News and Views

July 1998

29 July 1998: Libya denied late Monday a British newspaper report that its leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi was not prepared to see the suspects in the Lockerbie airliner bombing tried only by Scottish judges.A foreign ministry spokesman dismissed the report in The Observer Sunday quoting "a senior figure close to Qadhafi" saying, "We accept a Scottish chairman and Scottish legal procedure, but we do not believe it would be fair if all the judges come from the country where the crime took place." [AFP-Nando]
29 July 1998: United States President Bill Clinton moved Tuesday to penalize and cut off aid to seven Russian research and manufacturing enterprises accused of selling sensitive weapons technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea. [AP]
28 July 1998: Libyan authorities arrested an Algerian man when he was leaving Libya for Germany. Azzaman newspaper reports that the man is a member of an Islamic group opposing the Algerian government and he was handed over to the Algerian authorities according to an agreement signed by most Arab countries to fight terrorism early this year. [Azzaman]
27 July 1998: Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki has flown to Tripoli and held talks with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Libyan state-run radio reported on Sunday. The radio, monitored in neighbouring Tunisia, said Afewerki had arrived on Saturday at Tripoli airport. It did not explicitly say whether he had violated a 1992 U.N. Security Council embargo that bans flights to and from Libya. [Reuters]
27 July 1998: Ireland's Minister for Agriculture said that the live cattle trade with Libya, suspended since 1996, could resume before the end of September. But a formal document setting out the basis of agreed veterinary conditions for the resumption of the trade has still to be ratified in Tripoli before Irish cattle can be sent there. [The Irish Times]

24 July 1998: Two Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 are ready to hand themselves over for trial in the Netherlands, their lawyer was quoted as saying today. Ibrahim Legwell told the Al-Hayat newspaper he had notified his clients, Abdelbasset al-Megrehi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, of the possibility of a trial in a Dutch court. ``My clients said they are ready,'' he was quoted as saying in a telephone interview from the Libyan capital, Tripoli. [AP]
24 July 1998: The Arab League offered Wednesday to handle security and travel for two Libyans suspects if they are tried in The Hague, Netherlands for a 1988 blast that destroyed a Pam Am jet and killed 270 people, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported. "The League is ready to carry out the necessary measures of handing over the suspects and maintaining their security,'' Mohammed Ismail, the league's assistant secretary-general for political affairs told the Egyptian news agency. [AP]
24 July 1998: The Libyan lawyer of the two Libyan suspects wanted in the Lockerbie bombing said on Thursday he would accept U.S. and British proposals for a trial in the Hague under Scottish law and that his clients were ready for that. "It is natural that we accept (a trial in The Hague under Scottish law) if the conditions for a fair trial are provided to protect the two accused's rights before, during and after the trial,'' Ibrahim Legwell, head of the defense team, told Reuters in an interview. He insisted that guarantees of a fair trial were required and that U.N. sanctions imposed on Libya since 1992 over Lockerbie must be suspended as soon as the Libyan government guarantees the two will stand trial in a neutral country. [Reuters]
24 July 1998: British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he had talked with President Clinton and the Dutch prime minister about the possibility of trying two Pan Am bombing suspects in the Netherlands. Blair, speaking in the House of Commons, said Britain wanted the suspects tried either in Scotland or the United States, but due to the lack of progress in bringing them to trial, "we are prepared to look at alternative ways of giving families the justice they deserve.'' He said no final decision had been made. [AP]
23 July 1998: British foreign office officials told the BBC that they are discussing with the Americans various contructive ideas for bringing to justice the two Libyans charged with carrying out the Lockerbie bomb attack. Asked about the suggestion of a trial in a third country, the officials said anything that preserved the concept of a trial before a Scottish court could be looked at. [BBC]
23 July 1998: The Dutch government said that it had held talks with both the United States and Britain about the possibility of a trial in The Hague for two Libyans suspected of blowing up a PanAm airliner over Scotland in 1988. ``On the initiative of the U.S. and Britain, we have had preliminary talks about how progress could be made,'' a foreign ministry spokeswoman said, adding that the talks were not recent. [Reuters]

