Libya:
News and Views


May 1997

31 May 1997: Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdulmajeed met in Sirt with Abdulrahman al-Zintani [Assistant Secretary of Libyan People's Congress,] Saad Mujber [Foreign Minister] and Salma Rashed [Libyan ambassador to the Arab League.] Libya asked the Arab League to find a solution to the Luckerbie affair and if the Western nations did not accept it, Libya is asking Arab countries to ignore the UN sanctions and resume its flights to and from Libya [al-Hayat / 31 May 1997]
31 May 1997: Pretty Good Privacy, Inc, the world leader in digital privacy and security software, today announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce has approved the export of PGP's encryption software to the overseas offices of the largest companies in the US. The license allows export of strong encryption technology, without government access to keys, to the overseas subsidiaries and branch offices of more than 100 of the largest American companies, provided that the offices are not located in embargoed countries, namely Libya, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan or Syria. [PR Newswire]
29 May 1997: In an address during a state dinner at Italy's Quirinale presidential palace on the first day of a visit to Rome, Tunisian President Zaine al-Abidine Ben Ali on Wednesday called for an end to current embargoes against Libya and Iraq. [Reuter]
26 May 1997: The Guenian President Lansana Conta arrived in Tripoli and met with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Saturday. President Conta's visit to Libya is part of the final preparations for the African Unity Organization conference to be held next month.
26 May 1997: Aboubaker Younis Jaber arrived in Cairo carrying a message from Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to Egyptian president Husni Mubarak. Younis talked to Mubarak about Luckerbie and al-Qadhafi's trip to Niger and Nigeria which viewed by the U.N. as a violation of the U.N. sanctions imposed on Libya since April 1992. [al-Hayat]
26 May 1997: Al-Khwaildi al-Hmaidi is visiting Morocco carrying a message from Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to King Hassan of Morroco. Al-Hayat newspaper said that the message is about the Luckerbie crisis and al-Qadhafi's visit to Niger and Nigeria which viewed by the United Natons as a violation of the U.N. sanctions imposed on Libya since April 1992. Moroccan prime minister Abdulateef al-Failali said Morocco is trying to find a solution to the Lockerbie affair which satisfies both Libya and the West.
25 May 1997: Today is the 14th anniversary of the death of Mohammad "Idris I" al-Sanounsi who was the King of Libya from 24 December 1951 [Libya's Independance Day] to the 1st of September 1969 [Libyan Revolution Day.] King Idris died in exile in Egypt on the 25th of May 1983. Idris al-Sanousi became the Amir of Cyrenaica after World War II till 24 December 1951 when he became the King of Libya. While vacationing in Turkey [September 1969,] he was overthrown by some members of the armed forces lead by Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on the first of September 1969.
For more details, please click here
New Libyans' Home Pages:
|Tarhuna's Page| |Abdurrahman Ali's Page| |Fawzi's Page| |Muharrem Drebi's Page|

21 May 1997: Speaking to a large gathering in the Libyan capital Tripoli, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi warns there can be no Mediterranean peace without Libya. The Libyan leader, quoted by the official Libyan news agency [JANA], blamed the The European Union for Libya's exclusion from the Euro-Med conference, held in Malta last month. [al-Hayat] For more details [in Arabic] please click here
21 May 1997: The United Nations Security Council said on Tuesday that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi violated sanctions by flying to Niger and Nigeria earlier this month. In a statement, the council noted "with concern'' reports that Libyan-registered aircraft flew to Niger on the 8th of May and return to Libya from Nigeria on the 10th of May in violation of sanctions. The mildly-worded statement was a compromise mainly between the United States and Egypt. [Reuter]
20 May 1997: The Libyan government on Monday announced it has recognised the change that occurred in Zaire, now renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libyan state-run radio reported. Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi last December expressed support for Mobutu. "The presence of President Mobutu at the head of power in Zaire is the sole guarantee for Zaire's unity,'' the official Libyan news agency JANA quoted al-Qadhafi as saying at the time. "If Mobutu disappeared, Zaire's fate would be that of Somalia after Siad Barre and of Yugoslavia after Tito, and Zaire would therefore be a place for instability in the African continent,'' he added. [Reuter]
20 May 1997: The U.N. Libya sanctions committee concluded on Monday that flights by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to Niger and Nigeria earlier this month were a breach of sanctions, committee chairman Zbigniew Wlosowicz of Poland said. Speaking to reporters after a closed meeting, he said the committee also took note of explanations by Libya, Niger and Nigeria that the flights were for religious purposes. The committee's findings will be submitted to the Security Council, which will discuss the matter during closed-door consultations on Tuesday, Wlosowicz added. [Reuter]
