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Cablegate: UNESCO Was Pro-Free Software Before Gates and Microsoft Intervention

Posted in Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Interesting cable from Tripoli and its items regarding software

According to the following Cablegate cable from the US embassy at Tripoli, “UNESCO Reinforces Capacities of Public Administrations through the Use of Free Software: The Arab Federation of Technical Education, the UNESCO Office in Rabat, and ISESCO, in cooperation with the Libyan Ministry of the Labor and Training, organized a workshop at the Higher Institute of Computer Technology in Tripoli, Libya. The workshop aimed to reinforce capacities of public administrations through Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). During the three-day workshop, experts from the Maghreb countries presented best practices in using FOSS in their respective countries. This enabled participants to reinforce the capacities of universities in the field of technical education through the use of FOSS, and to develop tools in order to make public services more transparent. [UNESCO, 12/19/2008]“

We also wrote about UNESCO one day ago, in relation to what Microsoft was doing there to derail Free software preference. Here is today’s cable

DE RUEHTRO #0151/01 0471652
R 161652Z FEB 09

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON [Economic Conditions], EFIN [Financial and Monetary Affairs], ETRD [Foreign Trade], EINV [Foreign Investments], 
EIND [Industry and Manufacturing], EPET [Petroleum and Natural Gas], ENRG [Energy and Power], 
PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], LY [Libya] 
¶1. (U) State-Owned Zwara Oil Refinery Company Has Appointed HSBC 
as Financial Adviser: Zwara Oil Refinery Company (Zorco) plans 
to develop a 200,000 barrels-a-day crude oil refinery. The 
development of the refinery will be tender on a 
build-own-operate basis. The refinery is the first major 
government sponsored project in the country to seek commercial 
finance. Earlier in 2008 bankers pulled out of talks on 
financing the project and Nigeria's Africa Finance Corporation 
and Citadel Capital of Egypt both decided against investing in 
the plant. The project is estimated to cost about $4 billion 
U.S. dollars and should be completed in 2014.[MEED, 12/4/2008] 
¶2. (U) Chinese CNPC to Bid for Verenex Asset in Libya: China 
National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is bidding for Canadian 
energy firm Verenex Energy in a transaction valued at as much as 
$300 million; adding a successful bid would broaden CNPC's 
assets in Africa. Indonesia's state oil firm, Pertamina, had 
announced its interest to participate in the Libyan oil area of 
the Canadian energy company Verenex. [Reuters, 12/15/2008] 
¶3. (U) AGOCO Announces Oil Discovery: The National Oil 
Corporation (NOC) announced that the state-owned oil company 
Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) made an oil discovery in the 
Ghadames Basin. The well is located approximately 500 kilometers 
south of Tripoli. The initial production testing established an 
oil rate of 5,000 barrels per day, and a gas rate of 150 million 
standard cubic feet per day. [HYPERLINK 
 , 12/16/2008] 
¶4. (U) Hess Discovers Oil in Libya Sirte Offshore: In Libya, 
well A1-54/01, which is located 38 miles offshore in the Sirte 
Basin, was drilled to a depth of 11,077 feet in 2,807 feet of 
water. The well encountered a gross hydrocarbon section of 
approximately 500 feet at various intervals. Hess holds a 12.4 
percent share and the NOC holds the remaining 87.6 percent. 