22 July 1998: United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and national security adviser Sandy Berger have told relatives of the victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that the United States and Great Britain may allow two Libyan suspects to stand trial under Scottish law at The Hague. Questioned at a White House briefing on an unrelated matter, US President Bill Clinton said: "We have always said that there had to be a trial under American or Scottish law. There may be some possibility of standing up a Scottish court in another country, but there are lots of difficulties with it, as well, apparently.'' [Reuters]
22 July 1998: Britain said Tuesday it still wanted two Libyans to stand trial in Scotland or the United States on charges of blowing up a U.S. airliner over Scotland in 1988. Foreign Office junior minister Tony Lloyd spoke to parliament as developments in Washington signaled change in the U.S. position on the case, on which the two countries have long maintained a common front. But Lloyd resisted calls for the suspects, whom Libya has refused to have over, to be tried in a third country to break a long diplomatic deadlock. [Reuters]
21 July 1998: Britain and the United States have decided two Libyans accused of bombing a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 can face trial in the Hague under Scottish law, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday. The paper said Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will announce the decision simultaneously in London and Washington in the next few days. [Reuters]
21 July 1998: Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore arrived at Tripoli airport on Monday despite United Nations sanctions on flights to and from the country, Libyan state television said. The television, monitored in Tunis, broadcast live the arrival of Compaore at the Libyan capital aboard a Libyan civilian plane it said came directly from Burkina Faso. Compaore was welcomed at the airport by Abubaker Yunes Jaber, one of Qadhafi's lieutenants. [Reuters]
20 July 1998: Former Algerian president Ahmed Ben Bella and Khaled Abdulnaser [Jamal Abdulnaser's son] arrived in Tripoli. The two met with Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi who is recovering from hip surgery. [al-Arab]

17 July 1998: Libyan young scouts are among 1,200 young scouts from 16 Arab countries participating in the 23rd semi-annual Arab Scout camp hosted by Lebanon. With the Arab camp’s slogan “the call for adventure”, the programme divides the participants into four groups who rotate at satellite camp sites in the south’s Bsariyeh, Mount Lebanon’s Ain Shalta, and Omar Al Mokhtar in the Bekaa, where in addition to courses ranging from sound engineering to glass painting, the participants engage in social service activities. [Daily Star]
16 July 1998: Lundin Oil and Red Sea Oil have spudded the first well in the program to appraise the B1-NC177 discovery well, onshore Libya. The well, known as, B2-NC177, is expected to be drilled to a total depth of 8,500 feet. The appraisal program will consist of 2 appraisal wells and 65 km of 2D seismic and the re-entry of an earlier well. [Reuters]
13 July 1998: Azzaman newspaper reports that presidents of Egypt, Tunis, Algeria and Mauritania and Moroccos King Hassan's son will be joining Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in Libya for the "al-Fatih revolution anniversary celebration" which will be held in Tripoli in September.

13 July 1998: Al-Arab newspaper reports that two of Egyptian former president Jamal Abdulnaser sons arrived in Sirt, Libya. Abdulhamid and Abdulhakim Abdulnaser met Saturday night with Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi who is recovering from hip surgury.
13 July 1998: Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has invited Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to conduct Moslem prayers in Arab East Jerusalem when it becomes the capital of a Palestinian state, the official Libyan news agency JANA reported on Sunday. Al-Arab newspaper reported that Arafat said Qadhafi will lead Moslem prayers in Jerusalem as he did in other Moslem countries. [Reuters and al-Arab]