For more details [in Arabic from al-Hayat newspaper] please click here
18 May 1997: Libyan General Popular Committee Secretary Abdelmajid al-Gu'ud visited Tunisia where he held talks with Tunisian prime minister Hamid al-Qerwi. Al-Qu'ud said his talks with al-Qerwi were mainly about health, trade and agriculture. [al-Hayat]
16 May 1997: The United States Department of Commerce claims that Thane-Coat Company, through Export Materials and TIC, made about 100 shipments of pipe coating materials, machines and parts to Libya via the United Kingdom and Italy. The commerce department says the goods shipped by Thane-Coat to Libya were for use in Libya's "Great Man-Made River Project," a $20 billion endeavor to move fresh water from southeast and southwest Libya cross 1,200 miles of desert to the coast. The products were used to coat the internal surface of prestressed concrete cylinder pipe, according to the Commerce department. [Houston Business Journal]
16 May 1997: According to al-Hayat newspaper, a Libyan organization under the name "The National Libyans Movement" or "Harakat al-Wataniyeen al-Libiyeen" announced in a press release that its members attacked military posts in the southern city Sebha. The movement's press release attacked the Libyan government and it also attacked some of the Libyan [opposition] figures like Abdulminem al-Houni and Khaleefa Hifter.
For more details (in Arabic) please click here
16 May 1997: According to Libyan sources abroad, last week a bomb blew off at Abdelmunem al-Houni's residence in Egypt. It is believed that the Libyan government agents were behind the explosion. Abdulminem al-Houni [pictured] was not in his residence at the time of the explosion. Egyptian authorities denied that the explosion was due to a bomb and declared that a gas pipe had exploded in al-Houni's residence.
14 May 1997: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Tuesday United Nations sanctions against Libya had been in effect for too long and risked becoming meaningless. Mubarak brushed aside U.S. criticism that his country was helping Libya and said he hoped the U.N. Security Council and the U.S. administration would reconsider their stance on sanctions against Tripoli. "The embargo has gone on for too long. When an embargo is prolonged it loses meaning,'' Mubarak, whose country borders Libya, said in a television interview. "I spoke to the U.S. administration about this but then they (U.S. officials) say Egypt is helping Libya. "Libya is an Arab country, it is our neighbour and I have half a million Egyptian workers there. What do they want me to do with Libya? Close my doors? It is an Arab country, I can't. When embargoes go on longer than necessary it makes people explode and we don't want this.'' [Reuter]
13 May 1997: A Maltese court on Monday rejected Libya's request for the extradition of a Libyan whom Tripoli has accused of drug trafficking. Maltese magistrate Noel Cuschieri said Libya had failed to prove its allegations that Najib al-Hashemi al-Harari, 27, was wanted for drug trafficking. Al-Harari told the court that he was not involved in drug traffic. He said he was a member of a group opposing the government of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Strict security was mounted round the Valletta courthouse following telephone threats to the prison authorities that al-Harari would be killed. Al-Harari has served a seven-month jail term in Malta for entering the country using a false passport. But he was re-arrested just over a week ago as he was about to leave Malta for Sweden following the extradition request by Libya. Amnesty International had led several groups in urging Malta not to extradite Harari, saying he was wanted for his Islamist opposition activities. Al-Harari, recognised as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has been granted asylum in Sweden. [Reuter]
13 May 1997: Tunisia and Libya have agreed to set up a joint venture to develop a natural gas pipeline project by which Tripoli would supply southern Tunisia with gas, energy sources said on Friday. [Reuter]
11 May 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Saturday returned to Tripoli after a defiant flight to Niger and Nigeria despite the United Nations air embargo over the Lockerbie affair. Libyan television showed al-Qadhafi emerging from a Libyan Arab Airlines Boeing at Tripoli airport, back from Niger and Nigeria where he led prayers for the Moslem new year. Hundreds of followers acclaimed al-Qadhafi on the tarmac while he raised arms as a sign of victory for his defiant three-day trip. Al-Qadhafi's trip to West Africa was in apparent defiance of a 1992 UN embargo on flights from Libya. [Reuter]
11 May 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi left Nigeria Saturday after a one-day official visit which climaxed with a fiery tirade against the west's treatment of Islam and a warning to the United States to "be peaceful," or else. In an official dinner hosted by Nigerian military ruler General Sani Abacha on Friday night, Khadafi spoke for the world's Moslem countries, saying: "We don't want war. We don't want confrontation. But we are obliged to defend ourselves. We say to America, be peaceful and you are safe." He accused Britain, Israel and the United States of "spearheading terrorism and false propoganda against Islamic countries." [Reuter]
