talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Libyan state radio said on Saturday. The two leaders held a lengthy meeting during which they reviewed developments in the Great Lakes region, the radio said. Libyan foreign minister Omar Mustafa al-Montasser and a delegation accompanying Kabila attended the meeting, it added. Earlier this week a Congolese rebel delegation, led by Chief Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, held talks with al-Qadhafi in Tripoli over the four-month-old war. [Reuters]
Thursday: 24 December, 1998: Today marks the 47th anniversary of Libya'sindependence. Libya achieved her independence on the 24th of December 1951. 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, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on 21 November 1949 granting Libya its independance no later than 1 January 1952. For more details, please click here

Wednesday: 23 December, 1998: Libya does not want to delay the trial of the two Lockerbie bombing suspects but only wants to ensure the ``honesty'' of the trial court, the Libyan foreign minister said Tuesday. Libya is also not worried about U.S. threats of more sanctions as a tool to get custody of the two Libyan suspects, Foreign Minister Omar al-Muntasser told reporters after meeting with Egypt's Foreign Minister Amr Moussa. Al-Muntasser arrived Monday in Cairo. ``We are sure of their innocence. Our sons have not done it, and there is no proof of that,'' al-Muntasser said. ``There is no procrastination on our part, and the only thing is that we want to be sure of the honesty of the court and the guarantees,'' al-Muntasser said, without elaborating. [AP]
Wednesday: 23 December, 1998: The leader of Congolese rebels fighting to oust President Laurent Kabila held talks Monday with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, the rebels' first such meeting with Kabila's major ally. A Congolese rebel representative traveling with Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, leader of the Congolese Democratic Coalition, said the two-hour meeting took place Monday in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, but he had no other details. Reports in the independent press in Chad say that al-Qadhafi is underwriting the cost of sending Chadian troops to northern Congo. At least 100 have been reported killed and an undetermined number taken prisoner by Ugandan troops. [ANC-Sapa-AP]

Tuesday: 22 December, 1998: Libya wants an international court to try two men accused of bombing Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said in a Dutch television interview broadcast Monday. ``An international court is the solution, with judges from America, Libya, England and other countries,'' al-Qadhafi said in the interview with NOS television recorded on December 11. Speaking at a desert camp in Libya, al-Qadhafi told current affairs program ``2Vandaag'' that the court must be truly independent. The Netherlands has said it is willing to host a trial before Scottish judges under Scottish law. ``Why shouldn't they appear before a Libyan judge? They are Libyan after all. Don't they (Britain and U.S.) trust Libyan judges? Well, Libya doesn't trust the other judges either. That's why a third party is necessary or an international court.'' [Reuters]
Tuesday: 22 December, 1998: Britain and the United States warned Libya Monday, the 10th anniversary of the bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that it would be targeted for further sanctions if it failed by next February to hand over two suspects in the case for trial. In statements during closed-door Security Council consultation and later in remarks to reporters, their U.N. envoys made clear that their patience was running out. ``In February the Security Council will hold its regularly scheduled review of Libya sanctions,'' American U.N. envoy Peter Burleigh told the council. ``If by that time the government of Libya has not handed over the suspects for trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands, we will seek additional measures to compel compliance,'' he said. Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock of Britain said, ``Our patience is not unlimited. We will ask the council to look again at this issue, when it next reviews the sanctions.'' [Reuters]
Tuesday: 22 December, 1998: Chad's President Idriss Deby flew to Libya on Monday despite a United Nations ban on air travel to Libya over the Lockerbie affair, Libyan state radio said. The radio, monitored in Tunis, said Deby would meet Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to discuss African affairs. Deby, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Mahamat Saleh Annadie, was welcomed at Tripoli airport by Col. Mustafa al-Kharrubi, it said. The flight -- Deby's third to Libya this year -- came on the 10th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 22 December, 1998: United States President Bill Clinton Monday said an offer to try two Pan Am bombing suspects in the Netherlands was a ``take it or leave it'' deal'' and threatened to seek tighter sanctions against Libya if the suspects are not turned over for trial by February. ``This is a take it or leave it offer,'' Clinton said during an Arlington Cemetery ceremony to remember the 270 lives lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, 10 years ago. ``We will not negotiate its terms. If the suspects are convicted, they will serve their time in Scotland. And if the suspects are not turned over by the time of the next sanctions review we will work at the United Nations with our allies and friends to seek yet stronger measures against Libya.'' [Reuters]
Monday: 21 December, 1998: A former Iranian intelligence official has said the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie was ordered and masterminded by Iran and not Libya, a prosecutor told German television on Sunday. ``According to source C [the former Iranian intellegence official,] those who carried out the attack were Libyans, but the ones who ordered and masterminded it were the mullahs (priests) in Iran,'' Tillmann said in a documentary, broadcast by Pro7 private channel. ``It was supposed to have been an act of revenge for the shooting down of a Persian plane over the Straits of Hormuz,'' he said. International investigators have accused Libya of being behind the attack. Tripoli has denied involvement. [Reuters]
Monday: 21 December, 1998: Relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing, arriving in the Scotland to prepare for the 10th anniversary of the disaster, fear the attacks on Iraq will delay the handing over of the two main suspects. On the night of 21 December 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 blew up in mid-air and the main piece of fuselage crashed into the town killing 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground. Two Libyans, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah and Abdel Baset al-Megrahi are wanted for trial in connection with the bombing. But Bert Ammerman, leader of US relatives group Terrorism Watch Pan Am Flight 103, said he believed the bombing of Iraq will hold up the handing over by Libya's leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [BBC]

