News and Views [ July 1999 ]

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Letters: " Just a reminder!"

Friday: 30 July, 1999: The Clinton Administration approved a request for Occidental Petroleum to visit Libya and check on assets the company was forced to abandon in the mid-1980s, U.S. government sources told Reuters on Thursday. The travel license for Occidental executives was approved last week by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the source said. Libya plans to revise its petroleum laws and launch an international oil licensing round early next year. It has plans to open up 40 blocks in the one of the country's main oil fields to foreign leasing. Libya's oil minister has said that if U.S. companies return to his country, then Tripoli will return to the firms the fields they used to operate. [Reuters]
Letters: " Listen to Jebril's advice"

Thursday: 29 July, 1999: Libyan Foreign Minister Omar al-Montasser is back at work after several months off for medical treatment. Montasser was seen on Libyan state television late on Tuesday attending a meeting between Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Saud al-Faysal. Montasser has had an operation and is now well, Libyan officials said. The nature of the operation was not specified. The television, monitored in Tunis, said Faysal had handed Qadhafi a message from the Saudi leadership on bilateral and Arab issues. [Reuters]

Tuesday: 27 July, 1999: U.S. farmers will be able to compete for an estimated $2 billion in sales to Libya, Iran and Sudan under new rules that will become effective Tuesday, top Clinton administration officials said Monday. The long-awaited rules put in place a policy change announced by the Clinton administration on April 28 to exempt sales of food, medicine and medical equipment from U.S. economic sanctions. Libya, Iran and Sudan are forecast to import an estimated 12 million tons of grain in 1999/2000, U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Gus Schumacher said. U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Stuart Eizenstat told reporters the new regulations establish an expedited licensing procedure for bulk commodity sales to the three countries. [Reuters]
Statement by A Omar Turbi, Libyan American Human Rights Activist
Subcommittee on Africa Hearing, U.S. - Libya Relations: A New Era

Letters: " If all of us educated Libyans leave Libya, who will stay behind?"

Saturday: 24 July, 1999: Libya has decreed three days of mourning for King Hassan of Morocco who died on Friday, Libyan state-television announced. The television, monitored in Tunis, said that following a decision by the Libyan government, it would broadcast its programmes in black and white during the mourning period. [Reuters]

Saturday: 24 July, 1999: Tripoli has asked the Arab League to include a new topic under the title "Considering the Arab airspace as a united Arab one" in the agenda of the 112th session of the Arab League council, due to be held on September 4 and 5. An official at the AL general secretariat said the AL has enrolled this topic under joint Arab work issues. Tripoli attributed its request to the importance of releasing a decision by the AL council that provides for considering the Arab airspace as united in order to prevent reinforcement of any air embargo against any Arab state, separately, as well as to exempt the AL member states from implementing such an embargo if they are exposed to pressure by major world states. In its official memorandum to the AL, Libya stressed the importance of establishing a united Arab airline company with the participation of all Arab states. []
Letters: "These are the issues that people who care about Libya should raise"

Friday: 23 July, 1999: A friendly soccer match between Italian Serie A side Perugia and Libya's national team was abandoned on Thursday after a mass fight broke out between players. The match was interrupted after about 20 minutes when a foul on Perugia's Sergio Campolo sparked the brawl which also involved some members of the teams' staff. Italian news agency ANSA said Perugia goalkeeper Angelo Pagotto and two Libyan players, al-Hamruni and al-Merimi, were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. [Reuters]
Friday: 23 July, 1999: The United States plans to issue long-awaited rules this week that will allow for the sale of food, medicine and medical equipment to Libya, Iran and Sudan on a case-by-case basis, a Clinton administration aide said on Thursday. But some farm sectors that had been hoping to participate in the sales will not be allowed. ``We came down that food will be consumable items, although we're allowing for animal feed as well,'' the aide said. The definition prevents sales of U.S. cotton and tobacco to the three countries. The Clinton administration has decided on a ``pretty straightforward, narrow definition'' for medicine and medical equipment as well for food, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. [Reuters]

