News and Views

February 1997

28 February 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar alGadhafi said a meeting of African ministers in Tripoli was a defeat for the United States and Britain who were intent on isolating Libya. "Who is isolated now? America was telling the world that Libya was isolated." A jubilant Gadhafi told some 40 ministers from Africa at a banquet in Bab al-Aziziyah battacks in Tripoli. Ministers and officials from 52 African countries travelled this week to Libya by road for an Organisation of African Unity council meeting in Tripoli because of an air embargo imposed since 1992 by the United Nations over the Lockerbie bombing. The OAU said the meeting in Tripoli was a show of solidarity with the people of Libya. "Our meeting here, in Tripoli, is of particular significance. It is an expression of our solidarity with the people of Libya at a time when they're confronted with adversity as a result of the imposition of sanctions," OAU Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim said at the opening session of the three-day council on Wednesday. (Reuters)
27 February 1997: The Organization for African Unity Foreign Ministers arrived in Tunis where they planned to fly to Tripoli to attend the OAU convention in Tripoli, instead Libya asked them to drive from Jerba to Tripoli, a trip that takes 11 hours. Libya wanted to show the African ministers that the Libyans suffer a lot from the United Nations sanctions imposed on her since April 1992. The UN sanctions ban flying from and to Libya (al-Sharq al-Awsat - 27 Feb 97.) For more details (in Arabic) please click here
27 February 1997: Libyan Radio reported that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi paid a visit to the embassy of the People's Republic of China in Tripoli yesterday to offer his condolences and the condolences of the Libyan Arab people to the friendly Chinese people, following the death of China's leader, Deng Xiaoping. Al-Gadhafi wrote the following message in the book of condolences at the Chinese embassy: "I present my heartfelt condolences, on behalf of the Libyan Arab people, to the friendly Chinese people, following the death of their great leader, comrade Deng Xiaoping, who modernized socialism in China and who was loyal to Mao Zedong's principles."
27 February 1997: Libyan Radio reported that vice-chairman of the Foreign Trade Committee in North Korea, who is currently visiting Libya, attended a joint meeting which was attended by a number of experts and specialists from both countries. The two sides discussed and reviewed bilateral relations and ways to develop and bolster them in various areas, in the interest of the two friendly countries.
27 February 1997: The Libyan news agency JANA reported that Dr Tahir al-Juhayni governor of Libya's Central Bank received in Tripoli Dr Jim Moody, vice-chairman of the board of directors of the International Fund for Agricultural Development [IFAD], who is visiting Libya these days. Aspects of cooperation between Libya's Central Bank and IFAD were examined and discussed during the meeting.
26 February 1997: Libyan leader Col Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi has denied in an interview with Lebanese television MTV [broadcast by Libyan TV] that Libya possesses chemical weapons and has invited foreign experts to come and verify this for themselves. He reiterated Libya's denial of involvement in the Lockerbie incident. He said Western powers knew Libya was not involved but was using it as a scapegoat. On the subject of Lebanon, he said Lebanese sectarian conflict could be avoided if all Lebanese were Muslim, as all Arabs should be. Referring to the disappearance of Lebanese Shi'i Imam Musa al-Sadr following his arrival in Libya on a visit in 1982, al-Gadhafi said al-Sadr had left for Rome and disappeared there. He called for the setting up of a commission to investigate the imam's disappearance and guaranteed its members' safety and access to information. To view a complete text of the interview, please click here
25 February 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi addressed via satellite Sunday the convention of "Nation of Islam" which was held in Chicago, the United States. Last year Nation of Islam leader Louis Farakan said that al-Gadhafi offered his movement one billion dollar but al-Gadhafi said that if he had one billion dollar to give away he would given it to the Libyan people instead. (al-Sharq al-Awsat - 25 Feb 1997)
24 February 1997: The Organization for African Unity starts its convention in the Libyan capital Tripoli today. The OAU Secretary-General Salem Ahmed Salem arrived in Tripoli to participate in the meeting which will end 28th February. The OAU meeting will discuss among other matters the sanctions imposed on Libya by the United Nations since April 1992. (al-Sharq al-Awsat - 24 February 1997.)
