News and Views [ September 1999 ]

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Wednesday: 29 September, 1999: On July 14, 1980, the CIA's top official in Rome reportedly hustled over to the office of General Zeno Tascio, the head of Italian Air Force intelligence, who suggested that a team of U.S. government experts be sent to inspect the wreckage of a Libyan MiG-23 that had crashed in southern Italy. Another plane, an Italian DC-9 commercial jetliner with 81 passengers and crew, also had crashed in the sea in the same region. Over the past two decades, questions surrounding the date and other aspects of that crash and its possible connection to the DC-9 crash have provoked broad speculation in Italy, giving birth to a minor cottage industry of conspiracy theories and at least three official inquiries. Last month, an independent Italian magistrate issued a 5,000-page report that essentially accuses the U.S. and Italian governments of covering up the circumstances surrounding the crashes. It suggests that NATO military aircraft, most likely American, were in a dogfight with the Libyan MiG over the Tyrrhenian Sea and may have inadvertently caused the crash of the commercial jetliner, which was flying in the same area. [The Washington Post]
Wednesday: 29 September, 1999: President Laurent-Desire Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo left Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli, Tuesday afternoon at the end of a one-day visit to Libya. During his visit, he discussed with Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi issues concerning the peace accord he signed with rebels to end the war in his country. Libyan television reported that the two leaders identified "positive developments" without providing details. Kabila said he discussed with Qadhafi possibilities of further developing bilateral relations between the two countries. [PANA]

Tuesday: 28 September, 1999: How long the system [in Libya] can sustain itself without diversifying or convincing foreign capital and expertise to return is the question Qadhafi and his advisers face as the population of 5.5 million continues growing and their revolution reaches middle age. Unlike the prophecies splashed on countless posters and symbolized in one creepy statue here [in Tripoli,] with oversize spiders crawling over books representing communism and capitalism, the Green Book's "Third Universal Theory" has yet to spread beyond the country seized by Qadhafi and a few followers who toppled the monarchy. The cracks in the system are becoming obvious, but the system is making some compromises to the leader's principles in order to stay afloat. Some of the same oil companies and multinational firms that left Libya during the last decade are being courted back. Libyans say laws have been eased to make it easier for businesses to open and to hire workers for conventional wages, a change from a system that in theory requires a sort of forced profit sharing. [The Washington Post]
Just a Thaught

Monday: 27 September, 1999: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who has been accused for years by America of sponsoring terrorism - a peacemaker? Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, surprised at weak Arab support during UN-imposed sanctions, has re-created a role for himself among African nations. In Africa, a continent riven with conflict, Mr. Qadhafi has been playing exactly that role - bolstering his aim to become a regional leader. Decades of support for African liberation and rebel groups has given Libya a strong influence in many African nations. Qadhafi appears to be orchestrating a makeover designed to reestablish Libya as a regional power and dispel its "bad boy" image in the West. "It is not only cosmetic: When Qadhafi is involved in the peace processes in Congo or Eritrea, they welcome him, they don't reject him," says a Western diplomat in Tripoli. "The Africans take [Qadhafi] in a very serious way, and want to be seen to be close to him, while in the West they still think of the old images [that link Libya to terrorism]. They are not aware of the changes of the last 1-1/2 years." [The Christian Science Monitor]
Sunday: 26 September, 1999: Officials in Libya talk of a new climate of openness to the world. For Khalifa Abuzeyd, production manager of the National Textile Company, that means dreams of exporting his company's pajamas and sportswear to Western Europe. For Nouri Shebani, manager of the Gortoba Center for Rehabilitation of Children, it means increased contacts with European specialists on physical and occupational therapy for youngsters with cerebral palsy. For almost everyone, there is an almost palpable sense of hope that Libya's status as a world pariah may be coming to an end now that the Lockerbie suspects are finally going to trial in the Netherlands. "We believe the world needs us and we need the world, just like any other country," Shebani said. "We want to be open very much." [ Full text: Los Angeles Times ]
Dorda's initiativePoints need to be clarifiedA reply to Buisier