Text of U.S. President Clinton Letter to Congress on Libya

Wednesday: 21 July, 1999: Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has long styled himself as one of the Arab world's chief defenders against western dominance. But the message from his headquarters these days has little to do with the revolutionary themes that have sustained him during 30 years in power. Instead, it is this: Send tourists. And investors. And anyone else interested in helping end Libya's isolation and move it into the regional and global mainstream. "They do seem to be undergoing change," said Alastair King-Smith, charge d'affaires at the newly reopened British Embassy in Libya. "The people have not changed but the messages seem to be messages for normalizing all aspects of the relationship, allowing more foreign investment and generally freeing things up." [The Washington Post]
Wednesday: 21 July, 1999: A $4 billion engineering contract for the huge west Libya gas export project to Italy will be awarded in late August or early September at the latest, industry sources close to the project said on Tuesday. The award for a proposed 1,200 kilometre gas pipeline from Libya's southwestern Wafa field and offshore NC41 block to Italy has already been delayed twice from late May. The venture is the biggest to be developed in Libya's energy sector for many years ``There are no specific reasons for the delay, minor organisational problems only,'' said one source of the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract award. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 20 July, 1999: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh started yesterday an Arab tour in North Africa that is to include Libya and Algeria. Saleh will hold discussions in Libya with Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, leader of the Libyan revolution, that tackled relations between the two states and the development of situations in the area. []
Tuesday: 20 July, 1999: Tanzanian president Benjamin Mpaka arrived Sunday in Tripoli for a working visit in Libya whose duration has not been specified. During his stay, he will have talks with Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on developments in Africa, such as conflicts in certain regions of Africa, reliable sources said. Qadhafi is very committed to a search for solutions to these conflicts, especially that of the Congo, the sources added. [PANA]
Letters: “Important observations on the June-July meetings”

Monday: 19 July, 1999: Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said in a statement on the official news agency Jana that he had ``expressed my sorrow for the loss of John Kennedy Jr, son of the former president John Kennedy, and his wife.'' But he added: ``The thing which increased my sorrow is the failure of the USA in establishing the fate of John Kennedy the USA claims to know everything, however small, anywhere in the earth or in the space, with the huge resources of its communications and spying satellites...'' Qadhafi compared the U.S. effort with Libya's successful recovery of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat 15 hours after his plane crashed in the Libyan desert on April 7, 1992. [Reuters]
Letters: A letter from the Libyan Democrats Society

Saturday: 17 July, 1999: Libyan Leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived on Thursday in Tunis on an unannounced visit from Algiers, where he took part in the 35th Summit Conference of the Organization of African Unity. Soon after arrival, Qadhafi started talks with Tunisian president Zaine El-Abidine Ben Ali on bilateral relations and means of boosting cooperation between the two countries. The Libyan-Tunisian talks also tackled a number of regional, Arab-Maghreb, African and international issues of mutual concern. This is Qadhafi's first visit to Tunisia since the suspension of the seven-year air ban on Libya in connection with the Lockerbie crisis. [ArabicNews]
Saturday: 17 July, 1999: Libya has transferred more than 200 million francs ($31 million) to compensate the families of 170 people killed in the bombing in 1989 of a French UTA airliner over Africa, the French Foreign Ministry said on Friday. ``Libyan authorities have just transferred funds to France to compensate heirs of the victims of the attack on the UTA DC-10,'' the ministry said in a statement. The payment was ordered by a French court this year. ``French authorities note with satisfaction Libya's payment of this indemnity, a payment expressing an acknowledgement by the Libyan authorities of the responsibility of their citizens, in accordance with the rulings of French justice,'' it said. [Reuters]
Letters: " Comments on the June meeting and the ensuing controversy"

Thursday: 15 July, 1999: African leaders accepted an invitation by Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to hold an extraordinary summit in Libya in September, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on Wednesday. Bouteflika, the new chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), said the summit would be held early in September to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the revolution Qadhafi led to topple the Libyan monarchy. ``This extraordinary summit will be a source of comfort and to show solidarity with Libya which suffered an embargo under a logic that can not be justified,'' he told a news conference at the conclusion of a three-day OAU summit in Algiers. [Reuters]
Thursday: 15 July, 1999: African leaders Wednesday called on the UN Security Council to "immediately and permanently" lift sanctions against Libya now that the two Lockerbie bombing suspects were in the hands of a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. In a decision at the end of their three-day summit, the leaders supported Libya's demand for adequate guarantees and conditions to ensure a just and fair trial for the two suspects. [PANA]
The minutes of the second meeting at the UN-Libyan mission

Wednesday: 14 July, 1999: British authorities used covert fingerprinting to identify a suspect in the fatal shooting of a policewoman outside the Libyan embassy in 1984 but are unsure whether he is still alive, sources familiar with the events said. Britain agreed to resume diplomatic relations with Tripoli last week after Libya accepted responsibility for the killing, agreed to pay compensation and pledged to cooperate with a police probe. A former senior official in charge of the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that police had ``a fairly good idea'' who shot constable Yvonne Fletcher from inside the Libyan People's Bureau during a demonstration against Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in London on April 17, 1984. [Reuters]
Letters: " No to the dialogue with the UN-Libyan mission personnel"