http://members.xoom.com/Zetoona/LibyanMusic/mainII.htm

Sunday: 20 December, 1998: British entrepreneur Richard Branson, fighting a bout of illness, guided his giant hot-air balloon safely through Libyan airspace Saturday in pursuit of the elusive round-the-world record. The giant balloon, co-piloted by his American former arch rival Steve Fossett and Sweden's Per Lindstrand, left Libyan airspace at about 1700 GMT and headed out over the Mediterranean toward Cyprus. [Reuters]

Friday: 18 December, 1998: The magazine of the Association of Libyan Writers reports that over 60 cases of the aquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) have been reported in Libya this year alone. "LA" magazine, originated in the Libyan capital Tripoli, reports that Sulaiman al-Ghemari, Libyan Minister for Health, told "LA" in an interview that most of the cases are among Libyan children. "LA" magazine reports that the infected children's parents believe that their children were infected with the HIV virus through blood transfusion in Benghazi's main children hospital. For more details [in Arabic,] please click here
Excerpts from the fifth issue in this series of "On the Record" covering the Summit of Human Rights Defenders in Paris, December 8-11


Friday: 18 December, 1998: Somali's Faction leaders have left Somalia for a meeting in Libya following an invitation from Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The faction leader in north Mogadishu, Ali Mahdi, said his southern counterpart, Hussein Mohamed Aidid, would join him in Tripoli, as will the president of the recently established regional administration of Puntland. The meeting is aimed at resolving issues that will help towards the formation of a single admnistration for Mogadishu as agreed in Cairo a year ago. Libya has provided funds for this project, including the salaries of the capital's joint police force. [BBC]
Wednesday: 16 December, 1998: Libya's General People's Congress on Tuesday passed a 4.9 billion dinars ($10.9 billion) austerity budget for 1999, down from a forecast 5.311 billion dinars in 1998, as a slump in world oil prices took its toll. Libya's oil earnings in 1998 were put at 2.363 billion dinars, down 35 percent from a forecast 3.633 billion dinars as oil prices have dropped, currently hovering at near-record lows of about $10 a barrel for benchmark Brent crude oil futures.
The government has been cutting spending on investment projects by up to 80 percent except in the oil industry and some power generation programmes, Finance Minister Mohamed Beit al-Mal told the Congress, to limit the deficit to 650 million dinars in 1998. He listed several measures to lift income, including higher taxes and customs fees, and to cut foreign expenses. The budget was recommended in a resolution read at the end of an eight-day session broadcast live by Libyan television. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 16 December, 1998: A United States Appeals Court ruled on Tuesday that relatives of Americans killed in the Pan Am 103 explosion 10 years ago can continue their wrongful death suit against Libya and its agents. Libya had appealed a lower court decision in which the court refused to dismiss the civil case.
Libya argued that U.S. courts had no jurisdiction over the matter since Libya has immunity as a sovereign power. The Appeals Court judges ruled that a 1996 amendment to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act gives the U.S. courts jurisdiction over foreign states that have been designated as state sponsors of terrorism. Libya argued, among other things, that the amendment was unconstitutional. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 16 December, 1998: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday he was encouraged by reports that Libya's parliament was satisfied with plans for a trial of two Lockerbie bombing suspects in a neutral country. But Annan told reporters more details were needed and he was waiting to speak to Libya's U.N. ambassador, who is in Geneva. ``I think it is encouraging. I think it is in the right direction, But I won't say more until I have spoken to the ambassador,'' he said. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 16 December, 1998: The United States, losing patience with Libya over the Lockerbie bombing, Tuesday renewed a warning of tougher sanctions if Libya does not accept its plan for a trial and hand the two suspects over soon. ``We are not far from the end of the testing stage... Time is rapidly running out,'' State Department spokesman James Foley told a daily briefing. ``The United States has indicated ... that we would contemplate other actions and other measures if this reasonable offer were not accepted,'' he added. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 15 December, 1998: Libya's general People's Congress said Tuesday it was satisfied with a plan to try two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing in a neutral country. Libyan television, monitored in Tunis, said the congress had also called on the three parties involved in the case, Libya, Britain and the United States, to ``remove any obstacle'' preventing the trial going ahead as soon as possible.
