News and Views

June 1998

28 June 1998: In a statement received today, the Libyan Islamic Group "al-Jama'a al-Islamiya al-Libiya" said that it has obtained a list of some of the people who have been arrested by the Libyan regime recently. Calls from "Libya: News and Views" to the LIG to verify the authenticity of the statement were not answered.
To view the list, please click here. To view the list in Arabic please click here - Arabic
27 June 1998: The Libyan government on Friday accused the United States and Israel of discussing plans to attack it for allegedly getting hold of arms of mass destruction with the help of Iraqi experts. The Libyan foreign affairs ministry, in a statement distributed in neighbouring Tunisia by the official Libyan news agency JANA, denied Libya had such arms and warned against the consequences of an attack.
"Western diplomatic sources revealed that a series of meetings had been held in Tel Aviv between a number of high-ranking officers from the U.S. and Israeli armies that discussed field plans to carry out a military operation against Libya,'' the statement said. It said the pretext for an attack was a U.S. Congress report alleging that Iraqi scientists were helping Libya in an arms destruction programme. [Reuters]
27 June 1998: A Libyan aircraft is reported to have flown to neighbouring Chad and back in violation of the air embargo imposed by the United Nations six years ago. An unnamed Libyan official was quoted as saying the plane took a number of Chadian officials to Tripoli. [BBC]
25 June 1998: Al-Hayat newspaper reported Wednesday that Syria handed over to Libya five Libyan anti-Qadhafi Islamists [Islamyeen Libyeen.] for more details [in Arabic/al-Hayat] Please click here
25 June 1998: Libya said on Tuesday a British newspaper report alleging that South Africa agreed to supply it with weapons in return for oil was false and reiterated that it had no intention of acquiring arms. "These are new lies,'' the official Libyan news agency JANA quoted an official in the Libyan Foreign Affairs Ministry as saying. [Reuters]
25 June 1998: The Libyan government has allocated $10 million to the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO) for investment in Malta, Libyan public security minister Mohammed Hijazi said on Wednesday. Hijazi headed a Libyan delegation which called on Prime Minister Alfred Sant in Valletta before the close of a three-day meeting of a Maltese-Libyan joint commission. [Reuters]
23 June 1998: South Africa denied on Monday a report in a British newspaper that it had agreed a secret half-a-billion-dollar deal to supply Libya with weapons and spare parts in return for cut-price oil. Government officials denied the report. "No such deal has been concluded,'' a foreign ministry spokesman said. Britain's Sunday Telegraph said that under the deal, negotiated by South African secret service officials and approved by South African President Mandela, Pretoria would supply spare parts for Libya's ageing Mirage jet fighter and attack helicopters. [Reuters]

21 June 1998: The Libyan minister for Arab unity, Jom'a al Fazzani, has begun a brief visit to Egypt. He told reporters at Cairo airport that he was bringing a message for President Hosni Mubarak from Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and that it concerned matters of common interest. He gave no further details but correspondents link the visit to Egypt's efforts to have international sanctions against Libya lifted. [BBC]

20 June 1998: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi held talks Friday with Jordanian Prime Minister Abdul-Salam Majali on trade and economic cooperation, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported. Majali and his Libyan counterpart, Mohamed al-Mangoush, later signed the minutes of a two-day meeting of the Libyan-Jordanian committee, which called for increased trade, MENA said. [AP]
20 June 1998: When questioned about American claims that he supports terrorism and is mentally unstable, Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said [In an interview with APTV] "I expect that I will go down in history as a person who has been misunderstood.'' Al-Qadhafi suggested the world would eventually come to accept his views. "All prophets have been accused of madness and terrorism,'' he said. "Even Christ was crucified, but after they crucified him, they converted to his religion.'' [AP]

18 June 1998: Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi appeared before Western journalists for the first time since a reported assassination attempt, denying that he had been wounded or that such an attack occurred. "People say al-Qadhafi has been a target of numerous assassination attempts,'' he said in an interview Tuesday with Associated Press Television. "I have never seen any assassination attempt directed at me.'' [AP]
18 June 1998: The United States has proposed to Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco that they establish a U.S.-Maghreb economic partnership to help the three countries draw private investment, a senior U.S. official said. Stuart Eizenstat, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agriculture Affairs said in Tunis that Libya, which is in the Maghreb region, could not join the new partnership until it turns over two suspects wanted in the United States and Britain for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. [Reuters]
18 June 1998: The American "The Washington Times" newspaper reported Tuesday that China is still discussing sales of missile test equipment with Iran and helping Libya develop its own missile programme.
15 June 1998: A Libyan Islamic opposition group claimed responsibility for an alleged assassination attempt on Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, a newspaper reported Sunday. The Libyan government has denied such an attack occurred. Al-Hayat quoted Abdullah Ahmed, the spokesman of the Islamic Martyrs Movement, as saying that its guerrillas carried out the attack in the Sidi Khalifa area, 20 miles east of Benghazi in eastern Libya. [AP] For details [in Arabic - al-Hayat] please click here
15 June 1998: A TOP international lawyer involved in the Lockerbie bombing case foiled an armed man's apparent attempt to break into his Stellenbosch lodgings. Lawyer Robert Black - best known for his efforts in seeking a solution to the diplomatic impasse between the US and Libya over the Lockerbie bombers. "I heard someone trying the door handle, so I contacted the police on my cellphone," Black said. "They were there quickly. There was shooting outside, but I stayed under the bed." Stellenbosch police spokesman Anton de Kock said police came across a man outside the building. The man fired at them and fled. [Sunday Times]