Saturday: 25 September, 1999: A two-day symposium on the joint Arab market is to start today in the Libyan capital Tripoli, organized by the Arab Council of Economic Unity in association with the Academy of High Studies and Research in the Libyan Republic. The symposium will discuss the positive developments in the Arab economies during recent years in the investment and production fields, which reflected the success of the structural correction policies implemented by the Arab states to provide an adequate economic atmosphere for increasing average economic growth and achieving welfare for the Arab people, in addition to the privatization experiments in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. [ArabicNews.Com]
Saturday: 25 September, 1999: Key OPEC ministers said that their meeting starting on Wednesday will not see any adjustment in OPEC's output cut agreement despite the current price strength. Venezuelan Energy and Mines Minister Ali Rodriguez said on arrival in Vienna on Sunday he wanted the current output cuts to remain in place. His remarks echoed those of OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia that it was concerned more about keeping supply curbs to work off excess stockpiles, rather than how high prices were. Libya's minister Abdullah al-Badri said he was in favour of keeping the cuts until April 2000. ``It is not a matter of price. We want to compensate for our losses,'' he said. [Reuters]

Feature: The Taste of Freedom

Friday: 24 September, 1999: U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said on Thursday he will host a summit of African energy ministries to discuss energy investments in the region. The three-day conference, to be held in Tucson, Arizona December 13-15, will include government officials from every African nation, expect Libya and Sudan, Richardson said. The two nations are not being invited because they are on the State Department's list of countries that sponsor terrorism. Richardson said he hopes the conference will result in agreements on new energy investments, climate change issues and integrating Africa's electric power grid. [Reuters]
Thursday: 23 September, 1999: Britain's biggest trade mission to Libya since diplomatic ties were broken off 15 years ago heads for Tripoli next month hoping to forge lucrative business contracts from renewed political goodwill. More than 50 delegates from oil, gas, construction and engineering companies will visit Libya, lured by the promise of an oil-exporting economy opening up to international business. The trip, from October 3-7, comes less than three months after the two countries announced they were resuming diplomatic relations when Tripoli agreed to cooperate in investigations into the death of a British policewoman in 1984. ``The trade mission could not be better timed,'' the trade mission's co-leader Sir Jeremy Hanley said on Wednesday. ``Libya is in the process of enjoying an economic renaissance and is actively seeking out business partners to explore the possibilities of joint venture.'' [Reuters]
Letters: " We no longer accept closed doors, dark cloaked meetings "

Wednesday: 22 September, 1999: Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi said Libya is ready to help Indonesia if foreign forces attempted to harm Indonesia's territorial sovereignty, especially as a result of the political crisis in East Timor. "The bilateral relations between Libya and Indonesia are not only based on true fiendship, but also on 'ukhuwah Islamiyah' (universal Moslem unity and harmony)," Libyan Charge d'Affaires Abdul-Latif Siddiq said during the celebration of his country's 30th National Day in Jakarta on Monday night. According to Abdul Latif, under Islamic law, if a part of Moslems were hurt, the other parts also suffer. "This also applies to the relations between Libya and Indonesia," he said. (Asia Pulse)
Wednesday: 22 September, 1999: Ghana criticised American policy in Cuba and Libya on Tuesday and called for an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Foreign Minister Victor Gbeho also said it was time for the international community to do as much in Africa as it has done in other regions, particularly the Balkans. `We have seen in the past few months the kind of resources that the world has been willing and able to mobilise in the Balkans at short notice,'' he told the U.N. General Assembly shortly after President Clinton spoke. ``We do not see the same response to the tragedies of Africa,'' he said. Gbeho said that the Security Council should completely lift sanctions against Tripoli ``as a matter of urgency'' because Libya handed over for trial in the Netherlands last April two suspects accused of the 1988 mid-air bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 22 September, 1999: South Africa was considering opening an embassy in Libya, the National Assembly's foreign affairs committee was told on Monday. "Whether you like it or not, Colonel Qadhafi will have an impact on Africa," South Africa's ambassador to the Organisation of African Unity, Kingsley Mamabolo, told MPs. He was briefing them about the OAU's extraordinary summit in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte earlier this month. Mambolo told MPs that Qadhafi felt betrayed by the Arab states and had decided to focus on Africa instead, as he felt its leaders had stood by him during his confrontation with the West over the Lockerbie bombing issue, and the United Nations sanctions imposed on his country. "Qadhafi needs to be taken seriously. There's a lot we can gain. He sees us as a strategic partner and we must exploit this." [SAPA]
Wednesday: 22 September, 1999: South Africa's newly elected ambassador to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) raised eyebrows in Parliament yesterday by saying that that Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's call for a "United States of Africa" was an example of his tendency to make "hasty decisions" and to be "overly enthusiastic". According to Mamabolo, Qadhafi recently told delegates at a youth conference in Libya that young people should attempt to "overthrow their governments" because they are all corrupt. He was particularly sceptical of Qadhafi's calls for a single African currency, a single African central bank and one African army. Pallo Jordan asked Mamabolo whether his department had given any thought to the issue of how to implement Qadhafi's ideas. Mamabolo said that the Libyan leader's proposals, in his opinion, "made a lot of sense". However, Qadhafi seemed to want to implement his ideas tomorrow and this clearly was not possible. South Africa saw Qadhafi as a strategic partner and the country could benefit from this, Mamabolo said. [The Sowetan / Johannesburg]
Just an idea I am not selfish my friend Execuse me!