[rigzone.com, 12/17/2008] 
¶5. (U) Turkish Petroleum Overseas Company Pre-Qualifies More 
than Ten Companies to Provide Drilling Services: A 
prequalification notice had been issued, and the companies in 
the running, all based in Libya, now have until the end of 
January to make their bid quotations. The tender is for 1,500 
horsepower drilling rig services in the Murzuq basin. The 
project comprises two firm and five optional wild cat wells to 
be drilled within the range of 9,000-11,000 feet. [MEED, 
¶6. (U) Libya Orders to Cut Production by 270,000 Barrels per 
Day: Effective Jan 1, Libya ordered oil companies operating in 
Libya to cut production by 270,000 barrels per day, which is 
more than Libya is requested to do under OPEC agreement to slash 
the cartel's production by 2.2 billion barrels per day. [JANA, 
¶7. (U) Five Firms Are Expected to Bid for an Onshore Drilling 
Contract: Total Exploration & Production Libya, a subsidiary of 
France's Total expects to formally begin the tender process in 
early January. Prequalification entries were accepted until 
early December, and around five firms were left in the running 
after that process ended. The contract is for the provision of 
onshore drilling rig services and the testing of two exploration 
onshore wells with possible options in the west of Libya. The 
proposed land rig would have a maximum drilling depth of 
approximately 21,000 feet. The well spud is planned for the 
third quarter of 2009. [MEED, 12/31/2008] 
TRIPOLI 00000151  002 OF 006 
¶8. (U) Libya Gains $5.4 Billion Dollars from Altering Oil Deals: 
The NOC reported earnings of $5.4 billion U.S. dollars in 
additional oil revenues from changes to contracts with foreign 
companies ENI, Petro-Canada and two consortiums led respectively 
by U.S. Occidental and Spain's Repsol last year. The changes of 
deals yielded $2.4 billion U.S. dollars extra earnings during 
the first nine months of 2008. The companies also accepted to 
pay a total of $3 billion U.S. dollars as up-front payments. NOC 
said negotiations were underway with other companies to reach 
similar changes which would boost oil earnings further. 
[HYPERLINK "http://en.noclibya.com.ly/ 
 , 1/18/2009] 
¶9. (U) New Oil and Gas Discovery by Australian Woodside: NOC 
announced that an exploratory well drilled by Woodside in the 
Ghadames Basin, 900 kilometers South of Tripoli, produced oil 
and gas when tested. The well, F1-NC210, is the fourth discovery 
drilled by Woodside Energy in the contract area NC210, awarded 
by the NOC in May 2003. Under the contract, Woodside has a 37 
percent production share and the NOC has 63 percent. 
[Libyaonline.com, 1/15/2009] 
¶10. (U) Canadian Verenex Confirms Oil and Gas Discovery in 
Libya: Canadian company Verenex has made its tenth oil discovery 
in Libya's western region of Ghadames since drilling began in 
September 2006. So far, Verenex has drilled four appraisal 
wells, and fourteen exploratory wells. The last four wells 
drilled are yet to be tested. Verenex, Indonesia's Medco Energi 
and Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) signed a 30-year 
production-sharing agreement in 2005, where the two foreign 
companies will take 13.7 percent of production and the NOC 86.3 
percent. [Tripoli Post, 1/18/2009] 
¶11. (U) Shell Awards Seismic Contract: The UK/Dutch Shell Group 
has awarded a seismic contract to BGP, the geophysical division 
of Chinese oil company China National Petroleum Corporation 
(CNPC), for a survey on the gas exploration block 89N in the 
onshore Sirte Basin.  It is considered a difficult area to work 
in due to the potential risk from landmines. Shell won blocks 1 
and 3 in contract area 89 in the Sirte Basin in Libya's first 
gas exploration licensing round in 2007. [MEED 1/20/08] 
¶12. (U) Mitsubishi, Libya University to Jointly Study Green 
Energy: On January 28, the two parties signed a memorandum of 
understanding to begin joint research and development of 
reusable energy sources. Under the agreement, the Japanese 
trading company will support research into reusable energy by 
Libya's largest university, supplying test materials and sending 
specialists to the university from 2009 to 2011. The first 
initiative between the two will involve field-tests of solar 
power generation systems at the university. The plan is for the 
university to accumulate technology and expertise, and then 
cultivate leaders for the new industry. [AsiaPulse, 1/26/2009] 
¶13. (U) South Korea's Hanil Wins a $902.5 Billion Work Order in 
Libya: South Korean builder Hanil Engineering and Construction 
said that it had secured an order worth $902.5 billion from 
Libya. Hanil said in a regulatory filing that Libya's 
Organization for the Development of Administrative Centers 
placed the order to build houses and infrastructure in Libya. 