13 June 1998: Libyans who left Libya recently report that Libya is experiencing a major crack down on Libyan Islamists [al-Islamiyeen.] Major arrests took place in the main Libyan cities in the past few days and continuing. It included university faculty members and graduate students. The crack down was a show of force by the army with heavy and light weapons storming residences at night and arresting suspected activists.
13 June 1998: Egyptian and Libyan officials on Friday denied a report that Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi had postponed a visit to Egypt because of a failed attempt to kill him. The official Libyan news agency JANA described the report of an assassination attempt as "lies and vile allegations.'' Egypt's government news agency MENA quoted an unnamed senior Egyptian security source as denying Thursday's media report. [Reuters]
13 June 1998: A French civil plaintiff in the case of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Africa said on Friday magistrates had formally ordered six Libyans, including Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's brother-in-law, to be tried. A total of 171 people died in the crash of a DC-10 of the French airline UTA over the west-central African state of Niger. [Reuters]
13 June 1998: Libya's news agency JANA reports that "It seems that our belief that Agence France Presse, AFP, which describes itself as a major international agency, was an agency that was committed to respecting its professionalism by being trustworthy and objective was merely a self-delusion which we had tried to ignore despite the series of lies and cheap claims which some of its degraded employees have been stupidly propagating quoting claims by some of the dogs [Qadhafi's name for the Libyan opposition], which have never stopped barking." [BBC]
13 June 1998: Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin on Thursday passed on his country's praise to Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi for his efforts to mediate in the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Libyan TV reported. Libya sent an envoy to Ethiopia and Eritrea last week with a proposal for a ceasefire and the deployment of a buffer force from Libya and other Saharan African states in the disputed border areas. [Reuters]
12 June 1998: The London-based Liberty for the Muslim World, a human rights groups which monitors Libyan affairs, reported that Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi had been attacked "in the past few days.'' But it had no details. The group said since the attack, at least 100 young men have been arrested from the towns of Dirnah, Ras al-Helal and al-Qubbah. [AP]
12 June 1998: France Press [AFP] reports that Libya denied news reports that said Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi escaped an assassination attempt last week when he was en route to Egypt for an official visit.
12 June 1998: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi escaped an assassination attempt last week that left him slightly injured but killed one of his female bodyguards, Libyans arriving in Egypt said Thursday. The 1st of June attack took place on a coastal road in eastern Libya when Qadhafi was en route to Egypt for an official visit, the travelers said. Qadhafi had stopped on the road near Dirnah, 160 miles west of the Egyptian border, when suspected Muslim militants opened fire on him and his group from surrounding mountains, said the travelers, speaking on condition of anonymity by telephone from the Egyptian border town of Salum. Qadhafi was injured in the elbow, they said. [AP]
12 June 1998: Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim said a decision by African leaders to defy certain U.N. sanctions imposed on Libya was not a challenge but an expression of frustration. ``This was not an easy decision. This was not a decision that was taken lightly. No-one desires a confrontation, especially a confrontation with the more powerful countries,'' Salim told Reuters Television in an interview on Wednesday. ``At the same time, this is an African problem. Libya is an African country... so my hope is that a solution somehow can be found,'' he added after the closure of the 34th OAU summit in Burkina Faso. [Reuters]
12 June 1998: The United States has denounced as a direct attack on the United Nations the decision by the Organisation of African Unity to ignore some sanctions imposed on Libya for the 1988 bombing of a U.S. airliner. The U.S. State Department called on African countries to disregard the decision announced on Tuesday at an OAU summit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin said: ``We are extremely disturbed by this short-sighted action, which constitutes a direct assault on the authority of the Security is thus an attack on the U.N. system itself.'' [Reuters]
11 June 1998: The annual summit of the Organisation of African Unity, attended by more than twenty heads of state, has drawn to a close in Burkina Faso. During three days' of talks, African leaders agreed to ignore some sanctions imposed against Libya for its alleged involvement in bombing an American airliner over Scotland ten years ago. [BBC]
11 June 1998: Leaders at the Organisation of African Unity summit in Burkina Faso said some air and travel sanctions against Libya would not apply. A resolution said some trade sanctions might also be lifted if the United States and Britain did not agree to allow the two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing to be tried in a neutral country. The US and Britain have said the two should face trial in Scotland or the US. [BBC]
11 June 1998: In a statement at the end of an OAU summit in Burkina Faso on Tuesday, OAU heads of state asked member states to ignore sanctions with humanitarian or religious implications and those relating to official OAU business. The OAU leaders appealed to the U.N. Security Council to suspend all the sanctions, which were imposed to force Libya to surrender two of its nationals for trial in Britain or the United States for the 1998 bombing of an airliner over Scotland. [Reuters]