Tuesday: 21 September, 1999: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi left Egypt on Monday after talks with President Hosni Mubarak on Arab and African issues, state television said. It said Qadhafi flew back to Tripoli from the Mediterranean town of Borg al-Arab, where he had a working lunch with Mubarak at his private residence. The television said the leaders had discussed the results of this month's Organisation of African Unity summit in Tripoli at which Qadhafi called for a United States of Africa. [Reuters]
Tuesday: 21 September, 1999: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi flew to Egypt on Monday for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, presidential sources said. They said Qadhafi would have a working lunch with Mubarak at his private residence in the Mediterranean town of Borg al-Arab before flying back to Tripoli. Qadhafi wanted to congratulate Mubarak on escaping from an assassination attempt earlier this month in which he was reported to have been slightly hurt by a man who knifed him in Port Said, the sources said. The two leaders were also expected to discuss progress made by a Libyan-Egyptian initiative to promote reconciliation in Sudan racked by 16 years of civil war. The trip is Qadhafi's second to Egypt since the suspension in April of U.N. sanctions imposed on Libya in 1992. [Reuters]

Monday: 20 September, 1999: The head of a French victims' group on Sunday accused France of caving in to Libya by trying Libyan citizens in absentia for the 1989 bombing of a French passenger jet that killed 170 people. At a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the bombing over the Niger desert, Francoise Rudetzki noted that, by contrast, Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am passenger jet will be present for their trial in the Netherlands. The United States ``knew how to negotiate an accord with Libya,'' she told families of victims of the bombing of the UTA passenger jet. A suit filed by the victims' group against Qadhafi for complicity in homicide is making its way through the judicial system. The state prosecutor recommended the suit be thrown out because Qadhafi, as head of state, has immunity. [AP]
Monday: 20 September, 1999: Some Arab states are close to boycotting Walt Disney Co after the U.S. entertainment giant failed to address concerns over a controversial Israeli exhibit at its Florida theme park, Arab officials said Sunday. The officials said Disney had made some alterations to the Israeli exhibit and had given assurances there would be no mention of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but they said Disney had not gone far enough in addressing Arab concerns. The United Arab Emirates has threatened to boycott Disney after the exhibit opens on October 1. Arab officials said other Arab and Muslim states have expressed their support. They said Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Algeria, as well as non-Arab Pakistan, have said they favored taking action against Disney. [Reuters]
Monday: 20 September, 1999: The AIDS epidemic looks set to continue reaping a grim harvest among Africans for as long as their leaders remain aloof from efforts to stem the scourge, participants at the continent's major AIDS (ICASA) conference said. ``The anti-AIDS message is not getting far enough fast enough. The message must be taken to the heads of state. They alone have the resources to lead this war,'' said Ebrahim Samba, World Health Organization director for Africa. The epidemic is claiming more lives than the civil wars plaguing Africa. Last year, two million people died from AIDS-related illnesses versus 200,000 who perished from war. But when drawing up their diaries last week, African heads of state found no time for ICASA. Many of them had time to be in Libya, however, helping celebrate Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's rehabilitation as a central figure in African peace initiatives. [Reuters]
Exactly what was discussed ... Do not be selfish my friend

Saturday: 18 September, 1999: Jamal Mohammed pointed to the sparkling, deep blue waters of the Mediterranean and the magnificent Roman columns and amphitheater right up the coast. ``We wonder why tourists don't flock to Libya to enjoy this,'' Libyan Information Ministry official said during a tour of Sabratah, 44 miles west of Tripoli, the capital. ``We have the coastline, we have the desert, we have the ruins. And we welcome people from all over the world, even from America.'' Since emerging in April from seven years of isolating U.N. sanctions, Libya has been advertising its heritage and natural beauty - vast deserts rippling with sand dunes, 2,000-year-old mosaics and prehistoric engravings - in a bid to cash in on those wonders. It's part of a plan to make Libya's economy less dependent on oil. The campaign also includes wooing foreign investors for non-oil sectors, such as the construction of a railway line that would stretch across Libya from Tunisia to Egypt and the third phase of a man-made river that takes water from aquifers in the south to cities in the north. [AP]
Letters: " Mohammed al-Hareezi released on bond "