A resolution of the Congress read live on Libyan television said: ``(The Congress) expresses its satisfaction with the agreement between the Libyan, British and American parties for the trial in a third country of the two suspects in the Lockerbie incident. It constitutes the fundamental basis to settle this issue. ``It (the Congress) demands to these parties (Libya, the U.S. and Britain) to work to remove any obstacle that prevents the two suspects standing trial before justice as soon as possible.'' [Reuters]
Tuesday: 15 December, 1998: The United States reiterated Tuesday that a trial of Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing must take place in the Netherlands and said it was time for Libya to ''meet its obligations'' in the case. ``Libya's clear obligation is to turn over the Lockerbie suspects to the (U.N.) Secretary General so they can be transported to the Netherlands for trial before a Scottish court,'' White House spokesman P.J. Crowley said. He was responding to reports that the Libyan People's Congress had apparently backed a plan to try two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing in a neutral country. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 15 December, 1998: Britain gave a cautious welcome on Tuesday to reports that the Libyan People's Congress had expressed suppport for a plan to try two Libyans wanted for the Lockerbie bombing in a neutral country. But Foreign Office officials and relatives of those who died when the Pan Am jet crashed on to the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988 warned that any handover of the two men could still be a long way off. ``If it is true, it is good news. But at the moment it is only a Libyan media report. We have to be circumspect unless and until we have a formal response,'' said a Foreign Office spokesman. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 15 December, 1998: Libya's current receipts in 1998 were put up to $6.0 billion, down from $9.95 billion in 1997 because of the 1998 slump in world oil prices, Libya's Central Bank Governor Taher al-Jehimi said on Tuesday. Oil earnings usually account for about 95 percent of Libya's current receipts. The receipts were lower than an earlier forecast of $6.9 billion, he told a meeting of the the Libyan General People's Congress in the coastal city oif Sirte. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 15 December, 1998: Libya on Tuesday reshuffled its cabinet, merging the Justice and Public Order ministries again and returning the (Pan-Arab) Unity Affairs to the foreign affairs ministry. Prime Minister Mohamed Ahmed al-Mangoush, Foreign Affairs Minister Omar Mustapha al-Montasser, and Energy Minister Abdullah Salem al-Badri were confirmed at their posts, Libyan television monitored in Tunis reported. Mohamed Belgasem al-Zwai who was Justice Minister became Minister of Justice and Public Order. Mohamed al-Higazi, who was Minister of Public Order, moves to the Culture Ministry. Jomaa al-Fazzani who was Unity Affairs Minister is appointed Minister of Culture. Agriculture Minister Ali ben Romadhan leaves the cabinet and was replaced by Ali Youssef Jomaa. Maatouq Mohamed Maatouq is named Minister of Education and Training.The reshuffle was announced at the end of an eight-day session of Libya's general people's Congress held in the coastal city of Sirte, some 400 km (250 miles) east of Tripoli. [Reuters]

Tuesday: 15 December, 1998: Libya's transport minister on Monday called for revenue from 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil output to be put in a fund to finance a multi-billion dollar, 3,170 km railway network project. ``To finance the (railway) project, we propose to set up a special fund that would receive the equivalent of 150,000 bpd of oil if the Congress agree on that,'' Communications and Transport Minister Ezzedin Mohamed al-Hinshiri told the Libyan Congress. The railway project, comprising 2,178 km of railway running east-west and 992 km running north-south is worth $5.891 billion in addition to 1.684 billion dinars, al-Hinshiri told Congress, in a debate broadcast live by Libyan state television monitored in Tunis. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 15 December, 1998: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan again expressed confidence on Monday that Libya would hand over the two men accused of the 1988 mid-air Lockerbie bombing despite few signs Tripoli had changed its position. ``My sense is that we are near a decision and I think they will move in the right direction,'' Annan told a news conference. ``My sense is that they have realised they have come to the end of the road. And I think they will move in the right direction,'' he said. [Reuters]