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
24 February 1997: Some time ago a Libyan viewer suggested that the Constitution of Libya, prepared by the Libyan National Assembly in 1951, should be published in its entirety. To view the Constitution of Libya [1951 - 1969] please click here
22 February 1997: British Prime Minister John Major said on Thursday he wanted to see two Libyans suspected of planting the Lockerbie airliner bomb tried in Scotland or the United States. Libya said repeatedly that it wanted the two Libyans tried in a neutral country. (Reuters)
21 February 1997: The Vatican on Thursday said it is negotiating to establish diplomatic relations with Libya. Libyan leader Mu'mmar al-Gadhafi was quoted as saying ties were imminent. A Vatican spokesman, Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said the talks were going "fruitfully.'' He did not specify when an accord might be reached but said the announcement would be made simultaneously by Libya and the Holy See. "Yes, it's true,'' Gadhafi said, when asked by the Italian newsweekly Panorama if Libya was about to establish diplomatic ties with the Vatican. (AP)
21 February 1997: International Petroleum Corporation announced that the drilling of Red Sea Oil Corporation's first well on Block NC177, onshore Libya is continuing and has currently reached a depth of 250 Meters. Targeted depth is approximately 3,000 Meters. The A1-NC177 is testing the Farah East prospect, one of the three prospects at the Paleocene-Beda level. Together, these prospects contain potential recoverable reserves of up to 494 million barrels of oil. The operator of the block to the east of Block NC177 has drilled five discovery wells in the last three years, two of which are within 5 kilometres of Block NC177. All five of the discovery wells were successfully tested at the Paleocene level and are geologically on trend with the Farah prospects. (UPI-Yahoo/Bus-Wire)
17 February 1997: In her meeting with Italian leaders in Rome Sunday, the United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright failed to convince the Italians that they must stop trading with Libya. Italy is Libya's largest trading partner and buys about 42 percent of its oil from Libya and Iran. Albright, picking up where predecessor Warren Christopher left off, is trying to organize a Western trade boycott against Libya and Iran. (AP and UPI)
16 February 1997: Libyan diplomatic sources told al-Ittihad newspaper that Libya will see major changes next month. The Libyan General People's Congress [Mu'tamar al-Shaab al-Aam] will convene in March and Libyan sources say that it might decide giving more power to Libyan institutions. Abdussalam Jaloud who has been out of the political arena for the last four years might be given some powers and play some rule in changing the political system in Libya. For more details (in Arabic) please click here
16 February 1997: The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi he hopes they will cooperate to settle the disputes between Libya and the UN, Egypt's official news agency, Middle East News Agency, says Saturday. Annan sent a telegram to al-Gadhafi, saying he hopes the Libyan government and the United Nations will "cooperate more'' in the future, MENA reports without furnishing further details of the telegram. (UPI)
14 February 1997: A United Nations approved plan for Egypt to fly thousands of Libyan pilgrims to the Muslim holy cities in Saudi Arabia is unacceptable, the Libyan news agency JANA said Thursday. Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi, defied the ban in 1995 and 1996, sending a plane each year carrying some Libyans to the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Muslims are obliged to make the pilgrimage, or hajj, at least once in a lifetime if they can afford it. Both years, Egypt stepped in and flew the rest of the pilgrims as a compromise. The United Nations granted Egypt Air approval last week to fly Libyans on this year's pilgrimage, which begins in April. But Libya's official news agency, JANA, declared that the United Nations had no right to do so. "Pilgrimage under license from the Security Council is unacceptable because this issue touches the heart of the Muslim faith and is not a political issue,'' it said. The agency, which usually reflects government thinking, did not explicitly say that Egypt Air would be barred.