Letters: " To all those Libyan guys who met with Dorda "

Friday: 17 September, 1999: The Libyan government on Thursday criticised a European Union decision this week to lift sanctions against Libya but to keep an arms embargo in place. ``This exception has no justification and has no legal base,'' a Libyan Foreign Ministry statement carried by the Libyan news agency JANA received in Tunis said. ``What does it mean, an arms embargo against Libya which doesn't threaten anybody or occupy the land of any other (country),'' it added. ``This decision is selective and racist and we had been expecting that the EU would lift the sanctions totally...,'' it said. ``Libya hopes that this position will be corrected as soon as possible for the interest of mutual ties,'' it added. [Reuters]
Thursday: 16 September, 1999: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has received a message from French President Jacques Chirac supporting Qadhafi's African unity plans and saying that France was ready to contribute to Libya's development projects, Libyan state radio reported on Wednesday. ``Chirac expressed his support for the resolution adopted last week by the Organisation of African Unity summit in (the Libyan city of) Sirte,'' the radio, monitored in Tunis, said. Chirac also said France was ready to contribute to the realisation of Libyan development projects, it added. Last week, the OAU summit voted to set up an African Union in 2001, with a parliament targeted for 2000. [Reuters]
Letters: " The participants in NY meeting ( 3 September, 1999 ) "

Wednesday: 15 September, 1999: Libya faces a growing heroin problem, which took hold in the mid-1990s and is now spreading to children of the rich and young women, doctors say. The doctors were addressing a seminar in the capital Tripoli on Monday on efforts to combat the problem. The presence of foreign journalists at the seminar signalled a new spirit of openness in Libya following years of isolation and a tradition of official secrecy. ``It's very difficult to give here or in any part of the world the real number of people who abuse drugs,'' Doctor Ali Elroey, Director of the Benghazi Psychiatric Hospital, told Reuters during a question and answer session. ``From 1990 until August 1999, the number of patients treated for heroin problems is about 2,300,'' he said, adding that figures for cocaine abuse, pill poppers or cannabis or alcohol abuse were difficult to give accurately. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 15 September, 1999: Former South African President Nelson Mandela arrived in Tripoli Tuesday morning, on a visit whose duration has not been specified. Mandela played a vital role along with Saudi officials in the settlement of the Lockerbie crisis. "The idea of setting up an African Union, an African Parliament and an African Court of Justice is a historic and ambitious idea which I strongly support," Mandela told reporters on arrival. "I support with all my strength the Syrte Declaration on the African Union," he added. "The fact that a large number of African heads of state attended the Syrte summit and their decision to set up an African Parliament in the year 2000 are very positive steps." Mandela later flew to Houn, 650 km south of Tripoli, where he met the Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, with whom he had a long meeting. [PANA]
Wednesday: 15 September, 1999: A delegation of Somalia's feuding factions has urged the Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, to continue his efforts to mediate in that country's political crisis, which has prevailed since 1991. The group, led by Hussein Mohamed Aideed, briefed Qadhafi on the situation in their country and urged him to "continue his efforts aimed at solving the crisis, which have started to bear fruits." Speaking on Libyan television Sunday, Aideed lauded Qadhafi's efforts to stop the conflict in Somalia and iron out differences that have prevented the warring clans from implementing a plan aimed at restoring peace and stability in the country. [PANA]
Tuesday: 14 September, 1999: The European Union decided on Monday to lift sanctions against Libya to reward signs that it has renounced terrorism, but left an arms embargo in force. EU foreign ministers confirmed a decision taken on April 16 to suspend the sanctions, which covered air links and the work of Libyan diplomats abroad, the ministers said in a statement released during a meeting in Brussels. They said the arms embargo would remain in place but gave no details. The decisions followed a report released by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June which suggested ``recent acts by the Libyan authorities were indicative of the Libyan government's renunciation of terrorism.'' The ministers also urged Libya to negotiate with the EU on becoming part of a free trade zone planned for countries on the Mediterranean Sea. They gave no further details. [Reuters]
Monday: 13 September, 1999: A Scottish newspaper said on Sunday that police destroyed notebooks containing evidence about the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing in a blunder which could affect the upcoming trial of two Libyans charged in the case. The weekly Scotland on Sunday quoted a source close to the Libyans' defence team as saying that dozens of notebooks were destroyed five years after the bombing of a Pan American World Airways Boeing 747 on December 21, 1988, in which 270 people died, 11 of them on the ground. A spokeswoman for the Dumfries and Galloway regional police force which collected the evidence would not comment on the report on Sunday. The newspaper said police notebooks are normally destroyed after five years unless they contain evidence related to an ongoing murder case. The Lockerbie trial is Scotland's biggest case of mass murder. [Reuters]
Monday: 13 September, 1999: Libya presented a cheque for 4.5 million US dollars to clear the contribution arrears of seven states to the Organisation of African Unity. "From today onwards, no state will be deprived of its right to take the floor or to vote," the Libyan leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, said as he handed the cheque to OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim. The debtor nations helped are Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe and Seychelles. They were under statutory sanctions for having accumulated the equivalent of two years of contribution to the OAU ordinary budget. [PANA]
Monday: 13 September, 1999: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) said Sunday it was to host a meeting on the millennium bug, bringing together regional states to identify areas where coordinated initiatives could be of benefit. ``The purpose of this meeting is to broaden the understanding of Y2K efforts underway in these countries and exchange views,'' SAMA, the kingdom's central bank, said in a statement. The meeting is to be held in Jeddah on September 14 and 15. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Zimbabwe were due to attend the meeting, SAMA said. [Reuters]
Letters: " Whom are you trying to fool? "