11 May 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was bestowed Nigeria's highest honour medal, state radio said on Saturday. Al-Qadhafi was decorated with the medal of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by military ruler General Sani Abacha at a state banquet in Abuja on Friday night. [Reuter]
11 May 1997: The Libyan oil minister and OPEC President Abdallah Salem al-Badri said on Saturday he believed most members in the group would favour sticking to their current production ceiling at their next ministerial meeting in June. Al-Badri said he had met most of his counterparts in the 11-member OPEC and "came to the conclusion that everybody wants a rollover of the ceiling,'' for the next six months. He was speaking to reporters in Doha after talks with his Qatari counterpart, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah. Both said they agreed the current production ceiling should be maintained. Al-Badri arrived earlier from the Iranian city Asfahan, where he and six other ministers in the group's committee charged with examining quota compliance met on the sidelines of a weekend energy conference. [Reuter]
10 May 1997: The United States vowed Friday to seek a strong UN condemnation of Libya in the wake of leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's travels to Niger and Nigeria in defiance of a UN air embargo. At the request of the United States, the UN sanctions committee agreed to investigate the matter, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said. "It looks on the face of it to be a pretty clear violation of the UN sanctions," Burns said. al-Qadhafi flew from Tripoli to Niamey on Thursday before heading to Kano, Nigeria to participate in religious ceremonies and meet with leaders. Burns said that if the United Nations determines that al-Qadhafi has in fact violated the sanctions regime, Libya will have little prospect of convincing the international community to lift the embargo. [AFP]
10 May 1997: The human rights groups Amnesty International on Friday appealed to the Maltese government to bar the extradition to Libya of a Libyan political refugee, saying he risked human rights violations. "Najib al-Hashemi al-Harari is feared to be at imminent risk of forcible return to Libya where he would face serious human rights violations," Amnesty said in a statement received by AFP in Cairo. Al-Harari, 27, was arrested in Malta on 19 August 1996 and detained for eight months on charges he entered the country illegaly and while in prison he was granted refugee status by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Amnesty said. He was to be resettled in Sweden but the Maltese police arrested him at the airport before boarded his plane, saying "the Libyan government officially requested his extradition to Libya," Amnesty said. A Maltese court is currently examining the proceedings for his extradition and is expected to give its verdict on 12 May, it said. "According to reports received by Amnesty International, the real reason behind the extradition request is Najib al-Harari's Islamist opposition activities before he fled the country," Amnesty said. Several relatives and the wife of Harari were arrested by Libyan securiuty forces in March 1996 to put pressure on Harari but were then released, Amnesty said. "Amnesty International opposes the forcible return of people to countries where they risk imprisonment as prisoners of conscience, torture, 'disappearance' or execution," the group said. It urged Malta to abide by the "internationallly-recognised principle of non-refoulement" expressed in the 1931 Convention relating to the status of refugees. Amnesty said it had twice sent appeals to the Maltese government, but that it had received no replies. [AFP]
10 May 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi again violated a UN air embargo, arriving in Kano from Niger on Friday to join in religious celebrations marking the first day of the Moslem new year which started on Friday. Al-Qadhafi, dressed in white robes, was accompanied by Niger's President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara. The two men were welcomed by Nigerian military ruler General Sani Abacha, the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Mohammed Maccido, Nigeria's most important Islamic leader, and numerous ministers and military officiers. Amid heavy security with Libyan bodyguards and security forces posted on the tarmac and around the town, two girls offered the Libyan leader a gift of Kola nuts as a sign of welcome and friendship before he reviewed an honour guard. Al-Qadhafi and Abacha were scheduled to spend two hours discussing African unity and international issues before attending Friday Moslem prayers. [AFP]
10 May 1997: A Japanese tuna fishing boat has been seized by Libyan coast guards in the Mediterranean Sea, Japan's Maritime Safety Agency said Friday. The captured ship is the 379-ton Ryoei-Maru No.11, from Kochi Prefecture in western Japan, an agency spokesman said. But he said the agency had yet to know the circumstances in which the ship had been seized, and other details. According to Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), the ship, with 22 crew members on board, was captured Wednesday. Among the crew, 12 were Japanese and 10 were Indonesians, it said. In June 1995, two other Japanese fishing vessels were seized separately by Libyan maritime authorities on suspicion of violating the country's territorial waters. [AFP]