(AP and al-Sharq al-Awsat) For more details (in Arabic) please click here
14 February 1997: The Organisation for African Unity Foreign ministers will meet in Libya [24 February to 28 February]. Ibrahim Daghsh, the OAU spokesman told the Arab newspaper al-Ittihad that the OAU is supporting Libya in its struggle against the United Nations sanctions imposed since April 1992. The OAU early this month asked the United Nations to end the sanctions imposed on Libya siting that the sanctions are hurting the Libyan people. For more details (in Arabic) please click here (1) and click here (2)
14 February 1997: Responding to the Lebanese Shia leader Nabeeh Barri attack on Libyan leader Mu'mmar al-Gadhafi and accusing him of killing Shia leader Mousa al-Sadr, Libyan officials said that Nabih Barri was the one who killed Mousa al-Sadr so he [Barri] can replace him as a leader of the Libanese Shia. (al-Sharq al-Awsat)
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
12 February 1997: The United Nations gave Egypt Air permission to fly from Tripoli and Benghazi next Month. Egypt Air will carry 11 thousand Libyan pilgrims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The UN banned flying to and from Libya for the last five years accusing two Libyans of masterminding the Pan Am flight explosion over Lockerbie, Scottland in December 1988. Libya suggested trying the two suspected Libyans in a neutral country but the United States and Britain refused the offer. (France Press and al-Sharq al-Awsat)
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
11 February 1997: Libyan sources reported that number of historical landmarks in the Libyan capital Tripoli are slated and some have been demolished. These buildings include the old Foreign Ministery Building, the Central Bank of Libya Building, Masraf Al-Umma Building and the old Parliment Building near Algeir's Square [Maidan al-Jaza'er] among others. Other buildings have been demolished in Tajoura.
10 February 1997: The Organization for African Unity asked the United Nations to end the sanctions imposed on Libya. The OAU Cameronian president said that the sanctions are hurting the Libyan people and it is about time that the concerned parties try the two suspected Libyans in a neutral country and end the the sanctions which have been imposed on Libya since April 1992. (al-Ittihad) For more details (in Arabic) please click here
10 February 1997: Responding to the United States State Department's annual human rights report which concluded that Libya commit serious human rights abuses, the Libyan government said that the United States is accusing all countries that disagree with its policies of human rights abuses. (al-Ittihad) For more details (in Arabic) please click here
8 February 1997: German prosecuters announced Friday that Libya ordered the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco that killed two American soldiers and a Turkish woman. Berlin prosecutor Detlev Mehlis said one of the suspects, a Libyan, has confessed and will testify against the other four. The other four suspects -- two German sisters and two other former employees of the Libyan Embassy in then-East Berlin -- are in custody. Two Germans -- Verena Chanaa and her ex-husband, Ali Chanaa -- and a Palestinian, Yassir Chraidi, were charged with three counts of murder and nine counts of attempted murder, as well as causing a fatal blast. (AP and al-Sharq al-Awsat)
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
8 February 1997: Libya is celebrating Eid al-Fitr al-Mubarak today marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. I wish you Eid Mubarak and Kullo 'amin wa 'antom bikhir.
7 February 1997: Libya sent a letter signed by Abdul'ati al-Obaidi to British foreign ministery complaining about the existence of Libyan political organizations opposing Mu'ammar al-Ghadafi's regime in Britain. The militant Fighting Islamic Group [al-Jam'a al-Islamiya al-Mokatila-Libya] announced in Arabic newspapers in Britain its responsibiliy on the Libyan leader assassination attempt late November 1996. (al-Sharq al-Awsat)
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
7 February 1997: Libya and Kynya may negotiate a peacefull end to the war in Sudan. Sudan and neighbouring countries are in war that if continued might end in dividing Sudan and threaten its unity. Sudanese officials visited Libya to discuss the problem with Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi and Mustafa al-Kharroubi. (al-Sharq al-Awsat)
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
6 February 1997: Mauritanian authorities freed the leader of al-Amal min ajl al-Taghyeer party. The party leader was arrested after accusing him of being an agent for the Libyan government. He denied the charges. (al-Sharq al-Awsat)
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
6 February 1997: Lebanese Shia leader Nabeeh Barri attacked Libyan leader Mu'mmar al-Gadhafi and accused him of killing Shia leader Mousa al-Sadr. Libya offered to participate in a Libyan-Lebanese committee to solve Mousa al-Sadr's disappearance but the Lebanese refused the offer. (al-Sharq al-Awsat)
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