[Reuters, 12/22/08] 
¶14. (U) Indian Company Simplex Projects Ltd Gets Construction 
Contract in Libya: The contract is to develop a housing project 
in Libya, which comprises the construction of 2,000 houses, a 
public building, and roads, drainage and sewage systems; the 
project is scheduled to be completed in 36 months. This is the 
TRIPOLI 00000151  003 OF 006 
first overseas project for the Indian company. [Reuters, 
¶15. (U) Indian Company Wins $267 million U.S. Contract in Libya: 
The Libyan Housing and Infrastructure Board awarded a $267 
million U.S. dollars contract to the Indian construction and 
engineering firm Punj Lloyd Ltd. The 40-month project involves 
the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of 
infrastructure networks including water mains, sewerage tunnels, 
and roads in the Souk Al-Juma area, in Tripoli. In early January 
Punj Lloyd was awarded a similar contract worth $214 million 
U.S. dollars in a joint venture with the Public Works Company 
Tripoli (PWCT). The four-year project involves upgrading the 
infrastructure in the Arada area of Tripoli. [The Tripoli Post, 
¶16. (U) China Railway Wins $805 million dollars contract in 
Libya: The contract worth $805 million dollars is to build a 172 
kilometer railway that will connect Tripoli with the 
Libya-Tunisia border. The construction of the line is expected 
to take around 54 months. The deal follows a $2.6 billion dollar 
contract, signed last year to build two other rail lines, a 352 
kilometer railway along Libya's Mediterranean coast, and an 800 
kilometer line in the south. The coastal railroad is slated for 
completion in four years, and the southern line is expected to 
be completed in three years. [libyaninvestment.com, 1/23/2009] 
¶17. (U) Italy-Libya Trade Tops 14 Billion Euros in 2008 First 
Eight Months: While Libya tries to enter into Eni's capital, 
trade relations with Italy continue to grow, with import-exports 
in the first eight months of the year exceeding 14 billion Euros 
and confirming the North African country as Italy's top trading 
partner in the Mediterranean. The figures emerge from a study 
made by the Milan Chamber of Commerce into the latest figures 
for import-export between Italy and 13 Mediterranean basin 
countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Malta, 
Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, the Palestinian 
Territories, Jordan). In January-August imports from Libya grew 
by 40% compared with the first eight months of 2007, exceeding 
12.4 billion Euros. Exports grew by 57%, exceeding 1.7 billion 
Euros. The figure makes Libya the fifth largest market for Italy 
in the Mediterranean. [ANSAmed, 12/09/08] 
¶18. (U) Libya to Take Half Million Bangladeshi Workers: 
Secretary of Manpower Training and Employment, Maa'touk Mohammad 
Maa'touk, said that Libya would take half a million Bangladeshi 
skilled, semi-skilled and general workers for different projects 
soon. Maa'touk stressed that the Embassy of Bangladesh should 
verify the issues of job, salary, housing and fringe benefits of 
every worker before they could come to Libya from Bangladesh. 
[www.nation.ittefaq.com, 12/13/2008] 
¶19. (U) Oman, Libya Sign $500 Million JV Deal: The Sultanate of 
Oman and Libya have signed a $500 million deal to establish a 
joint investment company to be based in Tripoli. The company 
will invest in real estate, tourism, industrial, services and 
energy projects and will also set up joint stock companies to 
undertake different projects, according to a joint statement. 
The State General Reserve Fund will represent Oman in the 
Oman-Libya Investment Holding Company. [Khaleej Times, 
¶20. (U) Global Grain Rush Under Way as Rich Nations Snap up 
Farmland Overseas: Under a proposed agreement with Kiev, Libya 
would lease 247,000 acres of Ukraine's rich black land to grow 
wheat. The harvest would then be shipped back to Libya, giving 
TRIPOLI 00000151  004 OF 006 
the desert nation a more secure supply of food in the face of 
predictions about higher food prices and potential shortages in 
decades to come. Ukraine, in turn, would get access to Libyan 
oil fields, helping free it from dependence on Russia for its 
energy needs. [Chicago Tribune, 12/14/2008] 
¶21. (U) Irrigation, Key for Africa's Food Security: On December 
15, a conference on Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa: 
The Challenges of Climate Change opened. It was organized by FAO 
together with the Libyan Government and in collaboration with 
stakeholders including the African Union, the African Ministers' 
Council on Water Development, the African Development Bank and 
the Economic Commission for Africa. The conference aims at 
setting the scene for moving from talk to action on a $65 
billion, 20-year program for irrigation and hydroenergy 
investments required in each country. [African Press 
Organization (APO), 12/15/08] 
¶22. (U) Trade Exchange between Libya and Tunisia Reached 2.2 
Billion Libyan Dinars during 2008: The trade exchange exceeded 
