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LIBYA

 
  
  

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 19,131     71
     
GNI per capita
 US $ n/a n/a
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Libya

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
1,759,540

Population
5,499,074

Capital
Tripoli

Currency
Libyan dinar 

Leader 
Col Mu'amar al-Qadhafi



Update No: 020 - (01/07/05)

Immigration Control and an Appearance from the Opposition
In a follow-up to discussions held earlier in the year, Libya and the European Union (EU) have agreed to take a joint stand against illegal immigration having finally reached a cooperation plan. Italy was one of the countries from the European side that was most eager to see the plan go though, as of the illegal migrants are reaching its shores - often the island of Lampedusa - from the long Libyan coast and specifically the city of Zu'wara. Indeed, Italy has been criticized lately for human rights violations after it sent groups of migrants back to Libya to meet an uncertain fate. Nevertheless, a EU delegation will head to Tripoli shortly to open direct talks with the Libyan government over concrete immigration control measures. Among the main items on the table are the training of administrative personnel, the establishment of naval and air units to monitor waters and the highly controversial, detention-centres, which would be built in the Libyan desert to stop potential migrants before they can reach the coast. In this context, Europe would also help train Libyan border police and provide military equipment and vehicles to facilitate the task. Libya, in turn, would have to guarantee that it would respect human rights, collaborate with UNHCR and agree to cooperation terms established in the Barcelona Process, the mechanism favouring dialogue between the European and Middle Eastern - North African states on the shores of the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, as hinted in the June update, the European Union has threatened to decline cooperation with Libya if there was no satisfactory resolution to the trial of the five Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian medic accused of infecting 400 children with AIDS at a Benghazi hospital in 1999. The Libyan courts have been dilly-dallying with the outcome, by postponing the final verdict on several occasions. The group of six currently faces a death sentence, which is under appeal. At the end of last May, the Bulgarian president visited Tripoli to add pressure, while the EU warned Libya, that if the sentence were not repealed, it would cut many ties. Indeed, the pressure had some effect, as Libya postponed the verdict to November 15 leaving room to sign agreements with the EU while not quite bowing to pressure. The EU has confirmed that cooperation would begin in matters relating to immigration control. Jonathan Faull, general Director for Justice, Freedom and Security of the Commission (who works directly under Franco Frattini, EU Commissioner for justice, and former Italian foreign affairs minister noted for toeing the conservative party line in matter of immigration) said that "it would be irresponsible to wait until November, there are people dying in the Mediterranean." 
Italy is the true winner, as its proposals, which were not supported by many EU members, will pass. The cooperation with Libya will have its costs and these will be shared by the EU as a whole, given that the migrants are using Italy as merely their point of entry to the wider EU. The Libyan -EU cooperation plan on immigration will serve as a model to be extended to other North African countries. Nevertheless, the sentence of the Bulgarian nurses looms over the deal and uncertainty prevails. Both the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and the EU commissioner for external relations Beneta Valdner welcomed the decision, but the families of the infected children demonstrated before the court in protest of the decision to postpone the sentence chanting slogans "we do not want compensation; we want death penalty for the killers." While many demonstrations in Libya are stage managed, the confrontations suggest Libya is not yet ready to give in to Europe. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian government doubted the effectiveness of the Libyan judiciary after three Libyan police officers accused by the nurses of having tortured them to extract false confessions were found not guilty. Therefore, while there is some satisfaction that the sentence has been postponed, there is also frustration over a perceived failure of justice by the Libyan justice system. Bulgaria will maintain pressure, as Parvanov said he would appoint a special envoy to EU commissioner for external relations to be responsible for the communication between the two institutions concerning the AIDS trial in Libya. Parvanov is working in conjunction with the EU and wants to establish communications directly with the families of the victims of the AIDS debacle. 

The Libyan opposition returns - with an interesting statement
Although less organized than opposition movements elsewhere in the Arab world, there are a number of small movements with ambitions to topple the Qadhafi regime in Libya. However, whereas unlike opposition elements (such as the Iraqi Kurds and self-proclaimed democrats such as Ahmed Chalabi, or the Lebanese and Syrian resistance working with Washington), the Libyan groups overwhelmingly rejected the option of foreign and, specifically American aid to topple the regime. Some 300 Libyan oppositionists said they would not "return back on the deck of an American tank to Tripoli" to achieve their objectives of toppling the regime of the Libyan President Muammar al-Qadhafi, as a first step to establish "rule of law" Libya. The opposition met in London and asked that Qadhafi leave peacefully. The opposition would then establish an interim government and a constitution (Libya's current constitutional arrangement might be said to be the 'Green Book') backed by the election of a constituent national society. That constitution would be inspired from the constitution of 1951, which was approved and ratified by the constituent national society under the supervision of the UN Security Council on Libya. The participants were adamant in refuting any notion of military foreign intervention to achieve the desired political reforms in the country. Some of the groups in attendance were the National Alliance; the National Front for Libya's Rescue; the Republican Coalition for Democracy and Justice, the Libyan National Front, the Libyan Movement for Change and Reforms, and the Islamic Coalition, among others of various political colours including moderate Islamists.

Oil - Shell to add exploration rights in Libya
Royal Dutch/Shell Group is expected to bid for more oil and gas exploration rights after having secured, in May, rights to drill in a 20,000-square-kilometer area in Libya, as part of a contract to increase the North African state's gas production. Shell is evaluating the data from about 44 plots offered in Libya's second auction for drilling rights. The winners will be announced on Oct. 2. The rising price of oil suggests that Libya should have no trouble achieving its desired investment target of US$ 30 billion to double production capacity to 3 mm bpd before the end of the decade. Shell said it would invest $637m in Libya, to search for gas in five plots covering an enormous area (roughly the size of Holland) and to maintain and increase the capacity of the country's only gas liquefaction plant, built in 1971. The contract came through talks between Shell and Libya's state-owned National Oil Corp outside of the recently held tenders. Shell, as well as other European oil majors, lost to US bids on the last round but the separate acreage it has been given to explore is in the area of Sirte, which the company says is very prolific. 

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