News and Views

August 1997

31 August 1997: The Libyan League for Human Rights [based in Geneva, Switzerland] issued a communique in the occasion of "the 28th anniversary of the overthrow of the Libyan civil government," in which the LLHR said that "for the twenty eighth consecutive year, and ever since the violent overthrow of the Libyan civil Government on 1st September 1969, the Human Rights situation in Libya has continued to worsen every year. 1996-1997 is not, unfortunately, an exception as it is considered by independent observers to be the worst ever." To view a full text of the LLHR's communique, please click here
31 August 1997: Tomorrow [1st of September] is the 28th anniversary of the Libyan revolution. 1st September 1969, the Broadcasting of Kingdom of Libya radio station in Benghazi Libya , 6:00 AM, A programme of light music "Good Morning" "Sabahil-Khair" had been scheduled to go on the air as usual at six o'clock ... But nothing was on the air ... then came strains of martial music followed by the voice of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi: "Your armed forces have toppled the reactionary, backward and corrupt regime ... As of now Libya shall be free and sovereign. A republic under the name of the Libyan Arab Republic ..." A Revolutionary Command Council of twelve officers was formed [see photo, Aboubaker Younis is not shown] and replaced the Libyan civil government lead by King Idris who was vacationing in Turkey at that time. For more details, please click here
30 August 1997: The leader of a Libyan militant group fighting to overthrow Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has been killed while in detention, a newspaper reported Friday. Abu Tariq al-Dirnawi died in June after being detained in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, Al-Hayat newspaper said. It did not say how al-Dirnawi was killed. Al-Dirnawi had led the Libyan Martyrs Movement, a shadowy group that claimed responsibility for several attacks in and around Benghazi in 1996. He became leader of the group in June 1996 after his predecessor, Mohammed al-Hamy, was killed in a clash with police, al-Hayat said. [AP] For more details [in Arabic-al-Hayat] please click here
30 August 1997: The Libyan official news agency JANA denounced a speech made by former United States president Jimmy Carter at a press conference held in Malta, in which he called for the continuation of sanctions and penalties imposed upon Libya until it delivers the two suspects in the1988 Lockerbie plane bombing. JANA added that the appeal for continuing sanctions against Libya is in opposition to the morality, ethics and human rights which Carter normally works for, Al Ahrar daily reported today.
28 August 1997: Italian police have arrested a Libyan man wanted in Germany in the 1986 bombing of a Berlin discotheque. senior police officials said Wednesday. The man under arrest, named as Musbah Abulgasem Eter [pictured] is believed to be the last fugitve wanted by German authorities for a direct role in the attack. He was detained as he walked along a street in Rome Tuesday afternoon. [Reuter] For more details [in Arabic] please click here
26 August 1997: A Libyan [opposition] group told al-hayat that Libyan authorities killed 15 members of al-Jama'a al-Islamiyah [the Islamic Group.] Harakat al-Wataniyeen al-Libiyeen [the Libyan Nationalists Movement] said that some of the Islamic Group's centers in Tripoli were attacked. For more details [in Arabic] please click here

24 August 1997: A Libyan [opposition] figure in exile told al-Hayat newspaper that some anti-Qadhafi Libyan nationalists tried to assasinate Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi early this month. Idris al-Sanousi, a member of the late king Idris' family, told al-Hayat that the assasination attempt, during which three of al-Qadhafi's body guards were killed, happened in the town of Abougrain on the 8th of August. For more details [in Arabic] please click here
23 August 1997: Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee member Zakaria El-Agha announced in the Egyptian "al-Ahram" newspaper that he delivered a verbal message from Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to his Libyan counterpart, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, during a visit to Libya as part of a delegation of representatives from the various Palestinian ministries. In the message, Arafat expressed his hope of resuming Libyan-Palestinian ties as before, Agha said, After it was agreed with Libyan authorities to end the problems that have affected Palestinian migrant labor force.
23 August 1997: Hong Kong gave notice on Friday that it would uphold United Nations sanctions against Libya in line with China's diplomatic obligations. China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong from Britain last July. Although Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy, Beijing is responsible for its foreign affairs.
18 August 1997: Al-Hayat reports that Libyan officials are asking Egyptian officials if an article published in the Egyptian "al-Jomhoriya" newspaper reflects Cairo's government's opinion. Al-Jomhoriya newspaper attacked Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and his system of government. Although the paper's article was signed, it is well known that no such article would be published without first been approved by Cairo's government.
New pages on Libya: Khaled's Libya Page || Hussain's Libya Page
The Society for Libyan Studies and Lepcis Magna Excavations