the specified value by 10%; the Secretary of the Libyan General 
People's Committee said that this value is expected to hit 2.5 
billion by the end of 2008. The secretary mentioned that one of 
the most important of these projects is laying a strategic gas 
pipeline that will connect Libya with Tunisia; this project will 
be executed by a Libyan-Tunisian Joint committee starting in 
2009. Currently, there are teams working in the areas of 
education, trade, and investment to boost bilateral integration 
between the countries. [JANA, 12/27/08] 
¶23. (U) Libya to Invest in Oil Refinery in Egypt: Libya will 
invest in an oil refinery and a number of construction projects 
in Egypt under a deal signed in December 2008, during a visit to 
Tripoli by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Aside from the 
refinery, Libya will also build service stations as well as an 
industrial and residential complex in Egypt. The two countries 
are also working towards establishing a free exchange zone on 
their border. The number of Libyan companies working in Egypt 
reached 236 companies, and Egyptian investment companies are 
currently working in Libya.  Volume of trade exchange between 
the two countries is expected to increase to two billion 
dollars. [Tripoli Post, 1/1/2009] 
¶24. (U) Libyan Fund in Talks over Kaupthing Unit-Luxembourg: 
Talks have taken place over the possible sale of the Luxembourg 
arm of troubled Icelandic bank Kaupthing to a Libyan sovereign 
fund. Budget and Treasury Minister Luc Frieden, said there had 
been discussions with several possible buyers which have to be 
concluded by year's-end. The Libyan Investment Authority fund 
had emerged as the front-runner to buy Kaupthing Luxembourg. 
Other suitors that have been cited to have shown interest in 
picking up the Kaupthing's Belgian customers include online bank 
Keytrade Bank, a subsidiary of France's Credit Agricole and 
German bank Landesbank Nord. [Reuters, 12/10/2008] 
¶25. (U) Libya Emerges from Sanctions with Investment: The Libyan 
Investment Authority (LIA) is set to complete Libya's first UK 
commercial property transaction since the suspension of economic 
sanctions at the end of the 1990s. Part of the LIA has agreed to 
buy a large office building in the City of London for about #120 
million UK pounds from German fund manager IVG. The 172,000 
square feet former Lloyds' City headquarters at 14 Cornhill will 
be sold for a yield of about 6 per cent. DTZ and Knight Frank 
are advising IVG. None of the parties involved would comment on 
the sale. [Financial Times, 12/12/2008] 
¶26. (U) Libya to List Ten Companies on Libyan Stock Market: 
Libya plans to sell shares in more state-owned companies as the 
TRIPOLI 00000151  005 OF 006 
government seeks to boost the economy and develop the bourse set 
up last year. The state-run Economic and Social Development Fund 
aims to offer foreign investors about 15 percent of 10 
companies. Libya's Al-Jomhuria Bank is among the 10 companies 
that may be sold on the stock market following further sales of 
shares in Al Wahda Bank and Al Sahara Bank, both of which are 
already traded on the exchange. Arab Bank, Jordan's largest 
publicly traded bank, bought a 19 percent stake in Libya's Wahda 
Bank in February for 210 million euros. BNP Paribas SA, France's 
biggest bank, purchased 19 percent of Libya's state-owned Sahara 
Bank for 145 million euros on Oct. 4. [Bloomberg, 12/17/2008] 
¶27. (U) STS PayONE Voucher powers Bank of Commerce and 
Development in Libya: STS, MENA's leading enterprise ePayment 
solutions provider and system integrator, furnished Bank of 
Commerce and Development in Libya with an enterprise-level 
platform for the management and distribution of its electronic 
voucher service at several point-of-sale terminals located 
throughout the Libyan retail outlets. Bank of Commerce and 
Development will be able to support multiple service delivery 
channels including dial-up, GSM, ATMS, IVR and SMS. It provides 
management and dispensing capabilities for the GSM prepaid 
airtime, with the ability to add more services and access 
channels to achieve higher customer satisfaction and fulfill 
expansion goals. [menafn.com, 12/1/2008] 
¶28. (U) UNESCO Reinforces Capacities of Public Administrations 
through the Use of Free Software: The Arab Federation of 
Technical Education, the UNESCO Office in Rabat, and ISESCO, in 
cooperation with the Libyan Ministry of the Labor and Training, 
organized a workshop at the Higher Institute of Computer 
Technology in Tripoli, Libya. The workshop aimed to reinforce 
capacities of public administrations through Free and Open 
Source Software (FOSS). During the three-day workshop, experts 
from the Maghreb countries presented best practices in using 
FOSS in their respective countries. This enabled participants to 
reinforce the capacities of universities in the field of 
technical education through the use of FOSS, and to develop 
tools in order to make public services more transparent. 