Sunday: 12 September, 1999: Russia heads a list of 35 countries that have failed to certify the readiness of their airports and airlines for dealing with the Year 2000 computer bug, a development that, unless public reassurances are soon provided, could have a serious ripple effect on travel. The list, made public Friday by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration under heavy pressure from two congressional committees, otherwise comprises mostly poor and sometimes politically isolated countries, such as Burma, Angola and Libya. It also includes Fiji and Micronesia. The federal agency said Thursday that 53 countries were on the list, but later lowered the number. Federal authorities were quick to point out that the failure of the 35 countries to reply by a July 1 deadline to a Y2K readiness survey by the International Civil Aviation Organization did not mean the countries were not in compliance, or would not be before Jan. 1. [Herald Tribune]
Letters: " The Gestalt of the four-door Sedan"

Saturday: 11 September, 1999: UNESCO and the Libyan ministry of Education and Technical Training have signed a 200-million- dollar agreement aimed at enhancing higher education and scientific research in the country. Under the agreement, UNESCO will help Libya develop a system of post-graduate training and research in the country's universities and elsewhere as well as strengthening scientific research and technological innovation, while the Libyan side will finance the scheme for eight years at 25 million dollars per year. UNESCO said in a press release that it "will notably provide experts and consultants, as well as furnish equipment." It will also ensure the placement and follow-up of student training in European Universities. [PANA]
Saturday: 11 September, 1999: The Clinton administration is allowing Occidental Petroleum Corp. to send representatives to survey oil-production facilities abandoned in Libya because of U.S. sanctions, industry sources said Friday. It will be the first such visit by an American company with assets in Libya since sanctions were imposed in 1986. The sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified, said the permission was granted by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. With the Security Council sanctions lifted, U.S. oil companies with interests in Libya requested permission to survey the equipment and other facilities they abandoned in Libya under U.S. sanctions, which remain in effect. Only Occidental's plea has been approved. [AP]
Saturday: 11 September, 1999: All was not well for Zimbabweans in Libya for the 30th anniversary of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's 1969 Green Revolution. Zimbabwe's cultural groups, Imbongi and Mhembero, who arrived in Tripoli Friday, have said they were living under poor conditions "with no proper toilet and bedding facilities". Said a Ministry of Education official accompanying the groups: "On our first evening we slept on the floor and we only got mattresses after we complained." The performers had actually threatened to cancel their Sunday shows if they were not properly fed. The Education ministry officials were busy trying to locate Foreign Affairs staff in Tripoli for help. "They (the artists) are very hungry. They were unable to put up a proper performance when President Robert Mugabe arrived," said the Education official. [PANA]