Tuesday: 13 July, 1999: Libya's leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who arrived in Algiers on Saturday, wants African leaders to back his campaign for a full lifting of sanctions imposed after the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing over Scotland. The Security Council suspended the sanctions in April after Libya handed over two suspects for trial for the bombing. African leaders agreed in 1998 to ignore a ban on flights to Libya. African foreign ministers, preparing for the three-day summit, said Libya had fulfilled all the conditions required for the lifting of sanctions. [Reuters]
Monday: 12 July, 1999: African leaders gathered Sunday for an historic Organization of African Unity summit to discuss daunting problems plaguing the world's poorest continent as it prepares to enter the 21st century. Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who has not taken part since 1977, arrived Saturday after trying to bring the leaders of warring Eritrea and Ethiopia together for pre-summit peace talks. Qadhafi played an important part in African peacemaking over the past year. Libyan officials attribute his interest in black Africa to its support for his efforts to end U.N. sanctions imposed after the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing. [Reuters]

Sunday: 11 July, 1999: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi arrived in Algiers on Saturday to take part in a summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which starts on Monday, state-run radio said. Qadhafi, who is trying to bring warring Ethiopia and Eritrea together, will be participating in an OAU summit for the first time since 1977. He will be staying in downtown Algiers as a guest of the Algerian government before moving to his tent, pitched near the summit venue outside the Algerian capital, officials said. ``Qadhafi is now the guest of the government and will stay in his tent afterwards, as he refuses to stay in the Sheraton hotel which he says is a sample of American imperialism,'' an official said. [Reuters]
Sunday: 11 July, 1999: Saudi Arabia urged the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to lift sanctions on Libya, saying Tripoli had responded ``positively'' to U.N. resolutions over the bombing of an American airliner in 1988. ``Saudi Arabia hopes that positive steps by Libya will be taken into consideration...and calls on the Security Council to take immediate action to fully lift the sanctions,'' Saudi state televison quoted an unnamed official as saying in a statement. [Reuters]
Letters: " True democratic form of government"

Saturday: 10 July, 1999: The U.N. Security Council complimented the government of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Friday for its cooperation in the Lockerbie bombing case and promised to lift U.N. sanctions as soon as possible. But the United States blocked an effort from six developing countries, led by Namibia, to lift immediately the sanctions, now suspended, threatening to veto their resolution. [Reuters]
Saturday: 10 July, 1999: Two U.S. oil companies are seeking permission to travel to Libya to survey assets they were forced to leave behind because of U.S. economic sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department said Friday. Treasury spokeswoman Beth Weaver said the requests were pending before the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which must decide on travel permits because of a law passed by Congress in 1985 to punish Libya for its support of international terrorism. Weaver refused to provide the names of the companies involved or say when Treasury might rule on the two requests. [AP]
Saturday: 10 July, 1999: Britain's decision to restore diplomatic ties with Libya drew a generally positive domestic reaction on Thursday but there was some criticism of a U.S. refusal to follow suit. A former head of London's police force told the BBC that repaired relations would enable an investigation to go ahead into the fatal shooting in 1984 of a British policewoman outside the Libyan embassy, the incident which provoked the break. ``I actually welcome the resumption of diplomatic relations, it enables police to reopen this inquiry,'' said Peter Imbert, who was the capital's chief of police when the policewoman died. [Reuters]
Saturday: 10 July, 1999: Russia hopes to supply Libya with a number of MiG-31 interceptor jets, the head of a Russian aircraft manufacturer was quoted as saying on Wednesday. Interfax news agency quoted Vasily Pankov, general director of the Sokol aircraft-making plant, as saying permission was granted for foreign sales of the MiG-31 last year. He did not say how far talks with Libya had progressed and gave no other details. [Reuters]
Letters: " Reagan and Thatcher agression of 1986"