9 May 1997: Addressing the midday prayer at Niger capital's main mosque, Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi told more than 20,000 worshippers including Niger's President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara that the "Satan" incarnated by the United Nations and western colonialism was nearly finished. Speaking in Arabic, he lashed out at "the resolutions and decisions of the United Nations and the Security Council" which he said had not been able to prevent wars that are raging. [AFP]
9 May 1997: The US State Department said Thursday it was investigating reports that Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi traveled to Niamey aboard a Libyan aircraft in violation of a UN air embargo. "If they are accurate, this would be a serious violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 748, which prohibits Libyan aircraft from engaging in international flights," State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said. The State Department said it planned to raise the matter at the UN Security Council and also called on the government of Niger to prevent the aircraft from departing the capital. [AFP]
9 May 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Niger on Thursday for a one-day visit during which he is to meet President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara. Al-Qadhafi upon his arrival told reporters that his sole ambition was to promote the Islamic religion which he said was ignored by the world. The Libyan leader was to take part later in the day in the midday prayer at the capital's main mosque. On Friday he will head to Nigeria where he will meet in Abjua with military leader General Sani Abacha. [AFP]
9 May 1997: Libya on Wednesday denounced joint naval exercises between Israel, Turkey and the United States to be held in the Mediterranean later this year, calling it a "hostile alliance" against Arabs. "It is a suspicious military alliance and hostile to the Arab nation with the goal of encircling it and stealing its petroleum riches and water resources," the official Libyan news agency JANA said. [AFP]
8 May 1997: Today is the 13th anniversary of the 8th of May 1984 when a group of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya "al-Jabha al-Wataniyah li-Inqath Libya" members enterd Libya in an attempt to overthrow Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's regeme. The group was headed by Ahmed Hwas [pictured,] a prominant figure in the Libyan opposition abroad. For more details, please click here
8 May 1997: A mini-durbar, a colourful traditional horse-riding festival, is being organised to celebrate the one-day visit to Nigeria of Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi Friday, a government official said. al-Qadhafi is due to meet Nigeria's military ruler, General Sani Abacha, in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. He will then be accompanied to Kano, the main town in the Moslem north of the country, for the festival organised by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the source said. The durbar is usually staged to honor very important dignatories and has in the past been laid on to entertain former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. [AFP]
8 May 1997: France's chief anti-terrorism investigator ended on Tuesday a probe into the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over the Sahara and urged that six Libyans including a brother-in-law of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi be put on trial, justice sources said. The sources said that more than seven years after the UTA airlines DC-10 crashed in the Sahara desert, killing all 170 people on board, Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere had concluded that the order to blow up the plane came from the al-Qadhafi's brother-in-law, Abdallah al-Sanousi. The judge's investigation was sent to public prosecutors on Tuesday, the sources said. But a trial before a French criminal court was unlikely before late this year or early 1998, they said. [Reuters]
8 May 1997: A Libyan refugee was arrested by Maltese police over the weekend after an extradition demand by Libya where, Libyan authorities claim, he is wanted to serve a sentence for drug trafficking offences. Mr Najib al-Harari was detained at Malta's international airport hours before boarding a flight to an undisclosed country on a visa provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Libyan authorities claim that Mr Harari formed part of a drug trafficking group called Sons of Libya and that he was sentenced in his absence in Tripoli earlier this year. Some human rights organizations said that the arrest of Najib al-Harari is political and has nothing to do with drug trafficking. [Reuters]
8 May 1997: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi plans to travel out of Libya this week to lead prayers in Niger and Nigeria to celebrate the Moslem new year, the official Libyan news agency JANA reported on Wednesday. JANA said in a despatch distributed by its office in Tunis that Gaddafi would lead prayers on Thursday in Niger and on Friday in Nigeria. [Reuters]