http://www.libyana.org/music/sabha/jibaha.ram

Tuesday: 15 December, 1998: Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Monday held talks with Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov on international issues and bilateral relations, Libyan television reported. ``I met Colonel Qadhafi and we discussed the situation in the world and particularly in the Arab world as well as means to boost the Libyan- Russian ties,'' Zyuganov told the Libyan General People's Congress (parliament) meeting in the coastal city of Sirte. ``We are working to lift the sanctions imposed on Iraq, Libya and Cuba. It is against morality that an entire population be kept under blockade,'' he added. [Reuters]
Sunday: 13 December, 1998: Libya decided to strengthen trade and economic cooperation with Egypt, Tunisia and African neighboring countries to develop strong relationships between Libya and these countries. This decision was made in discussions of the Libyan people's conference to establish a strategy for the internal and external work of Libya in the coming stage. Moreover the conference decided to deprive the anti-Libya countries as well as the countries supporting the British - American sanctions from making any investments inside Libya. [Arabicnews.com]

Friday: 11 December, 1998: Libya indicated Thursday that a decision on whether to hand over two suspects in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing should not be expected soon. The commentator of the official Libyan news agency JANA, who generally reflects Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's own views, dismissed reports that the General People's Congress currently in session could take a decision on surrendering the two suspects. [Reuters]
Friday: 11 December, 1998: The spokesman for relatives of British victims of the Lockerbie bombing, Dr Jim Swire, said Libya's permanent representative to the United Nations, Abouzaid Dorda, had rung him on Thursday and he said he was confident the two prime suspects would be handed over by the Libyan leader, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, "within the next few weeks". Earlier Dr Swire, whose daughter Flora died at Lockerbie, said the pair - Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Lamen Fhimah - were only "two small minnows in a very big pond". [BBC]
Friday: 11 December, 1998: The pilot of an Egyptian charter plane which landed on the Tunisian island of Djerba on Wednesday after reportedly being hijacked said there had been a dispute with the passengers, but no violence. He said the passengers, who were from Yemen, had been demanding that they be taken to Libya. The pilot refused, saying it would contravene the United Nations ban on flights into Libya. He eventually flew them back to Yemen. Some observers said the incident might have been a Libyan-backed stunt to draw attention to the issue of sanctions. One report said the flight had been booked by the Libyan embassy in Beirut. [BBC]
Friday: 11 December, 1998: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should cut a further 2.0 million barrels per day to rescue low oil prices, Libyan Energy Minister Abdullah al-Badri told the Libyan Congress on Thursday. ``I call (on OPEC members) to move quickly because the situation is becoming very dangerous and might lead to social problems in these countries,'' al-Badri said in an intervention broadcast transmitted live by the Libyan state-television monitored in Tunis. The ``oil price cannot increase if OPEC members do not cut their output,'' he added, recalling that some members were asking for compliance by some other countries with their quotas. [Reuters]
Friday: 11 December, 1998: United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ruled out on Thursday any negotiations with Libya over a British-American proposal to try two Libyan suspects accused of bombing Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. ``We are still waiting for Colonel Qadhafi to accept what we think is a very good plan for there to be a trial in the Netherlands with a Scottish court and Scottish laws and that there should be no question at all that if these people are found guilty that they will serve their term in Scotland,'' she told reporters. [Reuters]
Thursday: 10 December, 1998: Representatives of families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing are due to meet the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on Thursday. The meeting comes less than two weeks before the 10th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, which killed 270 people. Meanwhile, after a debate lasting two days, the Libyan parliament announced it could not decide whether to hand over two men suspected of being behind the attack. [BBC]
Thursday: 10 December, 1998: South African President Nelson Mandela predicted on Tuesday that a solution may be in sight to the impasse between Libya, the United States and Britain over the trial of two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie plane bombing. Mandela addressed a press conference in Abu Dhabi, where he spoke at the opening session of the annual summit of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
He said he had spoken in the last few days to US President Bill Clinton and to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and planned to speak to Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi once he returned home. "Things are moving in a satisfactory manner," Mandela said. He said Britain had agreed to remove the problem created by the lack of Libyan diplomatic representation in London by permitting the establishment of a Libyan office in Scotland, where the two suspects will serve their sentences if they are convicted at a trial set to take place in Holland. [ANC-SAPA]
Thursday: 10 December, 1998: An Egyptian aircraft has returned to Yemen after passengers tried to divert it to Libya in defiance of UN sanctions. Passengers became angry after they realised the chartered flight from Yemen was not going to break the United Nations air embargo by re-routing to Tripoli. When the pilot landed on the Tunisian island of Djerba, they staged a sit-in saying they had booked flights to Libya. About 150 passengers were on board the plane, but it is unclear how many were involved in the attempted divertion. Civil aviation authorities denied earlier reports that passengers had hijacked the plane to force it to fly to Libya, saying the matter was a dispute between passengers and an air charter company. A statement from the Tunsian civil aviation authorities said: "They used as a pretext that their (flight) chartering contract was for Tripoli, and refused to disembark at Djerba." [BBC]
Thursday: 10 December, 1998: A chartered Egyptian plane which was diverted on Wednesday to Djerba in Tunisia after some of its passengers demanded to land in Libya, finally headed back to the flight's starting point in Yemen, Cairo airport officials said. In Yemen, Sanaa airport officials said the plane was carrying about 120 Yemeni opposition officials and activists and that it was heading for Cairo. They said the activists intended to proceed by land to Libya's city of Sirte, where the country's top legislative body, the General People's Congress, was holding a meeting. Tunisian civil aviation authorities said that it was not, as some news reports had implied, a hijacking, but ``a dispute between passengers who hired the plane and the concerned airline company.'' [Reuters]
Thursday: 10 December, 1998: Libya, hit by a slump in oil prices, has devalued its currency by 18 percent and limited spending in its 1999 budget to the ``strict minimum.'' ``There was a big fall in oil earnings of about 35 percent in 1998. We expect lower earnings next year,'' Finance Minister Mohamed Beit al-Mal told the Libyan General People's Congress. ``The (1999) budget had been set in a way that expenditures be balanced by expected resources, without a deficit and without using the country's reserves in foreign currency,'' he added at the parliament's budget debate, which was broadcast by Libyan state television monitored in Tunis. ``Expenditures had been set to the strict minimum,'' he added. [Reuters]
Thursday: 10 December, 1998: Libya's justice minister said a Libyan legal team intended to hold a new round of talks with the United Nations legal counsel for additional clarification on a trial in the Netherlands of two suspects in the 1988 bombing of a U.S. airliner. ''Preparations are going on for a new round of talks between the Libyan legal team and the U.N. counsel aimed at clarifications so that the trial would be fair and honest without the interference of any ambiguity or hidden intentions,'' Mohamed Belgasem al-Zwai told the Libyan Congress. [Reuters]