6 February 1997: Algeria's Islamic Salvation Front says it had asked Libya and other nations to mediate a settlement of its five-year insurgency. Some 50,000 people have been killed in the concflict. A spokesman for the front tells United Press International they "will not hesitate to enlist anybody's efforts to mediate in the crisis. He said the decision to involve Libya in a second mediation proposal resulted from "the good relations it has with Algeria.'' Libya's leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, offered last month to mediate the conflict. But President Liamine Zeroual brushed off that and similar offers from European leaders. He called them "foreign interference (in Algeria's) internal affairs.'' The FIS had been poised to win the second round of elections and ruling power in 1992. The balloting was canceled by the military and the FIS outlawed. (UPI)
4 February 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi calls President Clinton a ''decent, peace-loving guy" and says he wants to meet the American leader. In an interview Sunday night with a Lebanese television station, Gadhafi also denied Libya's involvement in the 1988 bombing of a Pan American jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. He said the United States was trying to force Libya into submission through the Lockerbie case and "the West knows who is behind it.'' He described Clinton as ``a good decent guy who is not aggressive, loves peace and has no black record with us like Ronald Reagan and George Bush.'' Al-Gadhafi told Lebanon's Murr television he was ready to meet Clinton, but doubted the president would accept his invitation. The United States views Libya as a nation that harbors terrorists and sponsors terrorism. He said in the interview, "If the imperialist circles allow him, let him come. And if he is ready to invite me'' to the United States, "I am ready to go.'' "But Clinton cannot do much because he is controlled by dangerous nightmares like the CIA, the National Security Council and the Jewish lobby.'' The United States severed diplomatic ties with Libya in 1981. Five years later, it froze Libyan assets in U.S. banks after accusing al-Gadhafi of backing international terrorism. The United Nations has been enforcing severe economic sanctions against Libya since 1992 because of its refusal to surrender two Libyans named by U.S. and British investigators as responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. (UPI)
4 February 1997: Libyan Arab Airlines will start its flights from Libya to Arab airports very soon. The first flight will be to Cairo, Egypt. Libya decided to let its jets fly from and to Libya in 18 Jan 1997 despite warnings from the UN and the United States government not to do so. (Al-Ittihad) For more details (in Arabic) please click here
3 February 1997: A prominant figure in "Jama'at Al-Iquan al-Moslimeen - Libya" said in an interview that his group is against using violence to change the Libyan regime. He also said that using violence will lead to making Libya another Algeria. These statements triggered an attack by "al-Jama'a al-Islamiya al-Mokatila-Libya" on al-Iquan who previously in their magazine "al-Muslim" (issues 30 and 32) supported indirectly al-Jama'a al-Islamiya al-Mokatila's military operations against Libyan officials.
3 February 1997: Syrian Vice-President Abdel Halim Khaddam and Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa will visit Libya this month. Khaddam and Sharaa were to emphasize the need that Arab states adhere by the resolutions of the June Cairo summit. They will emphasize halting normalization with Israel until Israel agrees to resume peace talks with Syria from where they stopped last year. Syria has embarked on intensive diplomatic contacts with Arab countries following the conclusion of the Israeli-Palestinian accord on troop redeployment in the West Bank city of Hebron. (UPI)
2 February 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Gadhafi joined by satellite a panel of Arab intellectuals reviewing his book, "Long Live the State of the Punks'' [Tahia Daulat al-Hukara'] Thursday night. Among those who participated in the debate: Dr. Rajab abou-Dabbous and Dr. Ali Mustafa Khshaim [both Libyans], Yaseen Rifaiya [Syrian] and Dr. Ali Hilal [Egyptian.] (Al-Ittihad) For more details (in Arabic) please click here
1 February 1997: According to the Libyan Relief Fund [al-Sandook al-Khairi al-Leebi], a non-profit, charitable and development organization, there are many Libyan families and individuals abroad who need financial help and assistance.
For more information you may contact the LRF at 1-800-484-9460-ext 7332, or write to:
The Libyan Relief Fund - P.O. Box 7663 - Columbia, MO 65205-7663 USA.
1 February 1997: According to "Al-Fajr" newsletter, the voice of al-Jama'a al-Islamiya al-Mokatila - Libya [the Fighting Islamic Group - Libya], some of al-Jama'a members are detained in Saudi Arabia and Saudi authorities might hand them to Libya. Saudi Arabia sent to Libya two wanted Libyans [Salih al-Shelwi and Nuri al-Jaibani] in 1993 and Amnesty International succeeded in convincing Saudi authorities not to sent to Libya two more [Khalid al-Misrati and Khaleefa al-Hajji] late last year. Al-Misrati and al-Hajji were deported to another Arab country instead.
1 February 1997: Libyan sources reported that Libyan authorities early last week freed some political detainees, mostly students. Some of the freed detainees were arrested late eighties and early nineties. Libya freed hundreds of detainees early this month and Libyan officials promised more detainees are to be freed next month.
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