Friday: 10 September, 1999: This year's oil price surge has given Libya's socialist-style economy a respite, but sweeping reform may be needed to create jobs and prosperity for a youthful population set to double in 25 years. ``The economy is as mismanaged today as it was on April 1,'' said one European diplomat, referring to the date U.N. sanctions were suspended after Libya handed over for trial two men wanted by Britain and the United States for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Scotland. ``Sanctions were the great excuse for everything that went wrong. That excuse is now gone,'' the diplomat said. Libya's Oil revenue, accounting for 95 percent of export income, plummeted to $5.7 billion last year from $9 billion in 1997, according to International Monetary Fund figures. The IMF puts inflation at 15 to 20 percent and unemployment at 20 to 30 percent. [Reuters]
Friday: 10 September, 1999: African leaders decided in Libya on Thursday to set up an Africa Union, accelerate the creation of an economic community and aim to create a Pan-African parliament by next year. A special Organisation of African Unity summit meeting in Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's home town of Sirte declined to endorse the Libyan leader's ambitious proposal for the creation of a United States of Africa by January 1, 2000 to meet the challenges of globalisation. But it mandated OAU foreign ministers to prepare the legal text for the proposed Union and to submit it to the Pan-African organisation's next annual summit in Togo in June 2000. [Reuters]
Friday: 10 September, 1999: African leaders meeting in Libya discussed on Thursday a joint declaration calling for the rapid estabishment of a Pan-African parliament, delegates said. The draft final declaration of the special two-day Organisation of African United summit being held in Libya called for ``a speedy establishment of the Pan-African parliament,'' the delegates said. The summit, called by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to discuss his vision of a United States of Africa, was due to end later on Thursday. Delegates said that the more than 40 heads of state at the meeting, out of 53 OAU states, agreed that greater unity was the only real response to an increasingly globalised economy. But views differed on the pace of change. They met until 2.30 a.m. on Thursday reviewing the draft Sirte Declaration prepared by the OAU Secretariat. [Reuters]
Letters: " Reflections on change"

Thursday: 9 September, 1999: Libya's Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has demanded that Africa be compensated by its former colonial powers. "They should officially apologise for their wrongdoing," he said at the opening of an Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in Libya. He said the colonial powers should pay for the "casualties and material damage they have inflicted." He also insisted that they should "return the antiquities they have stolen from Africa". And he said Africa should have a place on the United Nations Security Council. [BBC]
Wednesday: 8 September, 1999: African leaders braved simmering heat Tuesday in Tripoli to witness a five-hour military parade marking the revolution which brought Libyan leader Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to power 30 years ago. Various types of military aircraft, including swift jet fighters performing daring dogfight manoeuvres, flew just above the water in front of the viewers, as a navy flotilla below made its own show of force in the waters. Among those in attendance was Ahmed Ben Bella, Algeria's first president and OAU founding member in 1963. Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda was also given the VIP treatment as he sat next to OAU Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim on the raised stage overlooking the calm Mediterranean Sea. Conspicuously missing from the gathering, however, was Zambia's current leader, Frederick Chiluba, who had not yet arrived during the parade. Also absent from the line-up was Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who escaped an assassination attempt on his life Monday in Port Said, in the country's north-east. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was one of the few non-African leaders given the front view treatment on the occasion. [PANA]
Letters: " My thought of the last Libyan meeting"

Tuesday: 7 September, 1999: Libya expressed readiness Sunday to improve ties with the United States on condition Washington would treat it as an equal. "As far as we are concerned, we are ready for a dialogue with the United States. We are ready to talk to them, to resume cooperation," said African Affairs Minister Ali Abdusalam Triki. "We have no problem, and we are ready to talk to them at whatever level they want," said Triki during a conference to announce details of a special summit of the Organization of African Unity. But he said Washington should "deal with us on (equal footing) and as a sovereign country and without interference" in Libya's internal affairs. "We have no complex of superiority or inferiority." He recalled that "in fact, the relations were not broken but just frozen." [SAPA - AFP]
Tuesday: 7 September, 1999: Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi has invented a sleek James Bond-style car, which Libya says is the safest vehicle on earth. The car was unveiled on the 30th anniversary of the revolution which propelled the Libyan leader to power. The Saroukh el-Jamahiriya (Libyan rocket) a five-passenger saloon in a metallic Libyan revolutionary green with tinted windows, was launched at a special summit of the Organisation of African Unity organised by Colonel Qadhafi. The car has the aerodynamic lines of conventional models but the front and rear ends are rocket-shaped. The interior is replete with air bags, an inbuilt electronic defence system, and a collapsible bumper which protects passengers in head-on collisions. [BBC]
Tuesday: 7 September, 1999: African leaders arrived in Libya Monday to pay their respects to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi after the 30th anniversary of the revolution that brought him to power and to discuss his vision of a United States of Africa. With Libyan officials predicting a record turnout for Wednesday's special Organization of African Unity (OAU) conference, the presidents of Gabon, Mali and Sudan joined six heads of state who arrived Sunday. Former Foreign Minister Ali Tureiki, now Qadhafi's Africa liaison man, said Sunday that as many as 46 heads of state could attend the meeting in the Libyan leader's home town of Sirte. This would top the record of 42 during the OAU's annual meeting in Algeria in July. ``I think it will be a little bit more than Algeria,'' Tureiki told a news conference. [Reuters]
Letters: " A reply to " Libyan Engineer "