The 5th anniversary of Mansour al-Kikhia's disappearance

Wednesday: 9 December, 1998: Libya's revenues from oil, the country's economic lifeline, have significantly worsened in 1998 because of a slump in world prices, Libya's central bank Governor said on Tuesday. ``The year 1998 was difficult ... Unfortunately, our oil revenues had well, well worsened and they might not be better next year,'' Tahar al-Jehimi told the Libyan General People's Congress. Al- Jehimi said that to avoid a deficit in the country's external payments, the government needed to discontinue a policy which enabled Libyan families to recieve a $500 touristic allowance when they travel abroad. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 9 December, 1998: Libya is close to handing over the two Lockerbie suspects for trial, say relatives of Lockerbie bombing victims in Britain. Spokesman Jim Swire said: "I don't know when it's going to happen, but I am convinced that it's going to happen and within weeks." He was speaking ahead of a meeting of the Libyan parliament, the General People's Congress, which could finally approve a deal to hand over the suspects. The move follows a "positive and fruitful" meeting between the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi [pictured] at the weekend. [BBC]
Wednesday: 9 December, 1998: Libya's General People's Congress, the top legislative and executive body that will formally endorse any decision on the Lockerbie issue, Tuesday began a meeting expected to last several days. As Libyan state television, monitored in Tunis, broadcast live debates at the opening session in Sirte, 400 km (250 miles) east of Tripoli, Libyan lawyers launched a fund-raising campaign for the defense of two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie case. Congress Chairman Zenati Mohamed Zenati announced that the assembly had decided to invite Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to attend the meeting, but he did not show up for the morning session. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 9 December, 1998: The Netherlands on Tuesday pressed ahead with work to prepare a swatch of British soil on Dutch territory for the anticipated trial of two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland 10 years ago. The Dutch chose the windswept military base of Camp Zeist, 10 km (six miles) from the central city of Utrecht, as the venue for the unique trial, which will be conducted under Scottish law on British soil. A special Anglo-Dutch treaty signed in August permits the transfer of the land. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 9 December, 1998: Libya told the United Nations in a report circulated on Monday that it had lost some $23.6 billion up to the end of last year as a result of sanctions imposed since 1992 in connection with the Lockerbie airliner bombing. ``The financial losses sustained since the sanctions were imposed on April 15, 1992 continue to mount,'' the 21-page Libyan report said. ``As at December 31, 1997, they came to roughly $23,641,923,728,'' it added. The report contained details of what Libya said was ``the enormous damage caused to the Libyan people in terms of human and material losses in the most affected sectors,'' such as health, agriculture, animal husbandry, transport, industry, the economy and energy. [Reuters]
Ideology and Power in Libyan Foreign Policy with Reference to Libyan-American Relations