9 June 1998: Renewable water resources in Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Malta and Yemen will barely cover basic human needs by the year 2025, even if the resources are fully mobilised, a World Bank presentation said. [Arab News - Reuters]
9 June 1998: The Organization for African Unity [OAU] foreign ministers have suggested the OAU leaders press for an immediate lifting of U.N. sanctions imposed on Libya to force it to hand over two suspects for trial in connection with the Lockerbie bombing. OAU officials say Libya has shown flexibility over the issue which has not been reciprocated. [Reuters]
9 June 1998: Ethiopia and Eritrea have welcomed an initiative taken by Libya's Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to settle their border dispute peacefully, state-run Libyan radio said on Monday. But the radio did not say whether the warring neighbours had accepted Qadhafi's proposal for the deployment of a buffer force from Libya and other Saharan African states in the disputed border areas. [Reuters]

8 June 1998: AFP reports that Libyan officials say no trips to Egypt planned or postponed by Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, but Egyptian President Husni Mubark told reporters that al-Qadhafi postponed his visit to Egypt because he is ill and suffering from tonsilitis [Inflammation of the tonsils ,the two glandular organs situated in the throat.]
8 June 1998: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has proposed deploying troops from Libya and other Saharan African states in the borders areas disputed between Ethiopa and Eritrea, Libyan state-run television reported on Friday. The television, monitored in Tunis, said the proposal had been presented on Thursday by Qadhafi's envoy Adam Tokwe to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Qadhafi's envoy later arrived in Asmara for a meeting with Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki on Friday. [Reuters]
Visit Benghazi: Dr. Nasr al-Anaizi's wonderful Benghazi page

7 June 1998: Four days ahead of next week's 34th summit meeting of the Organisation of African Unity, the national colours of 54 African states embellished the streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is expected to attend the summit. Libya put up the largest contribution of the seven billion CFA franc (11.6 million dollar) cost of the event. Amid the city's countless mopeds, security forces zoomed around on newer, more powerful two-wheelers offered by Libya to serve as VIP escort vehicles. [Sapa-AFP]
5 June 1998: The Libyan-Egyptian committee headed by
Libyan Prime Minister Mohammed al-Mangoush [pictured,] and Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal al-Janzouri comcluded its meetings in Cairo. Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and Egyptian President Husni Mubark were supposed to participate in the committee meetings, but al-Qadhafi's visit to Egypt has been delayed for the second time in less than a week. [al-Arab and AFP]
Enjoy the lovely Libyan music in Libya-on-Line music page

4 June 1998: Fourteen years ago, this week, a group of Libyans [some were students who just finished their studies abroad and went back home] were tried and hanged in public accused of helping the National Front for the Salvation of Libya militants in their May 1984 attempt to overthrow Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. For more details [in Arabic] please click here
4 June 1998: The Arab League's Council on Arab Economic Unity has called for an end to the international sanctions against Iraq and Libya. The eleven-member council says that an end to the sanctions would facilitate an Arab common market and alleviate the suffering of the Libyan and Iraqi peoples. According to the Arab League, sanctions cost the Libyan economy more than twenty-three billion dollars between 1992 and 1996. [BBC]
4 June 1998: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will be visiting Egypt on Friday at the start of a 10-day visit, a Libyan official said on Wednesday. There was no immediate confirmation from Egyptian officials. They had said on Monday al-Qadhafi had postponed a visit that was due to begin on Wednesday, and no new date had been set. [Reuters]
2 June 1998: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has postponed a planned visit to Egypt, officials in both countries said on Monday. They had no word on the reason for the change. Omar Rashwan, Libyan coordinator of Egyptian-Libyan relations, told reporters in Egypt's northwestern city of Mersa Matruh that al-Qadhafi's visit had been postponed, but gave no reason. "The Libyans told us of the postponement and said they would notify us of the new date,'' an Egyptian presidential official said. [Reuters]
1 June 1998: Al-Arab newspaper reports that Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi will meet with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak in Cairo tomorrow [Tuesday.] Egyptian ambassador to Libya, Fouad Jalal, said that the two sides will discuss local, Arab and international issues.
1 June 1998: Saudi ambassador to the United States, Bandar Ben Sultan, arrived in Libya. Ben Sultan met with Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to relay a message from Saudi Arabia's King Fahed Ben Abdulazeez. [al-Arab]
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