Monday: 6 September, 1999: The Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Salim Ahmed Salim, arrived in Tripoli Saturday, for the extra-ordinary summit of the continental body which opens on 7 September. Salim will also attend the ongoing celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of the Libyan revolution and the assumption of power by its leader, Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. The summit, billed to take place in the north-eastern coastal town of Sirt from 7 to 9 September, has been convened by Qadhafi to discuss possible review of the OAU charter. It would also explore ways of ending the numerous conflicts on the continent and modalities for greater integration of African countries as well as economic development. [PANA]
Sunday: 5 September, 1999: A former ranking U.S. State Department official, citing evidence of moderation by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has held unannounced meetings with Qadhafi in Libya in an unofficial effort to promote friendlier relations between the two countries. Herman Cohen, who headed the U.S. State Department's Africa bureau during the Bush administration, said Qadhafi has assumed the role of peacemaker in Africa and also appears to have abandoned his previous sponsorship of terrorist activities. The United States has regarded Libya as a pariah for years and it was the target of military attacks by U.S. jets in 1981 and 1986. Nonetheless, Cohen, 67, believes the time may be approaching for a more flexible U.S. approach. Cohen's role was outlined in a five-page, limited-distribution memorandum written by a colleague, Stephen Hayes, who accompanied him on a trip to Libya last April. The report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, describes their activities on the trip. The State Department agreed with that description. It said Cohen did not discuss his visits with U.S. officials beforehand and carried no official messages to Libya but briefed the department's Middle East bureau afterward. [AP]
Letters: " Suppressing Information is a Violation of Human Rights "