Monday: 7 December, 1998: Libya Sunday poured cold water over Western hopes for a handover of the Lockerbie suspects before the 10th anniversary of the bombing of an American airliner over Scotland on 21 December, 1988. ``The Lockerbie problem is an invented and complicated one and it is not logical and reasonable to solve it under the pressure of what is called the 10th anniversary of the Pan Am accident,'' wrote the diplomatic editor of the official news agency JANA. The editor, whose comments generally reflect the views of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, played down the significance of Saturday's meeting between al-Qadhafi and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. ``Kofi Annan did not hold talks with the brother leader of the revolution. He merely went to see him where he was in the Libyan desert, to salute him and greet him on his recovery,'' he said. [Reuters]
Monday: 7 December, 1998: A Libyan official said Sunday he expected a lengthy parliamentary debate on the possible handover of two suspects in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing following U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's intervention in the dispute. ``Normally a debate in the General People's Congress takes three to 10 days, depending on what foreign or domestic issues are on the agenda,'' said the official. ``Sometimes it takes 10 days of debate and when they finish we take a final decision.'' Even after congress approval, any surrender of the two men would require unspecified ``arrangements,'' he said. [Reuters]
Monday: 7 December, 1998: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Sunday he believed the long-running dispute over the trial of suspects in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet over Scotland was well on the way to being settled. A U.N. statement issued in Abu Dhabi, after Annan's arrival here to address a Gulf Arab summit Monday, said he had spoken to United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright from the plane on his way to the capital of the United Arab Emirates. ``...The secretary-general shared with the Secretary of state the nature of his talks with the Libyans. He stated that he had 'fruitful and positive discussions' with the Libyans,'' said the statement, sent to Reuters. ``We are well on the way to resolving the problem,'' the statement quoted Annan as saying. ``The secretary-general stated that the Libyans have their own way of consulting with their reality and that they would determine how to consult their people for a decision on the Lockerbie issue and the way to announce it,'' the statement said. [Reuters]
Monday: 7 December, 1998: British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said Sunday he felt ``qualified optimism'' about the result of U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan's efforts to get Libya to hand over suspects in the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing. Cook told BBC television he had spoken to Annan after the latter's talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. ``I think I am very encouraged by what he tells me. Neither of us is going to predict what Colonel Qadhafi is going to do, but I think you can sum up our mood as one of qualified optimism. Kofi has been successful in getting across the message that we are serious about this trial. There is no hidden agenda.'' Cook said he hoped very much the two suspects would be handed over for trial in the Netherlands before the 10th anniversary of the bombing of the Pan Am airliner on December 21. [Reuters]
Sunday: 6 December, 1998: Libyan state radio reported that the General People's Congress, the country's top legislative and executive body that is to formally endorse any decision on the Lockerbie issue, had been summoned for Tuesday. The radio did not mention Lockerbie and only said the Congress session would be held in the coastal town of Sirte, some 400 km (250 miles) east of Tripoli. The official Libyan news agency JANA said on Friday any decision on the Lockerbie affair was to be formally taken by the Congress and not by al-Qadhafi. [Reuters]
Sunday: 6 December, 1998: United Nations Secretary- General Kofi Annan has returned to Tripoli after meeting Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, saying their talks had been "fruitful and positive" but did not say whether there had been a breakthrough that might lead to the trial of two Libyans suspected of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing. UN officials in New York said that Mr Annan had gone to meet the Libyan leader at an unknown desert location. On his return to Tripoli Mr Annan said: "Libya has confirmed its seriousness and readiness to find a solution to the Lockerbie problem." [BBC]
Sunday: 6 December, 1998: The United States on Saturday expressed disappointment that Libya had not agreed to a definitive arrangement for the handover of two suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. ``We are disappointed that Libya is still not in compliance with the Security Council resolutions. ''Compliance means turnover of the two suspects for trial," State Department spokesman James Foley said after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan met with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [Reuters]
Saturday: 5 December, 1998: Libya warned Friday that its leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi would not be able to sign a deal to extradite two Libyans suspected of the Lockerbie bombing when he meets United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan Saturday.
"Those who believe that Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi might sign an agreement with the United Nations secretary general or anyone else ignore totally (the nature) of the people's power in Libya,'' the diplomatic editor of the official Libyan news agency JANA wrote. The only body able to decide on foreign or internal policy matters was the Libyan people through its "popular committees.'' JANA said.
This comment suggested any decision on the suspects had to be formally approved by some 500 grassroots committees made up of al-Qadhafi's followers all around the country, before being approved by the General People's Congress, or parliament. [Reuters]
Saturday: 5 December, 1998: The United States dismissed a statement from Libya on Friday that its leader, Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, did not have authority to reach agreement to extradite two Libyans suspected of the Lockerbie bombing. ``I think that it would surprise most observers if it were alleged that Mr Qadhafi did not wield decision-making authority in Libya,'' U.S. State Department spokesman James Foley told a news conference. [Reuters]
Saturday: 5 December, 1998: If Libya decides to surrender the two men accused of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, the United Nations has made arrangements to fly them to the Netherlands within 24 hours, diplomats said Friday. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who plans to go to Libya Saturday, will not be transporting the two suspects in his plane. Instead an aircraft is waiting in Italy ready to fly to Tripoli and bring the two to the Netherlands, the envoys said. [Reuters]
Saturday: 5 December, 1998: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan may have received assurances from Libya for a deal that would set in train the trial of two Libyan suspects in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, a senior North African diplomat said Friday. Annan said Thursday he would go to Libya Saturday for talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on the surrender of the two suspects. ``I am going to try to settle this problem once and for all,'' Annan told reporters after meeting Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who met al-Qadhafi on the Lockerbie issue in October. ``I have the impression that he has got some assurances from the Libyans,'' the diplomat told Reuters. [Reuters]
Saturday: 5 December, 1998: The charred remains of an umbrella, baby clothing and an imitation Harris Tweed jacket were vital clues that led British and U.S. investigators to accuse two Libyans of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. The mismatched articles are now known to have been bought in Malta 10 years ago and placed in a copper-brown Samsonite suitcase containing the bomb that blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland in December 1988, killing 270 people. Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who sold the umbrella, the baby's clothing and the jacket, identified Megrahi as one of the purchasers of the items. He particularly remembered the sale because of the customer's complete unconcern about quality, style, fit or even price. But Gauci had earlier identified the customer as Abu Talb, one of a group of Palestinian guerrillas, several of whom were arrested in Germany after the Lockerbie bombing then released. [Reuters]