8 May 1997: The Algerian Brotherhood in France, a group founded by members of the banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), said on Wednesday that some 500 Algerian FIS activists were being held in Libyan jails and some were being tortured. The group said Algerian FIS activists in exile in Libya had written to it, alleging that more than 500 of their number remained in Libyan prisons nine months after a wave of arrests last summer. None have been charged, and they were apparently jailed only because they were members of the FIS, which seeks to overthrow the Algerian government and transform the country into an Islamic republic, the group alleged. [Reuters]
7 May 1997: Tomorrow is the 13th anniversary of the 8th of May 1984 when some members of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya ( which was established abroad on 7 October 1981 and lead by Dr. Mohammed al-Mgariaf ) enterd Libya in an attempt to overthrow Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's regeme. Some of those who participated in that attempt were killed while fighting government troops in Bab Alazizya where Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's headquarters are. Government reports admitted that there were a fight between the NFSL fighters and government troops but suggested that the fight happened outside al-Qadhafi's barrackes. For more details, please click here
5 May 1997: The Libyan mission in the United Nations accused European countries of double standards and unacceptable discrimination when it comes to help cleaning World War II mine fields. Abouzaid Durda, the Libyan representative in the UN, said in a letter to the UN that Britain, Germany and Italy must contribute to its efforts in detecting and removing the huge number of mines that European countries planted in Libya during World War II. [al-Hayat] For more details (in Arabic) please click here
5 May 1997: Belgian tax authorities are investigating a report that foreign leaders, political parties, sects and private individuals are laundering piles of cash through bank accounts in Luxembourg. The weekly financial newsletter Faxtuel said the accounts belonged among others to Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Iraqi President and Zairean President Mobutu. It said the investigation was prompted by a note from an assistant to Belgium's former ambassador in Luxembourg to the Belgian Foreign Minister who had in turn passed it on to the Finance Minister and the Justice Minister. [Reuters] For more details (in Arabic) please click here
5 May 1997: Libya and Tunisia ratified a contract on Monday allowing a Saudi and Malaysian consortium to develop a large shared offshore oil field, the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reported. The Nicosia-based specialist review said the contract had been awarded to private Saudi firm Nimr Petroleum Company and Petronas Carigali of Malaysia by the Libyan-Tunisian Joint Oil Company on February 1. The review said the contract was the first deal ratified by Libya since the United States Congress passed the D'Amato law in August last year threatening sanctions against any foreign firm that invested more than 40 million dollars in the oil or gas industries of Iran or Libya. [AFP]
5 May 1997: The Arab Maghreb Union, grouping Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Moritaninia, is to cut staff at its secretariat by two-thirds because of financial problems and lack of activity, an Arab diplomat said on Monday. The union was set up in 1989. Its secretariat headquarters was established in the Moroccan capital Rabat in 1992, headed by Tunisian national Mohamed Amamou. "Governments of the five-country union were recently informed that the Rabat secretariat will reduce its staff to five civil servants from a total of 15...The decision taken by Amamou will be effective from May 16, 1997,'' the North African diplomat, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. [Reuters]
4 May 1997: The [opposition] Fighting Islamic Group - Libya "al-Jamaa al-Islamiyah al-Mukatila - Libya" sources told "al-Fajr" magazine that some of the FIGL members attacked a military post in Libya last month and seized 100 machine guns needed for future operations. The sources said that more attacks will take place in the near future.
3 May 1997: A group of United States Senators is seeking a United Nations resolution imposing an international oil embargo against Libya, according to a draft copy of a letter obtained by The Oil Daily.
2 May 1997: Niger's president, General Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, was in Libya Thursday for talks on African problems and bilateral relations, the Libyan news agency JANA said. Mainassara, who arrived Wednessday night from Kuwait, was greeted in Sirte, the official seat of the Libyan parliament, by Libyan military chief Abubakr Younes Jaber, the agency said. Mainassara said he came "to Libya to discuss the African situation and interesting bilateral matters between the two countries which are linked by history, geography and Islam," JANA reported. [AFP]
2 May 1997: The Canadian Red Sea Oil Corporation announced that testing operations on its A1-NC177 well have been completed and the well is being plugged and abandoned. The well reached its total depth of 2800 meters on 18 April 1997 and was drilled on Block NC177 onshore Libya to test the Farah East Prospect. Two drill stem tests were carried out in the 9 5/8 inch casing neither of which flowed any commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. Plans for drilling the second well on NC-177 have been suspended until a full evaluation of the A1-NC177 well results has been carried out. [Bus-Wire]
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