17 August 1997: Libya, Niger, Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso agreed at a summit in the Libyan capital Tripoli to set up an economic regional grouping, a spokesman said on Saturday. "The five heads of states have reached a decision favouring closer ties between their countries and have instructed their foreign affairs ministers to discuss practical ways for its implementation,'' said Niger's Foreign Affairs Minister. [Reuter and al-Hayat]
For more details [in Arabic - al-Hayat] please click here
16 August 1997: Egyptian Interior Minister Hassan Al Alfi met the secretary of the Libyan general popular security committee, Mohamed Al Hegazi, in Egypt to hold talks on consolidating cooperation between the two countries' security and police. It is beleived that the two sides discussed ways of fighting anti-government militant activities. Libya and Egypt's rulers have been facing real opposition from some Islamic militant groups lately.
16 August 1997: Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi on Friday opened a summit with Chad, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso to discuss closer ties in the region. The five heads of state met behind closed doors, Libyan officials said. The summit would end on Sunday. [Reuter]
15 August 1997: The Industrial Company for Building (Dong-A) of South Korea accused the Libyan government of not living up to its agreement for the right of supervising the third stage in the construction of a man made river project. The company, which spent 10 years finalizing the first stages of implementation of the canal project, was notified by the Libyan government about its decision to shop for other bidders to handle a 5 billion dollar contract for the third stage of construction.
14 August 1997: Britain on Wednesday denied it was considering new ways to end an impasse over the extradition of two Libyans suspected of blowing up a Pan Am airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. "There has been no change in policy,'' a foreign ministry spokesman said in response to an article in the Times newspaper which said the government was reconsidering its approach. [Reuter]
13 August 1997: Al-Hayat newspapper reports that a Libyan student in the Applied Engineering Institute in Tripoli killed an Iraqi instructor teaching in the same institute.
For more details [in Arabic] please click here
11 August 1997: Wakalat Anba' al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy met in Cairo Saturday with his Libyan counterpart and they discussed the timetable to link the power grids of the two countries. The two sides reviewed the timetables and the executive programs of linking the two power grids of Egypt and Libya. Work is under way to extend a linkage line between the Egyptian grid ending in al-Salloum to the Libyan grid ending in Tobruk, northeast Libya.
11 August 1997: Police in Genoa, Italy, have confiscated machinery parts illegally bound for Libya that could be used to manufacture missiles, Italian newspapers reported Sunday. The parts were components of a machine manufactured by a German company and were shipped from Vienna several months ago, the reports said. [AP]
11 August 1997: France Press reports that a Libyan national has been sentenced to death in The Philippines for rape.
10 August 1997: The National Front for the Salvation of Libya "al-Jabha al-Wataniya li-Inqath Libya" said in a press release that many residents of Benghazi , the second largest city in Libya, were arrested following last month's clash between Libyan security forces and anti-Qadhafi militants. The NFSL said that army tanks amd military vehicles became a daily sight in the city streets. For more details [in Arabuc,] please click here
9 August 1997: France Press reports that Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son has been appointed head of the Libyan Olympic Committee. In the Arab games in Lebanon last month Libya ended up with two medals, a silver and a bronze. In another news, the Libyan runner Ali za'id finished the International 5,000 metres semifinals race in 13:58:26 minutes. The winner, Ismail Sghyr (Morocco,) finished the race in 13:19:69 minutes.
9 August 1997: Today marks the 57th anniversary of the establishment of the Libyan army. Libyan leaders in exile held a meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on 7-9 August 1940 and announced the establishment of the Sanoussi force [the Libyan army]. For details on the establishment of the Libyan army and the liberation of Libya, please click here.
7 August 1997: France Press reports that some families of the victims of the 1988 Pan Am flight which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, may visit Libya for talks on the Lockerbie crash. Last June Libyan mission in the United Nations sent a letter to Lockerbie victims' families expressing the desire for resolving the Lockerbie crisis.
4 August 1997: Taiwan, which recently severed unofficial ties with Cambodia, plans to shut down several "ineffective'' overseas representative offices, its state-funded news agency reported on Monday. The Central News Agency quoted Foreign Minister John Chang as saying the ministry would close three to four unofficial offices abroad, including in Libya, as early as this week. [Reuter]
3 August 1997: Fifty seven years ago today [3 August 1940,] a letter was sent to Libyan leaders in exile inviting them to join in organizing a Libyan Arab force in order to restore to them their liberty and emancipate their country from the hands of the Italian oppressors, and to insure their independance. The letter, sent by Mohammad Idris al-Sanoussi [pictured,] requested Libyan leaders to come to Cairo on Thursday, August 8, 1940, to a meeting in order to discuss the assistance to be offered to the British forces to liberate Libya. A week later, Libyan leaders met and announced on 9 August 1940, the establishment of the Sanoussi force [the Libyan army]. For details on the establishment of the Libyan army and the liberation of Libya, please click here.

A new Libyan page on the Internet: Libyan Relief Fund

1 August 1997: The United States Attorney General Janet Reno, speaking for the United States, has formally rejected Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's latest offer to settle the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing by an international entity. The offer was contained in a letter sent to the families of the 270 victims in June, which Reno calls "a callous effort ..." The U.S. government believes two Libyan agents, still protected in Libya, set the bomb that destroyed the airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 270 people. The June letter from the Libyan U.N. mission to the families says "the government of the United States is neither interested in the incident nor does it care about the victims. Its main preoccupation has centered around the imposition of sanctions against Libya.'' Attached to the letter are Libyan offers to accept trial of the two suspects in a third country determined by the U.N. Security Council, trial under Scottish judges and law at the Hague or under a special criminal tribunal at the Hague. Reno says the U.S. position is a trial in the United States or in Britain. [Reuter]
1 August 1997: In its annual report, the Arab Organization of Human Rights said the human rights picture had deteriorated in 1996 in all but one of the 21 Arab countries and in the Palestinian territories. The report said that Iraq, Sudan and Libya have surpassed other Arab governments in abusing the rights of their citizens, including carrying out extrajudicial executions and secret arrests of opponents. It said repeated reports from Libya suggest the government still keeps thousands of dissidents without trial in prisons controlled by special security men. [AP]
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