Friday: 4 December, 1998: A senior United States official said on Thursday Washington hoped the meetings United Nations Secretary- General Kofi Annan will hold in Libya would result in a handover of the two suspects in the 1988 airliner bombing over Scotland. But Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, speaking for the United States mission to the United Nations, said she did not know what the outcome of Annan's session with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi would be and how firm his assurances were from Tripoli. ``We would expect a meeting between the secretary-general and Libyan officials to produce a handover of the suspects,'' Soderberg said. [Reuters]
Friday: 4 December, 1998: Britain on Thursday welcomed United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's announcement that he would visit Libya to discuss the handover of two men suspected of the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing. But it made clear that a United States-British plan to try the Libyan suspects before a special court of Scottish judges in the Netherlands was non-negotiable. ``Naturally we welcome efforts to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution (on handing
over the suspects). We hope the secretary-general can persuade al-Qadhafi to reply promptly so justice can be done,'' said a Foreign Office spokesman. [Reuters]
Friday: 4 December, 1998: Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore flew to Libya and met Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi despite a U.N. air ban on flights to and from Libya over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Libyan television said on Thursday. The state-run television, monitored in Tunis, said Compaore flew to the coastal town of Sirte, some 450 km (280 miles) east of Tripoli. It showed pictures of Compaore meeting al-Qadhafi at the Libyan leader's residence. [Reuters]