Friday: 9 July, 1999: A senior Libyan official was quoted as saying Thursday that Tripoli welcomed Britain's decision to restore diplomatic ties, but that no conditions were attached to the move. ``...The resumption of natural ties between (Libya) and the United Kingdom is welcomed,'' the official news agency JANA quoted Abderrahman Chalgham, Secretary for Foreign Affairs at the General People's Congress Secretariat, as saying. ``At the same time, the Secretariat affirms that there was no commitment for any condition or other things, except the agreement on resuming ties between the two countries,'' Chalgham added in Libya's first public response to Wednesday's announcement in London. Britain said it was resuming ties with Libya after 15 years because Tripoli had agreed to cooperate in the investigation of the murder of Woman Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher, 25, and pay compensation. [Reuters]
Friday: 9 July, 1999: British executives are hopping over to Libya on the first direct flights for years, to cash in on an expected trade boom now sanctions are suspended and diplomatic ties restored. For Libya, the end of U.N. sanctions in April should herald a new era of increased business with the outside world. For Britain, the resumption of diplomatic relations on Wednesday means its companies are now as free as their main European rivals to capitalise on a key Arab market. ``The end of sanctions is sure to increase foreign business in Libya, particularly on the energy side,'' said Walter Drysdale, who is organising a trade mission to Libya next week, the first in which British government officials will take part. [Reuters]
Friday: 9 July, 1999: The United States found supporters Wednesday in its quest to prevent sanctions on Libya from being lifted and vowed to block any resolution now that might remove the embargoes permanently. Several Security Council members said they backed a U.S. statement welcoming Libyan progress in settling the 1988 Pan Am bombing case but demanding that Tripoli meet more U.N. demands before sanctions are lifted. Sanctions ``should be lifted because Libya really met all its obligations towards the Security Council resolutions,'' Libyan Ambassador Abuzed Omar Dorda said. [AP]
Letters: " A dialogue may be a good thing"

Thursday: 8 July, 1999: The UK has announced it is restoring full diplomatic links with Libya after a break of 15 years. The move follows the Libyan Government's acceptance of "general responsibility" for the killing of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot dead outside its London embassy in 1984. It has also agreed to pay substantial compensation to the Fletcher family and to co-operate in the investigation to find the killer. The compensation is understood to reach six figures, although the actual amount is not being revealed. [BBC]
Thursday: 8 July, 1999: Libya's U.N. ambassador on Wednesday attributed Libya's thaw in relations with Britain to Tripoli's surrender of two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing case and said it was time U.N. sanctions were lifted. Ambassador Abuzed Omar Dorda said a resumption of ties with Britain, announced by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, ``is the natural thing.'' Dorda was reacting to Cook's announcement on Wednesday that London was resuming diplomatic relations with Libya after Tripoli agreed to cooperate in police investigations into the 1984 shooting of a British policewoman outside Libya's embassy in London. Cook told parliament Libya had also agreed to pay compensation for the killing. [Reuters]
Thursday: 8 July, 1999: The United States threatened on Wednesday to veto any Security Council attempt to lift sanctions against Libya and said it was too soon to resume formal ties with Tripoli as Britain had done. Chief U.S. envoy Peter Burleigh said the 15-seat council should instead adopt a statement noting Libya's adherence to some conditions for lifting sanctions, particularly the April surrender of two suspects in the 1988 mid-air bombing of a U.S. airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. [Reuters]
Thursday: 8 July, 1999: The United States will not follow Britain's example and resume ties with Libya, at least until Tripoli offers compensation for the Americans killed over Lockerbie in 1988, the State Department said on Wednesday. Britain is reopening diplomatic relations after 15 years because Tripoli has agreed to cooperate in police investigations into the fatal shooting in 1984 of a British policewoman outside Libya's embassy in London. In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman James Foley noted the Libyan concessions and said the United States would seek the same for the families of victims of Pan Am flight 103, which blew up over Lockerbie in Scotland. [Reuters]
Letters: " Very pleased to see some initiative taking place"

Wednesday: 7 July, 1999: Libya demanded on Tuesday that the United Nations lift sanctions against it, noting that it had surrendered two men accused of the midair bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. ``The politicization of this legal dispute, in whatever form or by anyone, is not acceptable,'' Libya's U.N. Ambassador Abuzed Omar Dorda said in a nine-page letter to the 15-member U.N. Security Council. The council on Wednesday intends to discuss a Friday report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said that Libya had complied with many of the council's demands but that he was unable to make a recommendation on lifting the sanctions. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 7 July, 1999: Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic has been turned down for asylum by four countries, a former Yugoslavian prime minister said Monday. Milan Panic, 69, a leading member of the Yugoslavian opposition, said efforts to find a new home for Milosevic in Libya, Russia and South Africa had failed. ``[Libyan leader Mu'ammar] al-Qadhafi did not want him,'' Panic said. ``Then we thought of South Africa, but they also rejected the idea. The Russians do not even want to talk about it. Now China has also rejected him." [Chicago Sun -Times]
Letters: " Here we go again !"

