The General People's Congress, Libya's legislature, convened Saturday, March 17, for its annual meeting to look at the state budget and other government activities, officials said.
During the one-week session in Sirte, some 450 kilometers (250 miles) east of Tripoli, the General People's Congress is due to look at Libyan internal developments and foreign policy and to question officials about their ministries' activities.
In its session a year ago, the General People's Congress dissolved most of Libya's ministries, maintaining only six.
In a speech to the session, attended by a number of diplomats, legislator Suleiman Al-Shehimi saluted "the openness of the French judiciary, which has shown it can separate itself from Zionist control."
He was referring to the decision Monday by the Cour de Cassation, France's highest court of appeal, not to authorize a criminal investigation into Libyan leader Moamar Kadhafi over his alleged role in the destruction of a DC-10 airliner over Niger in 1989, in which 170 people were killed.
Shehimi also renewed Libya's support for the Palestinian uprising against Israel and thanked countries that have supported a lifting of international sanctions against Libya.
The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Libya in March 1992 and later froze its government assets abroad to pressure Tripoli to hand over suspects in the 1988 bombing of a US airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland that left 270 people dead.
In January, a special Scottish court meeting in The Netherlands found one Libyan guilty of the bombing but acquitted another.
The United States and Britain insist that Libya must compensate the families of the Lockerbie bombing's victims before full sanctions can be lifted.
Kadhafi abolished parliament when he seized control of Libya in 1969. The General People's Congress, whose members are appointed, was constructed along the lines of Kadhafi's philosophy of Jamahiriya, or rule by the masses.
The legislature had been due to meet March 1, but the session was delayed because Kadhafi had called a summit in Sirte of the Organization of African Unity, during which the birth of an African Union was announced. — (AFP, Sirte)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)