12 July 1998: Palestinian President Yasser Arafat met Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in Libya on Saturday to wish him well after surgery last week, Libyan television reported. The Palestinian news Agency WAFA in Tunis earlier said Arafat had arrived at Djerba airport in southern Tunisia and was due to continue by land to Libya to check on Qadhafi's health after surgery he underwent last week. Relations between Arafat and Qadhafi plummeted when Libya boycotted the 1991 Madrid peace conference. [Reuters]
12 July 1998: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has given war-racked Sierra Leone fuel and rice, President Ahmad Kabbah's spokesman said on Saturday. Septimus Kaikai told Reuters that Qadhafi offered the gifts during a visit by Kabbah to Libya's capital Tripoli for Moslem prayers last Monday, but he declined to give details. Sources close to the president's office said Libya would give the former British colony enough fuel and rice for three months. The fuel is for both transport and power generation. [Reuters]
11 July 1998: The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Friday he was trying to find a way to bridge differences over the Lockerbie dispute and bring the suspects in the 1988 airliner bombing to trial. He also told a news conference it was important for Security Council resolutions to be respected. Libya, backed by the Arab League, the non-aligned movement and others, says they should be tried in a "neutral'' country. "The Libyan issue is ... one of the priority issues that I am looking at,'' said Annan, who referred to recent meetings with Libya's U.N. ambassador and British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. [Reuters]
11 July 1998: The United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Friday the U.S. would not support any more humanitarian visits to see Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi who is recovering from hip surgery. Discussing a visit to Libya by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Albright said: "We felt that a one-time humanitarian visit was appropriate but we are not going to go along with any further visits by anyone for the purpose of paying courtesy calls on Mr. Qadhafi.'' [Reuters]
10 July 1998: Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi is back at work after an operation to repair a broken hip, the official Libyan news agency JANA reported today. Qadhafi, 56, is in good condition and has started physical therapy on his hip, which he broke while exercising, JANA said in a report from the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Qadhafi carried out his routine duties today and received foreign guests, JANA said. [AP]
10 July 1998: Major Abdussalam Jalloud arrived in al-Baida to see Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi who is recovering from hip surgery. In other news, Jalloud's daughter is in Switzerland recovering from injuries she suffered in a car accident in Tripoli. One of her girl friends died in the accident.
10 July 1998: Italy said on Thursday it had signed an accord with Libya to close a dark chapter of the colonial past and open a bright era of dynamic relations. "The document sets out, on Italy's side, to express regret for past events and, on both sides, to demonstrate determination to create a neighbourly relationship which excludes hostile acts against each other,'' the Italian Foreign Ministry said. "With the joint document, the Libyan side also confirms there will no longer be grounds for dispute or polemic about the past,'' it said in a statement. [Reuters]
10 July 1998: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, accompanied by a party of doctors, had advance permission to fly to Libya Thursday from the U.N. Security Council committee that oversees sanctions against Libya, a committee source said. The committee source said the Egyptian U.N. mission on Wednesday morning requested permission for a flight to take Mubarak and a team of four or five doctors to Libya. [Reuters]
9 July 1998: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived at a Libyan airport on Thursday in apparent defiance of U.N. sanctions on flights to and from Libya. In a live broadcast from the eastern airport of al-Abraq, near the city of Beida, Libyan state television showed the arrival of the Egyptian presidential plane. [Reuters]
7 July 1998: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has undergone successful surgery for a broken hip suffered when he was exercising, the Libyan official news agency JANA said on Tuesday. Qadhafi, 56, broke his hip Monday and doctors had said he would be operated on shortly afterward. "The surgery carried out by Libyan doctors on a broken left hip was successful,'' the agency said. [Reuters]
7 July 1998: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi suffered a fracture while exercising on Monday but received delegates from Moslem countries in Libya to mark the birth of the Prophet Mohammad, Libya's state-run television said. In a live broadcast monitored in neighbouring Tunisia, the television showed Qadhafi lying in bed in a meeting room in the city of al-Beida, some 800 km (500 miles) east of Tripoli. The BBC quoted Qadhafi's doctor as saying the Libyan leader suffered a minor hip fracture while exercising and would undergo surgery after the news conference. Qaddafi was unable to lead special prayers at al-Beida's Bilal mosque to mark the Prophet's birth, the television said. [Reuters]
7 July 1998: A Chad airliner carrying the interior minister has landed in Libya, breaching a U.N. air embargo, state-run Libyan television said on Monday. The television, monitored in neighbouring Tunisia, said the plane carried Interior Minister Abderahman Salah came directly from the Chadian capital Ndjamena to the airport of el-Abraq, near al-Beida, some 800 km (500 miles) east of Tripoli. The minister was to join special prayers led by Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi at Beida's Bilal mosque to mark the birth of the Prophet Mohammad. [Reuters]
7 July 1998: Several African presidents and U.S. Moslem activist leader Louis Farrakhan arrived in Libya to join special Islamic prayers led by Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, state television said on Monday. Monitored in neighbouring Tunisia, the television said presidents Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone and Farrakhan arrived early on Monday while Gambian President Yahya Jammeh had come on Sunday. The television said they were among African presidents expected to participate in prayers on the occasion of el-Mailoud, marking the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. [Reuters]