Thursday: 3 December, 1998: In an apparent change of heart, Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has said two Libyans suspected of the Lockerbie bombing cannot go on trial as things stand. In a speech broadcast on Libyan television, Colonel al-Qadhafi accused the United States and Britain of imposing preconditions. He did not specify his objections, but said the conditions had to be lifted before any trial of the two Libyans - Abdel Baset al-Megerhi and Lameen Fhaimah. [BBC ]
Thursday: 3 December, 1998: Britain, which is seeking to persuade Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to hand over two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing, has promised Tripoli unrestricted consular access to them if they are jailed in Scotland. A Foreign Office spokesman told journalists on Wednesday that the promise was relayed a few days ago through U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said he may visit Libya this weekend. The spokesman said London would not move on the principle that the men had to serve their sentences in Scotland but had furnished clarifications in response to Libyan questions. [Reuters]
Thursday: 3 December, 1998:United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is close to a deal with Tripoli for it to surrender two suspects for trial over the Lockerbie bombing and may visit Libya at the weekend, diplomats said Wednesday. Annan told a news conference before leaving Algiers for Tunis Wednesday: ``I'm in contact with the authorities of Tripoli and it may happen that I go there on a visit after visiting Tunis.'' He added that the U.N. Security Council had asked him to ''arrange with the Libyan government the departure of the two suspects to the Hague'' in the Netherlands. [Reuters]
Thursday: 3 December, 1998: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is likely to visit Libya Saturday to obtain the surrender of two men indicted for the 1988 mid-air bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, diplomats said Wednesday. They said he had asked the Security Council's sanctions committee on Libya for permission to make a return trip from Djerba, a resort in eastern Tunisia, to Tripoli or Sirte. Sirte is a coastal town, some 280 miles (450 km) east of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, and diplomats were fairly confident he would meet Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi there. No one expects any objections to Annan's request for an exception to a U.N. flight embargo over Libya. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 2 December, 1998: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will meet Libyan officials on Saturday for talks expected to focus on handing over two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing, U.N. sources said on Tuesday. U.N. officials accompanying Annan said they did not know if he would meet Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Annan will fly to Egypt from where he will travel to the Libyan-Egyptian border to meet the Libyans, they said, without specifying a travel timetable. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 2 December, 1998: British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said in remarks published on Tuesday that Libya must comply promptly with an offer for the two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing to stand trial under Scottish law in the Netherlands. ``Since launching the UK, U.S. initiative on Lockerbie on 24 August, we have done everything possible to move this issue forward, including the necessary changes to Scots law to allow a Scottish court to sit in the Netherlands,'' Cook said.
``The Libyans have asked a number of clarifications on our proposal, and we have provided comprehensive answers. These answers show that we have no hidden agenda and that what we have proposed is fair and workable,'' he said in an interview with al-Ittihad newspaper of the United Arab Emirates. [Reuters]

Tuesday: 1 December, 1998: A Libyan lawyers' union has created a fund to help pay for the defense of two Libyans charged in the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. Mohammed al-Ellagi, head of the Libyan Lawyers' Union, was quoted as saying that a number of Arab lawyers have volunteered their expertise or pledged money to help defend the suspects, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrhi and Lameen Khalifa Fhaimah. Al-Ellagi did not say how much money the union hoped to collect. The union is licensed by the Libyan government. Libya has accepted in principle a joint U.S.-British offer to try the Libyans in the Netherlands under Scottish law and with Scottish judges. [Spokane.net]
Tuesday: 1 December, 1998: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said the United States and Britain must drop their conditions if they want a trial of two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing take place in the Netherlands, the official Libyan news agency JANA reported Monday. "We challenge America and Britain not to set conditions which are bound to be firmly rejected, for holding that (Lockerbie) trial and if they wanted it be held and solve this issue,'' the agency, monitored in Tunis, quoted al-Qadhafi as saying. Al-Qadhafi, who was talking at a banquet in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte, some 280 miles east of Tripoli, in honor of visiting Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, did not say to which U.S. and British conditions he was referring to. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 1 December, 1998: Democratic Republic of the Congo President Laurent Kabila flew out of Libya on Monday after talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on the conflict in the Congo, Libyan television reported. The report came a day after rebels in the Congo said they were sceptical of a ceasefire deal worked out in their absence at last week's Franco-African summit in Paris and would fight on. Kabila left the Libyan coastal town of Sirte aboard a Congolese plane after a one day stop on his way back from Paris. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 1 December, 1998: Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the [American] Nation of Islam, met with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Sunday and congratulated him on his recovery from a hip injury, state-run Libyan radio reported. Improved health will enable al-Qadhafi to "carry on his leading role in the service of Islamic causes in the world," Farrakhan was quoted as saying by the radio, monitored by the BBC. Later, state-run television showed al-Qadhafi -- dressed in a brown robe and holding a cane -- meeting Farrakhan at his ceremonial tent in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The broadcast was monitored in Cairo. [AP]
Tuesday: 1 December, 1998: Djibouti's President Hassan Aptidon has flown to Libya and met Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi despite a United Nations ban on flights to and from Libya over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Libyan state-run television, monitored in Tunis, said the Djibouti leader flew on Monday to the Libyan coastal town of Sirte, some 450 km (280 miles) east of Tripoli, where he met the Libyan leader. It said the flight was in accordance with a resolution by African countries to ignore the U.N. flight ban on Libya. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) decided in June to authorise flights there for humanitarian, religious or diplomatic missions. [Reuters]

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