Tuesday: 6 July, 1999: Rwandan Vice President Paul Kagame says a solution to Kinshasa's civil war must include disarming Hutu militia and former Rwandan government troops who carried out the 1994 genocide and now operate from bases in Congo. ``They should be disarmed by the United Nations, by (Libyan leader Mu'ammar) al-Qadhafi or by (Congolese President Laurent) Kabila and his allies or some other organisation. If not, we have no alternative, we are going to look for them and fight them,'' Kagame said. [Reuters]
Letters: "The New York meeting: Reaction of a Participant ?"

Monday: 5 July, 1999: Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to a Libyan peace plan aimed at ending their 13-month border conflict, the state-run Libyan television reported Friday. The two countries have agreed to "an immediate halt to all military operations in preparation for the signing of a comprehensive cease-fire," said the report. The television report said the agreement came after two days of shuttle diplomacy by Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Attraiki. [Salt Lake Tribune]
Sunday: 4 July, 1999: Families of victims of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet will be sent to the Netherlands to attend the trial of two Libyans accused of the crimes. Travel and other expenses will be covered by a U.S. fund made up of fines collected from convicted Americans, Kathryn Turman, of the Justice Department's office for victims of crime, said Friday. [AP]
Saturday: 3 July, 1999: With the United States opposed to lifting sanctions against Libya, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday was unable to determine whether Libya had fulfilled requirements for lifting sanctions completely. In a report to the Security Council, Annan, as expected, said Washington needed further evidence that Libya had renounced terrorism, among other issues. But he said Britain was satisfied with Tripoli's response to date. He also said France reported Libya had cooperated with its investigation on the crash of UTA Flight 772, which exploded over Niger in 1989, killing 170 people. Paris has tried the suspects in absentia. [Reuters]
Saturday: 3 July, 1999: British MPs have pulled out of a UK trade mission to Libya on Foreign Office advice. The mission, organised by the British-Libyan Business Group (BLBG) is the first to the region since the United Nations lifted sanctions against Libya following the handing over of the two Lockerbie bombing suspects in April. According to The Guardian, firms in the BLBG believe the MPs' withdrawal will diminish the prestige of the mission and will hinder their efforts to win business from Libya. However, the Foreign Office told the group of Labour and Tory politicians that their trip would be at odds with on-going negotiations over the murder of British police officer WPC Yvonne Fletcher. The week-long UK trade mission to Tripoli is due to begin Sunday without the MPs. A group of 17 companies including Lloyds Bank and Tate and Lyle are thought to be taking part. [BBC]
Saturday: 3 July, 1999: The United States said Thursday it would oppose lifting U.N. sanctions against Libya - regardless of the conclusions of a report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on whether Libya deserves to be permanently free of the measures. Annan's report comes three months after Libya turned over two suspects wanted in the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Security Council suspended the sanctions after the handover, but Libya, eager for international recognition, wants them lifted permanently. [AP]
Saturday: 3 July, 1999: Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) ministers urged the U.N. Security Council to end sanctions against Libya, and backed Libyan claims for damages caused by the embargo and a U.S. bombing raid in 1986. The ministers, wrapping up their annual meeting in Burkina Faso late on Thursday, backed Libya and Iran in a dispute with the United States over the U.S. Iran-Libya Sanctions Act -- the so-called D'Amato law -- which allows sanctions on companies investing in the two countries' oil and gas sectors. On Libya, the ministers urged the Security Council "to take immediate steps to lift the embargo once and for all.'' [Reuters]
A letter concerning the mid-June meeting in New York

Friday: 2 July, 1999: The Clinton Administration is ``weeks'' away from issuing new rules that would allow U.S. exporters to sell food and medicine to Iran, Sudan and Libya, a top U.S. government official said on Thursday. ``We are in the very, very final stages'' of issuing the rules, Stuart Eizenstat, Undersecretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, told a Senate Foreign Relations committee. He would not give a specific date except to say the regulations will be finalised in ``weeks.'' Several weeks ago, the State Department official said that he expected the rules would be released by the end of June. [Reuters]

Thursday: 1 July, 1999: Scottish judges Wednesday rejected a claim by the two suspects of the Lockerbie airliner bombing that they would not get a fair trial because a newspaper reported Libya's leader had ordered the attack. Lawyers for the Libyan pair held in the Netherlands said their forthcoming trial was prejudiced by a report in Britain's Sunday Times saying it had ``clear evidence'' Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi directed the 1988 attack which killed 270 people. A panel of three judges at the Scottish High Court in Edinburgh ruled the Sunday Times was not in contempt of court because the trial was taking place before a panel of Scottish judges and not a jury, court officials said. [AP]

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