[IWAR] LIBYA Reaction to tunnel issue

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Thu Dec 04 1997 - 10:10:20 PST

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                           Libya scoffs at U.S. tunnel report
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 Agence France-Presse
       TRIPOLI (December 4, 1997 10:41 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - Libya
       on Thursday dismissed U.S. press reports that it is developing a
       subterranean network of tunnels in the Libyan desert to use for moving
       troops and equipment.
       "The American media has made it a habit of playing this broken record
       that the world is now refusing to listen to," wrote the commentator of
       the official news agency JANA, accusing the United States of publishing
       "false allegations."
       Tuesday's New York Times reported that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was
       building a 2,000-mile network of pipes as much as 13 feet in diameter
       from Tunisia to Egypt. It quoted engineers who said it was designed for
       a "clandestine military purpose."
       But Libya says the tunnels are part of its "Great Man-Made River"
       project to tap water from underground aquifers around its vast territory
       and transport it to populated areas for use as drinking water or for
       irrigation. They deny the project has any military purpose.
       Pentagon spokesman Michael Doubleday agreed. "At this point, I am aware
       of no evidence that this pipeline is anything but an irrigation
       project," he said. "But again, we're going to continue to follow it
       because it's a very large project."
       The JANA commentator said the publication of the allegations was a
       "flagrant attempt" to put pressure on European countries because of
       recent developments in their cooperation with the Libyan regime, but he
       did not elaborate.

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