6 July 1998: The three main faction leaders in Somalia are on their way to Libya for talks with Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on how to implement a peace agreement signed in Cairo last December. So far the faction leaders -- Ali Mahdi Mohammed, Hussein Aideed and Osman Ali Atto -- have been unable to establish a joint administration for Mogadishu or re-open the air and sea ports in Somalia. In an unusual move, all three rivals are reported to be travelling on the same plane. They're accompanied by a big group of business and religious leaders. Somalia has had no central government since factional fighting began in 1991. [BBC]
6 July 1998: Italy is seeking to normalise relations with Libya in the hope that such bilateral links can help her return into the international fold. The hope that Italy could start to thaw Libya's icy relations with much of the rest of the world surfaced after the latest meeting of a joint commission which ended on Saturday. "The return of Libya to cooperation with the international community, which Italy hopes for, will happen by observing the pertinent resolutions of the UN and well as by a full normalisation of relations between Libya and Italy,'' an Italian statement said. [Reuters]

5 July 1998: Italy said on Saturday that Libya would have to abide by United Nations resolutions if it wanted to return fully to the fold of the international community. The stand came in a statement by the foreign ministry at the end of the sixth meeting of a bilateral commission between the two countries headed by their foreign ministers, Lamberto Dini and Omar Mustafa El-Muntasser [pictured.] "The return of Libya to cooperation with the international community, which Italy hopes for, will happen by observing the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations...,'' the Italian statement said. [Reuters] For more details [in Arabic - al-Hayat] please click here
4 July 1998: The Libyan Movement for Change and Reform "al-Harakah al-Libiyah lil-Taghyeer wal-Islah" newsletter latest issue reports that Major Abdussalam Jalloud is in Switzerland. According to the LMCR newsletter, Jalloud is residing in a Swiss hospital for treatment.
3 July 1998: The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has called on the Libyan authorities to reveal the whereabouts of at least one-hundred people arrested on suspicion of opposition political activities last month. Amnesty says most of them were taken at night from their homes in eastern Libya. They include university lecturers, engineers, doctors and other professionals. Amnesty says they appear to have been arrested simply because of suspicions that they support the Libyan Islamic Group -- a banned Islamist movement which is not known to have used or advocated violence. [BBC]
3 July 1998: The United Nations Security Council on Thursday decided not to lift sanctions against Libya, despite warnings from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) that its members might do so unilaterally in September. The sanctions were imposed on Libya in 1992 for failing to extradite two men accused in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. Council President Sergei Lavrov of Russia said ``members of the council could not agree that necessary conditions exist to change the sanctions regime'' at their review of the embargoes, conducted every 120 days. [Reuters]

2 July 1998: The Clinton administration is urging African governments to turn down an invitation from Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to attend a ceremony next week honoring the birthday of the prophet Mohammed. Qadhafi sent out invitations to Muslim leaders throughout Africa for the 6 July event in an apparent attempt to test international resolve in enforcing a U.N. travel ban against Libya. The invitations were issued after the Organization of African Unity expressed disapproval of the travel ban at its summit meeting in Burkina Faso three weeks ago. [AP]

1 July 1998: Morocco's King Hassan met the Libyan special envoy Colonel Ahmed Qadhaf Addam over bilateral relations, a Moroccan official said on Tuesday. The meeting, which took place at the royal palace of Rabat on Monday evening was attended by other Moroccan officials, including the Foreign Minister Abdellatif Filali, he said but gave no other details. The visit coincided with preparations aimed at holding a meeting of the high joint commission this week in Rabat, the official said. [Reuters]
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