Saturday: 4 September, 1999: Libya has invited over 300 journalists to witness the anniversary celebrations of the coup that brought Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to power 30 years ago. "In five days there will be 350 journalists in Libya to cover the celebrations. As of today, 70 journalists have already arrived," an information ministry official told PANA Thursday. The highlight of the week-long celebrations will be a grand military parade in central Tripoli to be graced by African leaders who will be attending an extra-ordinary summit of the OAU, the official said. The leaders will review and perhaps renew the 36-year-old OAU charter into a modern instrument capable of leading the conflict-ridden continent into a new and more peaceful century. [PANA]
Saturday: 4 September, 1999: The chairman of the Arab Maghreb Union consultative council, Souleiman Shhoumi said intensive contacts are taking place to reactivate the Arab Maghreb Union. In an interview with the Egyptian daily al-Ahram, the Libyan official said the recent settlement of the Lockerbie crisis and the improvement of Moroccan-Algerian relations are indicators to the tendency to relaunch the UMA activities. He explained that contacts are taking place to convene a meeting of the UMA consultative council, frozen since January 1992, before the end of this year in Tripoli. []
Friday: 3 September, 1999: Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, reversing a long-standing suspicion towards foreign capital, told a group of some 60 foreign businessmen on Thursday that foreign investment was welcome in Libya. Qadhafi, who was celebrating the 30th anniversary of his arrival to power, was talking at a Symposium on Prospects of International Investment and Trade in Libya in a speech broadcast by Libyan television and monitored in Tunis. ``If you want to invest in Libya, you are welcome,'' Qadhafi said. ``Legislation protecting foreign investment exists in Libya,'' he added. ``But if it is an investment like in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia or Mexico, then we don't need it,'' Qadhafi said in reference to recent turmoil seen in the financial markets of these countries. [Reuters]
Friday: 3 September, 1999: Libya needs to invest $35 billion during the period 2001-2005 to reach the target of an average growth rate of five percent per year, a senior Libyan official said on Thursday. Libyan Economy and Trade Minister Abdel Hafidh Zlitni said on Libyan state-television monitored in Tunis that 60 to 70 percent of the amount would be provided by public funds and the remainder by local and foreign investors. He said six billion dollars would be needed for investment in the hydrocarbons sector, six billion dollars for the power sector and eight billion dollars in the water sector. Focus will also be put on modernising the telecommunications and transport sectors, Zlitni said. He said total investment needed over the next 20 years was put at $150 billion, 60 percent of which would be financed by public funds. [Reuters]
Friday: 3 September, 1999: Libya may allow private investors, including foreigners, to establish power plants and distribute electricty, Libyan Economy and Trade Minister Abdel Hafidh Zlitni said on Thursday. He said on Libyan television monitored in Tunis that investment was needed in the power generation sector to cover the country's future needs. ``The situation might require looking at alternative ways (to public financing) for the production and distribution of electricity,'' he told foreign businessmen attending a seminar on investment in Libya. Zlitni was talking at the opening session of a three-day Symposium on Prospects of International Investment and Trade in Libya. The symposium was aimed at attracting foreign investors and was attended by some 60 businessmen from around the world. [Reuters]
Friday: 3 September, 1999: An Italian judge today stirred new controversy about a 1980 airliner crash off Sicily's coast by endorsing a theory that the plane's 81 passengers lost their lives in a dogfight between a Libyan fighter and NATO jets that he said has been hushed up for nearly two decades. Judge Rosario Priore indicted four Italian generals for withholding information about the incident, alleging they had committed high treason and other crimes while hiding evidence that U.S. and French military jets were in the area when the plane went down. But he did not pinpoint any responsibility for the crash. Five other military officials were accused of lying when they denied any role in the military activity, which Priore said must have been authorized by senior Italian or NATO officials. But several of the generals ridiculed the charges at a news conference. One said the report, which stemmed in part from disclosures made by NATO, was "based on incomplete data from an obsolete [radar] system." [Washington Post]
Thursday: 2 September, 1999: The Libyan capital was a sparkling sea of flags, lights and victory arches Wednesday and huge white birthday candles decorated one downtown square, all to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the coup that brought Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi to power. Qadhafi, then 27, came to power in a military coup on Sept. 1, 1969. The coup occurred while the last Libyan king, Idris, was in Turkey for medical treatment. The king died in exile in Egypt in 1983. Starting Monday, Qadhafi will host a four-day extraordinary summit of the Organization of African Unity that has become a part of the anniversary celebrations. [AP]
Thursday: 2 September, 1999: Jordan's King Abdullah on Wednesday arrived in Libya to attend celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi taking power. The Libyan state-television, monitored in Tunis, broadcast live images of the arrival at the M'aetiga military airport near Tripoli. King Abdullah, who was the first foreign head of state to arrive for the celebrations, was welcomed by Mustapha al-Kharroubi, one of Qadhafi's lieutenants. Hundreds of people stood by brandishing portraits of the Libyan leader. [Reuters]
Amnesty International ; Libya: 30 years on ... time for action !

Letters: " An open letter to Colonel Qadhafi and the Libyan people "

Wednesday: 1 September, 1999: Thirty years ago today, 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 ..Twenty five minutes after six the first technician arrived at the station ... the affiliate station in al-Baida phoned asking about the unusual delay: What happened Benghazi ?! Lieutenant Abdel-Fattah Younis told the caller that the delay had been caused by "technical difficulties". The call meant to the Lieutenant and to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi who was standing next to him that al-Baida is not yet under the control of the Free Unitary Officers (al-Qadhafi and Younis were members of the FUO which started its operations to overthrow King Mohammad "Idris" al-Sanousi's government at 2:05 AM.) For more details please click here
Wednesday: 1 September, 1999: Amnesty International said on Tuesday Libya must improve its human rights record if it wants to end its international isolation. ``After three decades of gross human rights violations, even the most basic safeguards have yet to be put in place,'' Amnesty said in a statement on the 30th anniversary of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's coming to power. ``Libya must demonstrate to the international community respect for basic international standards of human rights,'' it added. [Reuters]
Wednesday: 1 September, 1999: Imam Musa Sadr, who founded the Amal Movement before vanishing in 1978, is alive and in a Libyan prison, his sister announced ahead of a rally to mark his disappearance. “According to information I got from international intelligence services, Imam Musa Sadr is serving a life term in a Libyan prison,” Rabab Sadr told the LBCI on Sunday night. “We expect Imam Sadr and his two companions, Sheikh Mohammed Yacoub and journalist Abbas Badreddine ­ who are also alive­ to return. Efforts are being made in that direction,” she said, without elaborating. The charismatic leader disappeared with his two friends while visiting Libya in August 1978. The Amal movement, now headed by Speaker Nabih Berri, accuses Libya of having kidnapped Sadr, Yacoub and Badreddine, a charge which Tripoli categorically denies. [Daily Star]
Letters: " The Exiled Libyan Healthcare Professionals "

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