[UNESCO, 12/19/2008] 
¶29. (U) Libya Introduces WiMAX Mobile Service: Libya Telecom and 
Technology (LTT) launched on January 22, the WiMAX mobile 
service in Libya. In the first phase, LTT aims to provide the 
WiMAX mobile service to 300,000 subscribers in the country. LTT 
worked along with Alcatel, ZTE, and Huawei companies for the 
realization of the project. The WiMAX service is currently 
available in eighteen Libyan cities. [libyaonline.com, 
¶30. (U) Libya Buys Six Oil Tankers for $400 Million Dollars: 
Libya's national maritime transport company announced on 
Wednesday the purchase of six oil tankers valued at a total of 
400 million dollars. The contracts were signed with Korean naval 
construction group Samsung Heavy Industries and Japanese 
constructor Sasebo Heavy Industries. Four tankers will be built 
by Samsung and the other two by Sasebo. The tankers will have a 
total capacity of 700,000 tons, or the equivalent of five 
million barrels of crude. Headed by Hannibal al-Qadhafi, the 
company exercises a near-monopoly in the transport of Libyan 
oil. Its fleet currently comprises 18 tankers with a total 
capacity of 11.8 million barrels. [AFP, 12/24/08] 
¶31. (U) Libya Bans Swiss Flights: Libya has banned Switzerland's 
national carrier, Swiss International Air Lines, from flying to 
Tripoli. This is the latest twist in ongoing diplomatic row 
TRIPOLI 00000151  006 OF 006 
between the two countries after the arrest of Muammar 
al-Qadhafi's son, Hannibal. Switzerland's national carrier had 
three weekly flights from Zurich to Tripoli until mid-July when 
the Libyan authorities reduced them to one, citing "technical 
reasons." Swiss Air Lines spokeswoman says the company received 
a letter saying it had to stop its last remaining flight due to 
technical reasons. [www.voa.com, 12/25/08] 
¶32. (U) U.S. Shipping Carrier Nordana Introduces New Service in 
Libya: Beginning in February, Nordana will include the Port of 
Misurata to its services in Libyan ports. The Port of Misurata 
will be called on all sailings to Libya with a frequency of 17 
to 18 days. Since trade relations reopened between the U.S. and 
Libya in 2004, Nordana has been operating regular roll on / roll 
off vessels and breakbulk services from the U.S. into Libya. 
Nordana also serves the Libyan ports of Benghazi, Marsa El 
Brega, and Tripoli. [breakbulk.com, 1/12/2009] 
¶33. (U) Libyan Tax Authority Director Calls on Foreign Companies 
to Abide by Law: The Director of the Libyan Tax Authority, Mr. 
Al Bueshi Maa'toug Al Alafi, has called on both local and 
foreign companies operating in Libya to help his organization by 
abiding by the law and paying their taxes regularly. Mr. Bueshi 
advised foreign companies operating in Libya to strictly 
implement public laws and make sure that they are hiring 
competent financial managers and good lawyers who would advise 
them on legal matters accordingly. Mr. Bueshi made the call 
during a symposium on reforming the Tax System held in Tripoli. 
[Tripoli Post, 12/11/08] 
¶34. (U) Libyan Bank Named among the Best Emerging Market Banks 
in Africa 2008: Global Finance magazine has named Wahda Bank of 
Libya among the "Best Emerging Market Banks in Africa 2008". 
Global Finance editors with input from industry analysts, 
corporate executives and banking consultants selects the best 
emerging market bank based on growth in assets, profitability, 
strategic relationships, customer service, competitive pricing, 
and innovative products within the region. Wahda Bank ranked 
number 90 among 100 banks in Africa, but for it to be among the 
best emerging market banks in Africa remains an important sign 
that the banking system in Libya is advancing after many years 
of total stagnation. [Tripoli Post, 12/13/08] 

We are doing to make an effort to release the rest of the cables of interest to us before this year ends. They all come handy as references at a later date.

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